Gillard's Ratings Plunge After Budget

Sydney, May 16 (IANS) Support for Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has plunged, leaving her personal standing even lower than her predecessor Kevin Rudd, a media report said.

Gillard's support plunged after voters gave their lowest rating to Labour's fourth budget, the overall worst reaction in almost 20 years, leaving the prime minister's personal standing below that of former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd when he was removed as leader, The Australian reported.

Voters' approval of Gillard is the lowest it has been since she became prime minister last June.

Tony Abbott, leader of the opposition in the Australian House of Representative, is as close to her as preferred prime minister as he has ever been and closer than he ever was to Rudd.

According to the latest Newspoll survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian at the weekend, the Coalition's primary vote rose to a six-year high of 46 percent to Labour's unchanged 33 percent, giving a two-party preferred calculation of 54 to 46 percent.

Satisfaction with Gillard as prime minister dropped to a record low for her of 34 percent compared with 38 percent before the budget, and dissatisfaction rose six points to 55 percent, her highest level of dissatisfaction.

Personal approval of the Opposition Leader also fell but, on the issue of better prime minister, Gillard's support fell to a new low of 42 percent and Abbott's rose to a new high of 38 percent.

A Fairfax Nielsen poll, also published Monday, shows Abbott nudging Gillard as preferred prime minister, with her rating slipping three points to 47 percent and Abbott's rising two points to 44 percent.

Nielsen finds that for the first time Abbott has a higher approval rating at 45 percent than Gillard on 43 percent.


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