Kevin Rudd twice as popular as Gillard Julia to lead Labor to polls


Kevin Rudd twice as popular as Gillard Julia to lead Labor to polls

The Daily Telegraph
March 18, 201312:00AM

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Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. Source: AFP

KEVIN Rudd has surged ahead of Julia Gillard as preferred Labor leader, with twice as many voters now convinced he should lead the party to the election.

Labor’s primary vote has plunged to previous record lows, with the government on track to lose up to 20 seats or more.

According to a Nielsen poll to be published today, Labor’s primary vote has dropped back to 31 per cent. On a two-party preferred basis, the Coalition now leads Labor 56 to 44 per cent – which, if reflected at the September 14 election, would deliver Tony Abbott victory.

Mr Abbott has leapt ahead of Ms Gillard as preferred Prime Minister, by 49 to 43 per cent.

Asking voters who they preferred to lead Labor, about double named Mr Rudd, who has improved his margin over Ms Gillard by five points.

The poll is likely to increase leadership tensions this week, as Labor MPs return to Canberra for the last sitting week before the May budget.

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AUSTRALIAN ex-servicemen and women have warned the PM they can deliver western Sydney to Tony Abbott if she refuses to make changes.

Several MPs cited Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s decision to push ahead this week with his potentially doomed media regulations as a potential trigger for a leadership spill.

A senior Labor campaign official has also revealed that Labor’s prospects in NSW have worsened, claiming internal research suggested it would be lucky to hold on to 10 seats.

“It’s entirely possible that we could lose 15 seats in NSW, it’s that bad,” a source said. Senior NSW Labor MPs said Mr Rudd’s supporters were on a “watching brief” this week, claiming that no plan had been hatched to challenge Ms Gillard. “But anything could happen,” one senior Rudd supporter said.

A senior supporter of Ms Gillard conceded they would not be surprised if tensions spilt over: “The natives are very restless.”

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