Australians close in on Tony Abbott over Gillard as preferred prime ministerial candidate

Tonny Abbott

A new opinion poll showing Australia's Opposition Leader Tony Abbott ahead of Julia Gillard as preferred prime minister among Australians is a 'wake-up call' for the Labour Party, Regional Development Minister Simon Crean has said. The Nielsen Poll found that Opposition leader Tony Abbott wrenched a 12-point lead in the two-party lead over the government, 56 to 44 percent.

The poll found that for the first time in seven months Abbott has been nominated as preferred Prime Minister, as 49 percent of voters favoured him over 45 percent for Gillard.

The survey also found that 58 percent of voters, including 45 percent of Coalition voters, wanted Malcolm Turnbull instead of Tony Abbott as Opposition leader.

Turnbull's support fell five percent among voters generally since September, and went down eight percent among Coalition voters, news.com.au reports.

Nielsen pollster John Stirton said much of the support for Rudd as leader came from coalition voters.

Also, Abbott''s speech on the legislation to recognise indigenous people got a bit of a run in the media, the report added.

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