Conservatives surge to poll lead
Kevvy hasn't lost it yet but the trend is clearly against him. Queensland has long been the swing State in Federal elections.
SUPPORT for Kevin Rudd in his home state has crashed as Tony Abbott's new-look Coalition powers ahead of Labor for the first time since the 2007 federal election. The latest Galaxy poll, conducted exclusively for The Courier-Mail, reveals the energetic new Opposition Leader is making inroads in the crucial battleground of Queensland. The pivotal state delivered Mr Rudd victory two years ago but support for federal Labor has slipped three percentage points to 39 per cent, while the Coalition has stormed ahead six since November to 46 per cent.
It means the Prime Minister now faces a real contest in his own back yard, as more Queenslanders question whether he can deliver on his promises and whether he is too arrogant. If preferences were allocated as per the last election, the Coalition would lead on 51 per cent to the ALP's 49 per cent. "This represents a swing to the Coalition of five points since the last Galaxy poll in November and an improvement of around 1.4 per cent on their vote at the last federal election," Galaxy chief executive David Briggs said.
It is the first opinion poll since the 2007 election to put the Coalition in the lead and comes as both parties sharpen their attacks for an election expected later this year.
"Kevin Rudd is being attacked on two fronts in Queensland," Mr Briggs said. "On the one hand he must combat the rising unpopularity of the Bligh Government and on the other he faces the resurgence of the federal Liberal Party under its new leader, Tony Abbott."
Sixty-eight per cent of voters believe Ms Bligh and state Labor will cost Mr Rudd support at the federal election. About half of those polled think Mr Rudd would make the better prime minister and two-thirds of Queenslanders believe he understands the state. Less than half believe he is in touch with everyday issues and easy to understand.
But worrying for Mr Rudd is that 49 per cent of Queenslanders now believe he is "more talk than action" and 46 per cent think he is arrogant. It means the Coalition's pre-election argument that Mr Rudd is failing to deliver on his promises such as hospital reform and homelessness are beginning to gain traction.
The Galaxy poll of 800 voters across the state was conducted last Wednesday and Thursday as Mr Abbott called on Environment Minister Peter Garrett to resign over the bungled home insulation program.
The Coalition faced its own troubles, with Opposition finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce coming under attack for a series of gaffes, but Mr Abbott ended the week ahead. Since taking over the Liberal leadership in December he has re-energised the Coalition.
The Galaxy poll also reveals a majority of Queenslanders, 54 per cent, are satisfied with Mr Rudd's performance in his job. But the same proportion of voters give Mr Abbott a tick in his new role. "While the two leaders are neck and neck in terms of satisfaction, more voters are dissatisfied with the performance of Kevin Rudd, 41 per cent, than Tony Abbott, 34 per cent," Mr Briggs said.
Mr Abbott is 15 points behind his Labor counterpart as preferred prime minister but he has a stronger net approval rating: 20 per cent to Mr Rudd's 13 per cent.
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