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Aug 21, 2011

Australian polls; Labor leader, Gillard 12% support, Liberals Turnbull 11%.

Cartoon: By Nicholson.

The only Labor figure who can take any comfort from the latest polls released today is former PM, Kevin Rudd. His comfort may only result in a little smugness, as the Labor Party would find it a total humiliation to replace Gillard with the man they unceremoniously dumped in her favor a little more than a year ago.

Essential Media poll, which is conducted weekly, found that Mr. Rudd was the preferred Labor leader by 37 per cent of voters. Rudd may be getting a sympathy bounce, some of which is residual from his ousting as well as from his recent open-heart surgery. He may also be gaining from the fact that during his convalescence, little has been heard from him.

Disturbingly for Gillard, who came second, with 12% support, she was only one point ahead of the former Liberal Party opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull (11%) to lead the Labor party. The margin of error for the poll was not given, but one percent would be well within it.

Turnbull should not rush into a party switch as most of his support is probably from Liberal Party supporters who would like rid of him. These people may remember how ineffective he was as Opposition leader and believe he could do the same for Labor. Mal is probably the current biggest threat to the Liberals election prospects, given his desire to knife Abbott if he gets the chance.

Rudd was the favored Labor leader among 43 per cent of the voters who identified as ALP supporters, compared with 31 per cent support for Gillard.

A Galaxy poll of 2000 people, commissioned by Australian Coal Association, shows Labor's primary vote has remained at 31 per cent nationally. This is roughly the same result as from the regular Newspolls, which have Labor on around the 30% mark. For this reason, those on the left who wish to use “coal industry” to discredit it, don’t have a feather to fly with.

Labor is also between a rock and a hard place over the Thompson affair. If they dump him they lose government, and are in the invidious position of having to suffer electoral damage from chaining themselves to the carcass of a member whose explanations have been discredited.

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