Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd could be resurrected as the new headliner for the beleaguered Labor Party, according to emerging reports, following the release of an exit poll that all but confirmed voters' disdain for Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
The Queensland exit poll, according to The Australian, pointed to Mr Rudd as the preferred Australian leader as he garnered 35 percent of approval and relatively lower disapproval rating of 38 percent.
Ms Gillard, on the other hand, only attracted 20 percent of approval, which came with a whopping 60 percent that disapproved her being at the helm.
The Crosby Textor, which was conducted during the March Queensland state election that resulted to the defeat of Anna Bligh's Labor government, also showed that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott got 30 percent approval rating and 41 percent disapproval, clearly showing that Mr Rudd not only edged out Ms Gillard but also the man touted as the next Prime Minister.
The exit poll hit the media circuits a day after the latest Newspoll survey presented the snowballing reality to the Labor-led federal government that Coalition would easily win if elections were to be held shortly, sparking speculations that key Labor factions may try to bring back Mr Rudd to the frontbench in order to save the ruling party from certain annihilation.
Pointing to the unsettling unrest felt by some party members, The Australian cited the declaration of an unnamed New South Wales Labor leader, who allowed that Ms Gillard may not be the at the front of the party come the national elections.
"I cannot guarantee what will happen and when, but I can guarantee that she won't be leader at the next election," the unidentified Labor right figure told the publication on Tuesday.
However, another key NSW Labor leader, former Premier Kristina Keneally, was more subdued and simply suggested that Ms Gillard could still avert the impending defeat of the government by adjusting some of her key policies.
Ms Gillard may need to rethink the implementation of the carbon pricing scheme if she wants to win back the support of Australian voters, Ms Keneally said.
"I think she needs to think seriously about whether she can revoke it or in fact whether she can lessen the impact somehow, whether she can dial it back somehow," the former premier told The Age on Wednesday.
The carbon tax, she added, is "the one horse that Tony Abbott can ride all the way to the election."
And it appears for now that the man 'capable' of giving Mr Abbott a better fight is reluctant to join the fray as The Australian reported that Mr Rudd dodged any attempt for him to issue a statement on the likelihood of his comeback to the Labor leadership.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan said on Wednesday that Labor will not dump the Prime Minister just because surveys and exit polls suggested that she would be hard pressed to win a new mandate.
The new leadership speculation was nothing but "a whole heap of rubbish," Mr Swan said.
"The Prime Minister certainly is doing a fantastic job. She does have the full support of the party, because we're getting things done," the Treasurer told ABC in an interview today.
Yet former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard is convinced that it would be Mr Rudd running Labor before the general elections next year get underway.
"It's hard to see the Labor Party persisting with somebody who's taken their polls to such a low level, and I expect that they will do something within the next few months and I believe they will bring back Kevin Rudd," The Australian reported Mr Howard as saying.
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