The latest Fairfax-Nielsen survey showed the Labor-led national government collecting considerable gains from its dismal performance for the most part of 2012, inching closer to the likelihood of reversing a rousing Coalition win next year.
Nielsen said on Monday Opposition Leader Tony Abbott would easily become the new prime minister if elections were held shortly as his party enjoys a 45 per cent lead in the primary vote as of Saturday, keeping the Labor at bay at only 32 per cent out of the 1400 polled for the three-day survey.
Beneath the numbers, however, Labor has seen significant boost on popularity following its lacklustre run since February this year as its primary improved from a low of 28 per cent in the last reading, providing the Government some breathing room after mulling the bitter reality of defeat over the past few months.
Both in the in primary and two-party charts, Labor saw its fortunes improving by two percentage points, with latter now resting at 46 per cent, which still trails the Coalition's 54 per cent.
Why rejoice in coming behind by more than 10 paces? The Liberal numbers were on the decline, Nielsen, said while the party being lead by Prime Minister Julia Gillard was shedding the result of the scare campaign rolled out by Mr Abbott, largely anchored on the alleged ill-results to the average Australian of the carbon tax, which Canberra had introduced July 1 this year.
For somebody consigned to be on her way out, analysts now marvelled at the recovery of Ms Gillard to think that the poll was conducted while she was dealing with the ghost of the past last week - clarifying her conduct as labour lawyer some 17 years ago.
And it appears that her stance on the matter clicked with most of the voters as Fairfax reported today that Ms Gillard is now picked by 46 per cent of voters as their preferred prime minister, with Mr Abbott not too far at 45 per cent.
Her lead may be too thin for now but Ms Gillard actually climbed by three full points from the last Nielsen survey while the Liberal headlines lost the same amount of preference figures.
It was a feat not to be belittled, analysts said, as the Labor leader had a last taste of the lead in the same department February this year.
And Nielsen pollster John Stirton noted in the new report that the Coalition's tack on the searing carbon pricing issue seemed to have lost steam as up to 54 per cent of those questioned from Thursday to Saturday last week declared the new tax "was making no difference to them."
"The government's recovery is most likely due to people finding the carbon tax is affecting them less than they expected," Fairfax quoted Mt Stirton as saying in the statement that accompanied the new Nielsen survey results.
Treasurer Wayne Swan also pointed to Mr Abbott's own admission that the carbon tax "may not be absolutely catastrophic," at least during the first phase of the program's implementation.
"(Mr Abbott) was admitting that his own scare campaign has failed," Mr Swan told The Brisbane Times on Monday.
Compromise on the raging immigration problem also provided some traction for Ms Gillard as the Labor caucus gave the go-ahead for the processing of asylum seeker in Manus Island and Nauru, an action that elicited 67 per cent of support from Aussies, Nielsen said.
Asked about the Labor boost on the new survey, Trade Minister Craig Emerson admitted to ABC that the Nielsen results were 'encouraging', adding that the public has realised that the Coalition was merely exaggerating on carbon tax.
"Certainly the trend is a positive one," Dr Emerson declared.
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