Opposition Leader Bill Shorten Enjoys 5% Lead Over PM Tony Abbott as Preferred Prime Minister of Australia

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By Vittorio Hernandez | July 22, 2014 8:55 AM EST

The shoe is now on the other foot as Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott finds his popularity on a downward trend even if he had fulfilled his election promise to repeal the carbon tax law? Or is his growing unpopularity because of last week's repeal of the law?

REUTERS/Ruben Sprich
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks during a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 23, 2014.

Ironically, it was also the approval of the carbon law that caused a drop in the popularity of Mr Abbott's nemesis, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, whose Labor party lost a lot of seats in the September 2013 election.

The latest poll from Fairfax Nielsen, released on Monday, said that Opposition leader Bill Shorten leads Mr Abbott by 5 per cent as the preferred prime minister with ratings of 46 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively. In terms of being perceived as a trustworthy leader, Shorten even enjoyed a 10 per cent lead over the PM as he got a 45 per cent rating versus Mr Abbott's 35 per cent.

On a two-party vote, Labor's lead was at 8 per cent as the former ruling party got 54 per cent versus the Coalition's 46 per cent.

The survey was based on responses of 1,400 voters. The poll was held from Thursday to Saturday.

Besides the carbon tax, the national budget appears to be another issue that Australians have taken against the Coalition because of its many cuts and taxes that break Mr Abbott's campaign promises. As a result, Treasurer Joe Hockey lost his 17-point lead over shadow treasurer Chris Bowen, with the two now almost tied at 43 and 42 per cent, respectively.

Mr Abbott, after only eight months as PM, set a 40-year record in Nielsen polling in May when he fell behind as Australia's preferred PM as Shorten overtook him and the PM never recovered. It took Ms Gillard 13 months before she lost her lead, while Kevin Rudd didn't trail at all Mr Abbott in his first stint as PM.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Ruben Sprich / )
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks during a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 23, 2014.
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