Voters are so fed up with Federal Labor they are prepared to hand Tony Abbott the keys to The Lodge even though they don't think he'd be good for jobs, interest rates, the environment or the cost of living.
That is the damning finding in the latest Essential Research poll, which found the ALP had slumped to 44 per cent of the two-party- preferred vote, compared with the coalition's 56 per cent.
And in a further blow to Labor, a Newspoll out last night revealed that Mr Abbott was also easily ahead of Prime Minister Julia Gillard as preferred prime minister, with her personal support collapsing.
Labor's primary vote was also at a seven-month low and satisfaction with the Prime Minister was its lowest since August.
The Newspoll, taken at the weekend, put Labor's primary vote at 31 per cent and the coalition's at 47 for a two-party-preferred lead of 55 per cent to 45. After breaking from Labor, the Greens' primary vote rose from 9 to 11 per cent.
'We've got a Mack truck heading our way and we're chained to the road.'" Western Sydney Labor MP
Cabinet minister Craig Emerson said Ms Gillard was a strong leader making important national decisions. "That's what people expect of prime ministers," he said. "That's what they're getting out of Julia Gillard."
This morning, in response to the Newspoll, Dr Emerson said Labor will be competitive in the September 14 federal election.
He said says there was a clear choice for voters between a government that has a plan for Australia to strengthen an already improving economy and an opposition that believes the economy needs radical surgery.
Ms Gillard will reportedly spend a week living in western Sydney in a bid to halt the plummet of Labor's vote in the area.
The Essential Research poll revaled that although respondents believed an Abbott-led government would improve the economy and see company profits increase, they believed the country would be worse off on 12 other measures including job security, unemployment and workers' conditions.
On trust, which is acknowledged by both sides of politics as Prime Minister Julia Gillard's major problem, the Opposition Leader does not fare any better, with more respondents saying trust in government would worsen, not improve, if the coalition won office.
Some Labor MPs in western Sydney, where the anti-ALP sentiment threatens to cost up to 10 Labor seats, grimly believe the September 14 election is already lost.
One said that even if Kevin Rudd were returned to the leadership without bloodshed or internal recrimination, Labor would still lose.
"They don't like Tony Abbott out there and he is still our greatest asset but we are more of an asset to him. That's how bad it is."
Essential Research confirmed voters' low regard for the Government, with just 26 per cent saying it deserved re-election compared with 57 per cent who said the Government did not deserve to be re-elected, including 17 per cent of Labor voters.
But just 36 per cent of respondents said the Liberals were ready to govern, compared with 45 per cent who said they were not.
Nationals maverick Barnaby Joyce said Mr Rudd should show "ticker" and challenge for the Labor leadership.
"If he is not just doing that, it is just some fit of pique where he is sulkily going around, trying to throw mud on everybody," he said.