CANBERRA – Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who must call an election sometime this year, has erased his ruling Labor Party’s popularity deficit with voters since returning as leader, according to a national poll published Sunday.
Labor and the Tony Abbott-led Liberal-National opposition are split 50-50 on a two-party preferred basis, according to a Galaxy poll published in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper. That compares with a two-point deficit four weeks ago and a 10-point gap on June 11-13, before Rudd successfully challenged Prime Minister Julia Gillard for the leadership.
The poll shows Rudd, who made a surprise visit to Australian troops in Afghanistan on Saturday, has gained ground with voters previously disillusioned with Labor’s infighting and policies on carbon trading and asylum seekers.
His minority government, which must hold elections before Nov. 30, will probably this week outline fiscal strategy when it revises forecasts for the world’s 12th-largest economy.