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Gillard Pulls Ahead of Abbott Fortnight Before Election, Morgan Poll Says

Support for Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Labor party surged 7.5 percent in a poll conducted two weeks before national elections scheduled for Aug. 21, Roy Morgan Research said today.

Labor had 57.5 percent backing, compared with the opposition Liberal-National coalition’s 42.5 percent, the face- to-face survey of 900 voters conducted on Aug. 7 and 8 showed, according to a statement on the Roy Morgan website. Both parties had support of 50 percent in the last poll, which was conducted by phone, it said.

The Labor Party’s support was especially strong in Queensland state at 62 percent, after news of the reconciliation between Gillard and her predecessor Kevin Rudd, said Gary Morgan, the executive chairman of Roy Morgan Research.

That increase may evaporate “after pictures of Gillard and Rudd together which appeared later on the weekend clearly showed how uncomfortable they were with the situation,” Gary Morgan said on the website.

Voters preferred the Labor Party by 52 percent to 48 percent for the coalition in a Newspoll published Aug. 9, while voters favored the coalition 51 percent to 49 percent over Labor, according to an Aug. 7 Nielsen poll.

Gillard was quizzed last night at a televised town-hall meeting about why she agreed to replace her mentor Rudd. Gillard, looking down on the crowd in western Sydney from a stage, justified helping to oust Rudd on June 24 by saying his government was not “in shape” to deal with Australia’s problems.

To contact the reporter on this story: Garfield Reynolds in Sydney at greynolds1@bloomberg.net

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