SYDNEY (Reuters) - A major new Australian opinion poll has given another emphatic thumbs-down to Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her recently unveiled carbon-reduction plan, stoking media speculation about her grip on power and the fate of the policy.
The Nielsen poll, published Monday in Fairfax newspapers, is the largest such survey since Gillard announced her carbon scheme on July 10 and confirms a smaller poll last week showing most Australians oppose the policy.
The Nielsen poll showed that 53 percent of voters felt the policy, which involves a new carbon tax, would leave them worse off, despite assurances from Gillard that generous government compensation would actually leave many households better off.
Gillard's personal rating sank to 34 percent, well behind opposition leader Tony Abbott, and support for her Labor party hit to a new low of 26 percent, it showed. Including preference votes from minor parties, Labor's support stood at 39 percent against the conservative opposition's 61 percent.
An election is not due until 2013 but Gillard is now faring worse in the polls than her dumped predecessor, Kevin Rudd.
"Fears in the business community that federal political factors are undermining confidence and threatening the economy are set to intensify, with new doubts emerging about Prime Minister Julia Gillard's grip on the Labor leadership," the Australian Financial View said in a commentary on the new poll.
(Reporting by Mark Bendeich)