The latest Nielsen poll has Opposition Leader Tony Abbott as the pick for PM over Julia Gillard at 53-43%.
The latest Nielsen poll has Opposition Leader Tony Abbott as the pick for PM over Julia Gillard at 53-43%. Chris Ison

Scott's sporting success overshadows poor Labor poll results

ADAM Scott's US Masters victory proved to be a timely distraction for Labor on Monday morning as fewer than one in three people pledged their support for the party in the latest Nielsen poll.

Labor's primary support has slumped two points in the past month to sit at a lowly 29% - its worst result since June last year, when the Coalition's anti-carbon tax campaign was at its most fervent.

The Coalition's primary vote was up two points to an amazing 49% in the Nielsen poll, published by Fairfax.

After the allocation of preferences the Coalition held a landslide election-winning lead of 57-43%.

Labor would stand to lose as many as 29 lower house seats, leaving it was just 43 in total, if a swing of 7% was replicated around the country on September 14.

On the other hand the Coalition would hold 105 seats in the House of Representatives, a net gain of 32 seats.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott extended his lead over Prime Minister Julia as preferred prime minister from 49-43% in March to 53-43% in the latest poll.

It came as Prime Minister Julia Gillard engaged in a media blitz to sell the education reforms she revealed over the weekend.

Ms Gillard is already facing fierce resistance from some states, chiefly Western Australia and Queensland, to the $14.5 billion education package.

Under the changes, which will be funded in part through cuts to tertiary education, the Federal Government would tip in $2 for every $1 spent by the states on education.

The states would also be required to increase spending on education 3% each year, while the Commonwealth would boost its spend by 4.7%.

Changes to the education funding model will be top of the agenda when state and territory leaders converge on Canberra for the Council of Australian Governments meeting on Friday.

Ms Gillard has set a deadline of June 30 to get the states on board.

"This is the right plan for our nation's future, for our kids, and to ensure our schools are properly resourced for generations and generations to come," Ms Gillard told reporters in Canberra.

"So I will keep fighting for it. We will be there on Friday looking for states to sign up. We will keep fighting through to June 30 to get states on board."

Some states have indicated they want to wait until after the election before signing any agreement, citing Labor's low standing in the polls.

Ms Gillard would not be drawn on her thoughts on the Nielsen poll, saying she was instead focused on the Gonski reforms.

She was asked on ABC radio if she would be "broken-hearted" if Labor lost the election and the education package was scrapped.

"Let's leave until election day the choice for the Australian people and pay them the respect of saying in their millions they'll make their decision as they go into polling places on election day," she said.

"There will be a clear choice then for people on election day between me, seeking a mandate to lead a majority Labor Government with a clear plan for the future, or the negativity we see on the other side of politics."


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