Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd is enjoying a very happy new year. “Labor’s decision to oust Kim Beazley last month as leader appears to have been vindicated, with polling showing he was losing support even in safe Labor seats before the switch to Kevin Rudd,” The Australian reports today – and there’s some very good news in the latest Morgan polling.

They’ve looked at the champ and the challenger and found 64% of electors approve of the job Rudd is doing as Opposition Leader compared to 56% who approve of the job Howard is doing as Prime Minister.

Only 11% disapproves of the way Rudd is handling his job, while a relatively high 39% disapproves of the way Howard is handling his job.

However, more electors – 50% – still say John Howard is a better Prime Minister than Kevin Rudd would be – 42% – while 8% can’t say.

“Leadership is an important factor in deciding who swinging voters support,” pollster Gary Morgan says.

“Labor strategists will be pleased Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard have high approval ratings. However, while the latest two Morgan Polls have the ALP well ahead, this lead will evaporate as the election draws closer.”

Indeed. The $64 question. Or perhaps we should say today “64% question”.

Peter Fray

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