rudd and turnbull tops in new poll

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    A new poll out today shows Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull are the preferred leaders of the two major parties.

    An Essential Media survey of 1,893 people shows 32 per cent support for Mr Rudd - nine points higher than for Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

    But Ms Gillard, who took over the Labor leadership a year ago this month, is preferred by 51 per cent of ALP voters compared to 31 per cent for her predecessor.

    Mr Turnbull has a three-point lead over Tony Abbott, with 25 per cent saying he would make the better Liberal leader.

    But among Liberal and Nationals voters, 40 per cent prefer Mr Abbott, compared with 22 per cent for treasury spokesman Joe Hockey and 19 per cent for Mr Turnbull.

    The poll gives the Coalition an election-winning 54-per-cent two-party preferred vote - four points higher than at the August 2010 election.

    But voters are evenly split over the Opposition's call for a fresh election based on the carbon tax, with 42 per cent in favour and against.

    An overwhelming majority of 63 per cent believe businesses will pass extra costs on to consumers, while only 13 per cent say the consumers will be compensated.

    It shows a clear majority of people - 52 per cent to 36 per cent - believe climate change is real and caused by human activity. But a solid majority of people - 48 per cent to 38 per cent - oppose a carbon tax.

    The poll coincides with a campaign by pro-carbon price groups running advertisements featuring actor Cate Blanchett supporting the carbon price and explaining the compensation payments.

    In the three Liberal leadership polls Essential has taken since September last year, Mr Abbott has slipped from leading Mr Turnbull 26-20 to trailing now.

    In the past two weeks, Mr Turnbull has spoken out against the Coalition's "direct action" climate plan as costly and ineffectual, and has been the apparent target of a leaked email from Opposition whips criticising him and others for missing a division.

    - ABC/AAP

    Dave R.
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