Australia PM popularity at record low

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has sunk below opposition leader Tony Abbott as Australia's preferred leader for the first time, a new poll showed Tuesday.

When the Newspoll for The Australian newspaper, conducted last weekend, asked who would make the better prime minister, 41 percent said Abbott, with only 39 percent opting for Gillard.

The telephone poll of 1,158 voters showed just 28 percent were satisfied with the Welsh-born Gillard's performance, her lowest since ousting Kevin Rudd to become leader a year ago in a party room coup.

Dissatisfaction with the country's first female prime minister leapt to 62 percent, making Gillard the most unpopular modern leader since Paul Keating at his worst in the mid 1990s.

According to the poll, her government was faring no better with Labor's share of first preference votes crashing to a record low of 30 percent.

The conservative opposition's support was steady at 46 percent, with the Greens at 11 percent.

Gillard's popularity has steadily waned in recent months as she attempts to sell a tax on carbon pollution and controversial plans to swap 800 boatpeople for 4,000 processed refugees living in Malaysia.

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