TWO thirds of Queensland voters say neither Julia Gillard nor Tony Abbott understand their concerns.And only about a quarter say either federal political leader has a good understanding of the issues that affect the state, according to an exclusive Galaxy poll conducted for The Courier-Mail.
But in a positive sign for Ms Gillard, Labor has continued to claw back support in Queensland and is now at about the same level as at the last election.
Labor's primary vote collapsed to a mere 23 per cent in Queensland in May, sparking predictions the party could lose all of its seats in the state.
But the latest Galaxy poll found Labor's primary vote had bounced back to 33 per cent - almost in line with its 33.6 per cent result in the state in 2010.
The gains for Labor have come from the Liberal National Party, which has seen its support base in the state fall from 56 per cent in May to 46 per cent in the latest poll.
This result would still see Labor lose an election by 44 per cent to 56 per cent on a two party preferred result based on preference flows from the last election.
But the boost in Labor's primary vote comes on the back of an improvement in the last poll in the state taken in August and suggests the government is gradually repairing its standing among Queensland voters.
The ALP is targeting four marginal LNP-held seats in south-east Queensland - Brisbane, Bonner, Forde and Longman - that it hopes to win at next year's election.
The poll surveyed 801 voters across Queensland on November 21 and 22.
It came after a week in which Ms Gillard and Mr Abbott visited the state.
But the poll suggested the leaders have more work to do to appeal to voters.
Less than a third of those polled thought Ms Gillard or Mr Abbott understood their concerns.
Almost half the respondents who identified as either Labor or LNP supporters thought their party's leader did not understand their concerns.
"The problem for the federal parties is that the two leaders are considered to lack empathy with the concerns of voters and do not have a good understanding of the issues that affect Queensland," Galaxy chief David Briggs said.
About a third of Queensland voters polled said the two political leaders do not spend enough time in the state.
The poll results will be a warning to both sides of politics ahead of the crucial final sitting week in parliament that is likely to be dominated by bitter debate.
Mr Abbott will today introduce a private member's bill that would impose fines and jail terms on union leaders who misuse members' funds for their own benefit, bringing them into line with penalties imposed on officers of corporations.
The bill is unlikely to pass, but it will give Mr Abbott an opportunity to suspend parliament and begin the week focusing on allegations about Ms Gillard's alleged involvement in a union "slush fund" for the AWU two decades ago.
"Australian workers who join trade unions deserve to know that their membership fees are being used for proper purposes," Mr Abbott said.
Labor will meanwhile introduce legislation for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the Gonski school funding reforms, arguing it is focussing on the future while the opposition is raking over allegations from the past.
The government claimed a statement yesterday from Ms Gillard's former boyfriend and then AWU official Bruce Wilson that she knew "absolutely, categorically nothing" about the union fraud scandal from the mid 1990s meant the matter was closed.
But deputy opposition leader Julie Bishop said there were many unanswered questions about the matter and vowed to pursue Ms Gillard in parliament.
Read more on The Courier Mail.