LABOR has suffered a surprise fall in support and ends the year where it started, facing defeat if an election were held today.
The latest Newspoll, published in The Australian, shows recent gains for the ALP have been wiped out with its primary vote down 4 points in the past fortnight to a five-month low of 32 per cent. It is just above the 31 per cent posted this time last year.
The Coalition's core vote rose 3 points to 46 per cent and is ahead of the 44 per cent it had this time last year.
The Greens were unchanged in the latest poll at 11 per cent but that's down from 13 per cent a year ago.
In two-party terms the Coalition leads Labor by 54 to 46 per cent - the identical figures in the Newspoll taken last December.
The election is not due until the second half of 2013 but if these figures were repeated Tony Abbott would comfortably replace Julia Gillard as Prime Minister.
Despite a 3 point fall in support, Ms Gillard remains preferred PM on 43 per cent - also the same figure as a year ago.
Mr Abbott's support rose 1 point to 34 per cent but was down on the 36 per cent from a year ago.
It is the first Newspoll that includes the dramatic final week of Parliament where Ms Gillard's past dominated debate amid claims by the Coalition that she was a dodgy lawyer and committed a crime and the PM's counter attack that the Opposition was on a witch hunt and running a smear campaign because it had no policies.
Read more at heraldsun.com.au