LABOR has ended the year with a slight lift from voters, giving the government a one point gain to 35 per cent in its primary vote.
Its primary vote is the highest since November 2010.
But on a two-party preferred basis, the coalition retains the upper hand at 52 per cent of votes to 48 per cent, which would give it government if an election were held now.
The latest Nielsen poll, in today's Fairfax newspapers, says the disapproval rate for Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has risen three percentage points to 63 per cent, the second-highest for an opposition leader in the poll's 40-year history, while his approval rating sits at 34 per cent.
Only Andrew Peacock, back in October 1984, has been less popular.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard's approval weakened by one point to 46 per cent, while her disapproval rating rose two points to 50 per cent, but she's widened her lead over Mr Abbott as preferred prime minister by 10 points, to 50 per cent.