SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - Australia's Labor government has consolidated its election-winning lead over the conservative opposition one week into the campaign for the August 21 election, a poll published on Saturday showed.
The Nielsen poll gave the government a solid lead of 54 percent to 46 percent on a 'two-party' basis, after minor parties are eliminated under Australia's system of transferable voting.
It also showed that Prime Minister Julia Gillard's status as Australia's first female prime minister was drawing strong support from female voters, with support from women significantly higher than support from men.
Female supporters preferred Labor by 58 percent to 42 percent on a two-party basis, while support among men was tied at 50-50.
Gillard ousted her predecessor Kevin Rudd last month in an internal party revolt.
The government's primary vote - meaning voters who would choose it as first preference - was narrowly ahead of the opposition at 42 percent to 41 percent, while the Greens were at 12 percent, according to the poll, published in The Sydney Morning Herald.
The latest poll shows the government's lead has increased over the latest Reuters Poll Trend results, issued last Thursday, which showed Labor leading the opposition by 53.5 percent to 46.5 percent on a 'two-party' basis.
A separate regional poll showed the government picking up votes in Western Australia state, a key mining state where Labor seats were previously considered at risk from discontent over changes to mining taxation.
The Westpoll, published on Saturday in the state's main newspaper The West Australian, showed the government was likely to pick up an additional seat in the state and consolidate its hold in another key marginal. -Reuters