Leadership fiasco see massive slump for Labor

THE damage caused by Labor's "appalling" leadership fiasco has been substantial, with the latest Newspoll showing the party faces a mammoth task to avoid annihilation at the next election.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard's standing was also harmed by the events of last week, with her approval rating crashing to a 19-month low.

Labor's primary vote slumped to 30% - down four points - in the poll taken in the days immediately following the bungled leadership spill.

Conversely, support for the Coalition surged, with its primary vote up six points to an amazing 50%.

Using preference flows from the 2010 election, the Coalition holds a commanding 58-42% two-party-preferred lead.

If that result was replicated across the country on September 14 Labor would lose as many as 30 seats.

In responding to the poll Ms Gillard was again scathing of Labor's behaviour, describing the obsession with the leadership as "self-indulgent".

She expressed no surprise at the Newspoll numbers, adding there were always going to be "consequences" for last week's internal ructions.

"I don't need a poll to tell me that last week the Labor Party had an appalling week. I made that very clear yesterday," Ms Gillard told ABC radio.

"I don't think any political observer - indeed any community member - would need a poll to say that people looked at the conduct of the Labor Party last week and were just shaking their heads."

While it was Kevin Rudd loyalists who fuelled last week's turmoil, poll respondents appeared to point the finger squarely at Ms Gillard.

Her net approval rating - the difference between those who are satisfied and dissatisfied with the PM's performance - slumped to -39.

This represented a 14-point slump in the space of two weeks.

Just 26% (down 6%) of respondents said they were satisfied with Ms Gillard's performance, and 65% (up 8%) were dissatisfied.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's was one of the main beneficiaries from Labor's unrest, with his net approval rating improving from -19 a fortnight ago to -11 this week.

On the question of who would makes the better prime minister, Ms Gillard trails Mr Abbott 43-35%.

Two weeks ago she was ahead 42-38%.

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