Poll shows Labor clinging to narrow lead

Labor has maintained a four-point lead over the Coalition on a two-party preferred basis as the federal election campaign enters its final days, the latest Newspoll shows.

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The poll, published in The Australian newspaper today, found Labor has held a 52 to 48 per cent lead over the coalition since last week’s poll.

Despite peaks and troughs in between, the poll also shows support for Labor has risen markedly since late July, just before Prime Minister Julia Gillard took the Labor leadership from Kevin Rudd.

Then, Labor was behind the coalition, with 35 per cent support to the coalition’s 47.

There was also little difference in primary votes from last week, according to the poll, with Labor steady on 38 per cent, the coalition down one point to 41 per cent and The Greens up one point to 14 per cent.

The approval ratings for Ms Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott have also improved slightly.

The number of voters satisfied with Ms Gillard’s performance has risen one point to 44 per cent and her disapproval is down three points to 38 per cent.

Forty-three per cent of those polled were satisfied with Mr Abbott’s performance (up two points) and 46 per cent were dissatisfied (down three points).

The standing of both leaders also increased in the preferred prime minister stakes, with Ms Gillard leading on 50 per cent (up one point) to Mr Abbott’s 35 per cent (up one point).

The poll of 1694 people was taken between Friday and Sunday by telephone.

ALP to launch campaign

The Labor Party is due to formally launch its election campaign in Brisbane today, which comes just five days out from polling day.

The timing has come under fire from the Opposition, but Ms Gillard will be hoping to drum up some last-minute momentum at the event, which draws together the Labor faithful.

But she may have some political hurdles to negotiate, with an appearance by former prime minister Kevin Rudd likely to steal the spotlight.

Meanwhile, Mr Abbott will be spending the day in western Sydney on a campaign blitz, hoping to visit up to five marginal seats.

He has told residents not to be taken in by Labor, which was promising to build a $2.6 billion “train to nowhere” linking Parramatta and Epping in Sydney.

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