Gillard's ratings at a high while Abbott's slumps
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has enjoyed her best approval rating in more than 18 months in the latest Essential poll.
While the number of people who approve of the job Ms Gillard has been doing remained steady at 41%, the number who disapproved fell two points to 49%.
The -8 net rating is Ms Gillard's best result in the Essential poll since May last year.
And it appears Ms Gillard's attempts over the past month to focus on gender is paying off, with her net rating among women improving from -4 to 0, while her standing among male voters fell only slightly to -16.
Conversely, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's approval rating has slumped to -25, the lowest it has been since he took over the leadership of the Liberal Party.
Those who approved of the job Mr Abbott was doing fell four points to 33%, while the number who disapproved rose by the same number.
Mr Abbott's net rating has gone from -17 to -25 in the space of four weeks.
Liberal Party strategists would be most concerned about the deterioration of Mr Abbott's net approval rating among women voters, which has gone from -19 to -30 in the space of a month.
But the slump was not just confined to women, with Mr Abbott's popularity among Coalition voters also on the wane.
Those in those group who approved of Mr Abbott's job fell nine points to 65% and those who disapproved jumped 7% to 29%.
In more good news for Labor, the Coalition's two-party-preferred lead tightened further, although it still enjoyed a 52-48% in the weekly poll.