Oh dear, in another kick in the guts for Malcolm Turnbull, a new newspoll conducted for The Australian has concluded that more voters say Peter Costello has a better chance of beating Kevin Rudd at the next election than Malcolm Turnbull.
A Newspoll taken for The Australian newspaper last week found 46 per cent of voters said Mr Costello had a better chance of defeating Mr Rudd, while 35 per cent believed Mr Turnbull had the best chance.
Mr Costello’s lead is similar to the lead he held over the opposition leader earlier this month when 45 per cent of voters said he was the best candidate to lead the Liberal Party.
At that poll 38 per cent of voters said Mr Turnbull was the best candidate.
Since that poll Mr Rudd has extended his lead over Mr Turnbull as preferred prime minister from 40 to 45 percentage points.
In the most recent poll Mr Costello outstripped Mr Turnbull in every category, even among Labor voters.
Among coalition voters, 54 per cent said Mr Costello was the best leader to beat Kevin Rudd and 36 per cent said Mr Turnbull was the best leader for the job.
However, Opposition Senate leader Nick Minchin has slammed the media’s preoccupation with opinion polls, describing it as “neurotic”.
“The commentaries fascination with them when we’re… not even half way through this government’s first term… is a bit neurotic,” Senator Minchin told ABC Television.
“Peter Costello is a great asset to our team and clearly contains a widespread level of support in the community and that’s great,” Senator Minchin said.
“(But) Peter Costello is not a candidate for the leadership.”
Mr Rudd led Mr Turnbull 65-20 as preferred prime minister in an earlier Newspoll.