Australia's opposition Labor party has opened up a commanding lead over the conservative government of Prime Minister John Howard with around two months to go to an election, a poll said.
The widely monitored Newspoll gave Labor 59 percent support when all preferences are taken into account under Australia's complicated system of transferable voting, a gain of four percent since the last poll in mid-August.
The government trailed with 41 percent, down four percent, according to the poll results, printed in The Australian newspaper.
Opposition leader Kevin Rudd also had strong backing of 48 percent as preferred national leader, up two percent from the previous poll in mid-August, while Howard trailed with 37 percent, down two percent with 15 percent undecided.
The survey was carried out between Friday and Sunday and comes as Australia hosts a major regional summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
Howard is running for a fifth consecutive term as prime minister in an election expected to be held by December but he is facing a strong challenge from Rudd.
The Labor leader has brushed off headlines about a visit to a New York strip club in 2003 and a controversy concerning a company run by his wife.
Last Mod: 04 Eylül 2007, 14:37