The latest polls may have just given Tony Abbott a lifeline.

By Eliza Borello and Jane Norman, ABC.

Senior Liberals believe the latest opinion poll shows voters do not want the party room to cut down Tony Abbott as prime minister.

The Fairfax Ipsos poll has the Coalition’s primary vote up four percentage points to 42, ahead of Labor’s, which is down four points to 36.

The result is outside the poll’s 2.6 per cent margin of error.

Senior members of the Liberal Party suspect Abbott will remain leader.

After preferences the Coalition now trails Labor by just two points, 49 to 51.

The numbers echo last week’s Newspoll.

Trade Minister Andrew Robb says the poll shows voters do not want the Prime Minister dumped.

“The solid dismissal of the spill motion just three weeks ago showed that overwhelmingly colleagues wanted to see the Prime Minister given some clear air and the opportunity to get things back on track and I do feel that the significant turnaround in the polls is also conclusive proof that the voters want that as well,” Mr Robb said.

On the question of preferred prime minister, Mr Abbott’s ratings jumped five points to 39, still five shy of Bill Shorten, who is on 44 per cent.

Shorten is still preferred Prime Minister over Tony Abbott.

Mr Abbott is poised to try to shift the focus to the economy and national security this week, with the next intergenerational report due on Thursday and indications the Prime Minister will announce more Australian soldiers will be sent to to train the Iraqi military.

The Prime Minister is also set to dump the $5 Medicare co-payment, a policy unpopular with a large number of his backbenchers.

Mr Abbott hosted a function for Coalition MPs last night as part of an effort to shore up support for his leadership.


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He was in New Zealand over the weekend for talks with his counterpart, John Key, where the leaders discussed a new joint military deployment.

“What we are now considering is joining New Zealand on an additional training mission with the Iraqi regular army,” Mr Abbott said following the talks on Saturday.

“We still have to finalise our processes in Australia and I expect that that will happen in the next few days.”

Abbott is set to make further economic announcements this week.

But Mr Abbott’s critics remain, with the ABC being told both Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop are being urged to contest the leadership in the event of another spill motion.

At a Clean Up Australia Day event on Sunday, Mr Abbott said the leadership issue had been resolved.

“Every day you will see further and stronger evidence that this is a government which is focused on governing in the best interests of the whole people of our country,” he said.

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Mr Abbott survived a leadership spill motion 61 votes to 39 just over a fortnight ago but pressure has been building for another tilt at removing him.

However, Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that while some in the Liberal Party would never be satisfied with Mr Abbott as leader, this was “a minority view” and he hoped the idea of a second spill motion had been put to rest.

This article was originally published by ABC, and has been republished here with full permission. 

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