Poll boost ... Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Source: The Daily Telegraph
LABOR has clawed back the Coalition's huge lead to be deadlocked at 50 per cent each in two-party preferred terms, according to the latest Newspoll.
It is the first time the parties have been level since March last year when Julia Gillard announced plans for a carbon tax.
The latest Newspoll, published in The Australian today, will set back the hopes of Kevin Rudd's supporters that poor polling could see him replace Ms Gillard as prime minister.
Labor's primary vote is up three points to 36 per cent - the highest level since March 2011 and just shy of the 38 per cent level from the 2010 election.
The Coalition's primary vote crashed five points to 41 per cent - the lowest since March 2011 but worse than the 43.6 per cent result at the election. Labor's two-party vote has been boosted by a four point leap in support for the Greens, to 12 per cent.
Coalition leader Tony Abbott's approval rating has weakened three points to a record low of 36 as controversy swirls about his behaviour as an undergraduate 35 years ago, according to the poll, published in Fairfax newspapers on Monday.
Ms Gillard leads Mr Abbott as preferred leader by three points - she is on 47 (up one point) while Mr Abbott is on 44 (down one).
Among women, he is 12 points behind as preferred prime minister, but leads by five points among men.
Labor's primary vote has increased two points to 34 while the Coalition remains on 45 and the Greens down one to 10.
Ms Gillard's approval rating has risen by three points to 42 and her disapproval rating down four to 53 - her highest approval and lowest disapproval since May last year.
The poll was conducted as Ms Gillard spent most of last week on leave after the death of her father John.
It also followed last week's announcements by the Coalition governments in NSW and Queensland of cuts to jobs and spending in education and health.