Julia Gillard’s first Newspoll confirms the trend of other polls, with Labor’s primary vote storming back seven points to 42 per cent, but the yield coming mostly from the Greens (down five to 10 per cent). The Coalition vote is steady on 40 per cent. This results in a relatively modest shift on the two-party preferred vote, with the Labor lead increasing from 52-48 to 53-47, but it makes that vote share a lot less dependent on hypothetical and probably over-generous preference estimates. Julia Gillard leads as preferred prime minister 53 per cent to 29 per cent, compared with Kevin Rudd’s final figures of 46 per cent and 37 per cent. Tony Abbott can at least take heart from a return to a net positive personal rating, with approval up four to 42 per cent and disapproval down eight to 41 per cent.

Preselection news:

Melissa Fyfe of The Age reports from “senior party sources” that Labor polling in Melbourne showed the Greens running neck and neck with Lindsay Tanner. On the question of Tanner’s successor as Labor candidate, Andrew Crook from Crikey reports there is “little standing in the way” of Andrew Giles, chief-of-staff to state minister Lily D’Ambrosio. Giles is secretary of the Socialist Left faction, which dominates local branches. However, Melissa Fyfe’s sources say they are hoping to find someone with a higher profile. Other possible contenders are ACTU industrial officer Cath Bowtell, who according to Crook is “said to be owed a shot at pre-selection after being turned down for the ACTU presidency in favour of Ged Kearney”, and refugee activist Paris Aristotle. UPDATE: VexNews reports the Socialist Left has endorsed Cath Bowtell, with Andrew Giles agreeing not to run, and that Bowtell’s endorsement by the party is now a fait accompli.

• Scott Buchholz, chief-of-staff to Senator Barnaby Joyce, has won Liberal National Party preselection for the new Queensland seat of Wright, after initial nominee Hajnal Ban was forced out. Most prominent among his defeated rivals was former Blair MP Cameron Thompson.

UPDATE: Essential Research has done what it needed to do by dividing its results between this week’s polling and last week’s, and it confirms the overall picture. Kevin Rudd was on a gentle recovery trend in his last days – his final poll shows Labor improving from 51-49 to 52-48, with Labor’s primary vote up three to 38 per cent and the Coalition’s down one to 40 per cent – followed by a fillip on the primary vote under Julia Gillard. Interestingly, the Greens vote fell solidly over both periods, from 14 per cent to 11 per cent and then to 9 per cent. Labor’s primary vote under Gillard has gone from 38 per cent to 42 per cent, with the Coalition’s down one to 39 per cent. Forty-seven per cent approve of the leadership change compared with 40 per cent opposed, with an even split as to whether respondents declared themselves more (26 per cent) or less (24 per cent) likely to vote Labor now. Gillard leads Tony Abbott as preferred prime minister 49 per cent to 29 per cent, but Newspoll’s resounding improvement in Abbott’s ratings is also reflected in Essential, with his approval up five to 40 per cent and disapproval down 11 to 39 per cent. Again, respondents would prefer a full term (41 per cent) to an early election (28 per cent). There are further questions on parental leave, the mining tax and future economic conditions.

UPDATE 2: Excellent post by Possum analysing polling trends of the late Rudd epoch.

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