The Gillard Government's carbon tax cash payments to families have failed to boost its popularity with one of its worst ever poll results coming on the same day Labor claimed victory in the Melbourne by-election.
In the latest Newspoll, published in News Ltd papers today, Labor's primary vote dropped three percentage points to 28 per cent - 2 points off its all-time low in May 2010 - and the first time in three months it has slipped below 30 per cent.
The coalition also went backwards - down two points to 46 per cent - while support for independents and the minor parties, apart from the Greens - who recorded 11 per cent - improved to 15 per cent.
After preferences, the coalition holds a 10 point election-thumping lead over Labor.
While extending his lead as preferred prime minister over Julia Gillard by four points - 40 per cent to 36 per cent - Opposition Leader Tony Abbott recorded his worst satisfaction rating of 30 per cent.
Despite this, if an election were held today, the coalition would sweep Labor from power with a commanding lead of 56 per cent to 44 per cent on two party-preferred terms.
The poll slump comes in the wake of a shower of cash handouts from the government to swathes of middle Australia as it moves to insulate families from rising costs associated with the carbon tax.
But the polls have remained virtually stagnant this year and any movement has been in the opposie direction to the one the government has been hoping for.
The latest result will set off a fresh round of leadership speculation, speculation that has barely died down since last week when chief government whip Joel Fitzgibbon, a Kevin Rudd supporter, told ABC television that if leaders stay unpopular for long enough ''they'll inevitably stop leading the party''.
Responding to critics who perceived his comments as an attempt to stir division on the Labor leadership , Mr Fitzgibbon said: ''Shock horror, a politician who calls it as he sees it. People aren't mugs - it's a historical fact that political leaders who poll badly long enough don't remain political leaders."
Trade Minister Craig Emerson said today the political impasse over asylum seekers was mainly to blame for Labor's slump in the polls.
''No-one gets a lot of marks for a parliament gridlocked, just as they don't in the United States when the place is gridlocked,'' Dr Emerson told Sky News.
The minister was referring to the last week in June when legislation legalising offshore processing of asylum seekers failed to clear parliament because of opposition from the coalition and the Greens.
Dr Emerson insisted the government was more concerned with ensuring the right policies for Australia's future were in place than its standing in the polls.
''When you have a reforming prime minister, you can go into situations where you are not doing well in the polls,'' he said, referring to the 62 per cent dissatisfied with Julia Gillard's performance.
Liberal frontbencher George Brandis was first out this morning to credit Mr Abbott's leadership for the Opposition's emphatic poll numbers, adding that the survey results had not changed much at all in 16 months.
''We're not shedding any tears over this poll this morning,'' he told Sky News.
Senator Brandis said Labor's fall from favour coincided with the government's decision to introduce the carbon tax.
''That's the point at which the government's popularity and respect for Julia Gillard fell off a cliff and it hasn't recovered since.''
Meanwhile, the Victorian Greens used social media to officially concede their loss in the Melbourne by-election.
Greens candidate Cathy Oke congratulated Labor's Jennifer Kanis on winning the seat this morning.
Labor won the seat by 51.4 per cent to the Greens's 48.6 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.