Australian government continues to lag Labor

The government of Australian Prime Minister John Howard continues to lag behind the opposition Labor Party in popular support amid intense voter unhappiness over changes to labor laws, according to a poll published Tuesday.

The Newspoll survey published in national broadsheet The Australian showed Howard's four-term conservative coalition with a 46 percent support rating, a drop of three points from a month earlier, while Labor rose three points over the same period to 54 percent.

The poll of 1,149 voters had a margin of error of three percentage points. Labor's industrial relations spokesman, Stephen Smith, said the government's labor law changes, which it has just pushed through Parliament, were responsible for the poll results.

Despite his government's popularity slipping, Howard remained the clear favorite among voters as the country's prime minister, according to the poll. In response to a question asking who would be the better prime minister, Howard was backed by 50 percent to Beazley's 29 percent, AP reports.

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