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Australians welcome new PM Turnbull, poll shows
[SYDNEY] New Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull received a clear tick of approval from voters Tuesday, with a poll suggesting he is the nation's most popular leader in more than five years.
One week after the 60-year-old multi-millionaire toppled Tony Abbott as leader in a Liberal Party coup, a Newspoll of 1,645 voters found 55 per cent of them rated Turnbull as their preferred prime minister.
It is the highest rating for a prime minister since July 2010, when former Labor leader Julia Gillard was in power.
Mr Turnbull's Trade Minister Andrew Robb said the Newspoll showed that voters backed the leadership change.
"It certainly must confirm that a significant majority of the community supported change. I think that's a big message out of the poll today," Mr Robb told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"I don't think we should get ahead of ourselves, but it is certainly much better to be in this position, and it is a reinforcement within the community of what happened last week, their support for it." Mr Turnbull's popularity was 18 points above where Mr Abbott was polling a fortnight ago, while support for Labor opposition leader Bill Shorten had almost halved to 21 per cent, the Newspoll published in The Australian newspaper showed.
The new prime minister has indicated that the government will serve out the remainder of its three-year term, which would put a new general election a year or so away.
But Mr Robb let slip that this timetable could be brought forward.
"We've got just a few months before a very important election, the overnight polls suggest a very encouraging start, but we have got a lot to do to lock it in," he said.
The poll spike was mirrored by an ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence survey published Tuesday that found sentiment surged 8.7 per cent last week.