CANBERRA, Australia – Prime Minister Tony Abbott shrugged off opinion polls that show his government's popularity has plummeted since the release of its tough first budget.
Two separate polls taken since Abbott's government last week released a cost-cutting blueprint for the next fiscal year show on Monday the ruling conservative coalition's popularity now trailing the center-left Labor Party opposition.
The results of the respected Newspoll and Nielsen surveys are likely to harden opposition to some of the budget measures by Labor and minor parties who have the power to block them in the Senate.
Abbott said the measures weren't designed to make his government popular, but to get Australia "back on track."
Both polls were based on weekend telephone surveys and have a margin of error of less than 3 percent.