KEVIN Rudd and Tony Abbott are Australia's most trusted and respected leaders, research conducted before Labor's leadership showdown shows.
The nationwide survey by McCrindle Research asked respondents to name the Australian public figure or national leader they most trusted, with Mr Rudd and Mr Abbott tying for first ahead of Malcolm Turnbull, deposed prime minister Julia Gillard and Governor-General Quentin Bryce.
The results were surprisingly similar on the question of who was the most respected current political or national leader, with Mr Abbott first ahead of new Prime Minister Rudd, with Ms Gillard and Mr Turnbull rounding out the top four. Ms Bryce and shadow treasurer Joe Hockey were tied for fifth.
In a trifecta for Mr Abbott he was also found to be the most innovative thinker among Australia's political leaders, ahead of Mr Turnbull, Mr Rudd, entrepreneur Dick Smith and Greens Leader Christine Milne.
A spokeswoman for McCrindle Research said the results would likely be different if the survey was conducted now after the bloody battle for the Labor leadership and the extraordinary events of Wednesday
"The leadership ballot certainly poses a lot of questions amongst people and whether they can trust Labor, particularly Kevin Rudd," she said.
"We wouldn't know how that would affect the result ... but there is a likelihood that the outcome would be different."
Social researcher Mark McCrindle said it would come as little surprise Australians' trust in their politicians was at a "low end".
"(But) it's not a lack of trust in what they do as much as why they do it and what they say that are the biggest issues," Mr McCrindle said.
Respondents were asked to nominate their man reason for distrusting public figures or national leaders, with almost half (47%) nominating a lack of truth and transparency.
The lack of straight-talking was of biggest concern to Queenslanders and people from the Australian Capital Territory, with 55% nominating it as a problem.
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