LABOR is facing an uphill battle to sway voters on the New South Wales Central Coast with the latest Newspoll results showing they are lagging behind the Coalition in the key marginal seats of Dobell and Robertson.
Deborah O'Neill holds Robertson for Labor by a tiny 1.1% while Craig Thomson, who will run as an independent on September 7, won Dobell for Labor in 2010.
The poll conducted for the Australian newspaper makes it evident that voters in those areas have now put their support behind Tony Abbott with the Coalition, up by seven points to 54% since the last election and Labor down by seven to 46% on a two-party preferred basis.
Mr Abbott is also more popular in the marginal seats with 47% of those polled believing he would make a better prime minister than Kevin Rudd (41%).
The Newspoll will be disappointing for Labor who were hoping to keep their slide in NSW confined to western Sydney and were looking to Mr Rudd to charm his way into keeping the regional marginals.
If this support for the Coalition is repeated in other marginal Labor seats in NSW then the Rudd government is likely to lose another seven electorates.
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