Prime Minister Julia Gillard will embark on a mini-campaign through western Sydney next week, with a new opinion poll showing support for Labor has flatlined.
The Newspoll, published in The Australian newspaper, shows Labor's primary vote has dropped one point to 31 per cent during the past three weeks, compared with the Coalition's 47 per cent.
After preferences, the Coalition has a commanding lead over Labor - 55 per cent to 45 per cent.
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If the results were replicated on election day, Labor would lose dozens of seats, including a string of marginal seats in western Sydney.
On Sunday, Ms Gillard will relocate from the Prime Minister's harbour-side residence at Kirribilli House to Sydney's west - the same area Tony Abbott picked for his mini-campaign last month - for a week of events and speeches.
"People of western Sydney get pretty exasperated driving out of their area into other parts of Sydney to work each day, stuck in traffic," Labor frontbencher Craig Emerson told AM.
"And so western Sydney does deserve particular policy attention, and that's why Prime Minister Gillard will be in western Sydney next week."
Labor Senator Doug Cameron, who has repeatedly warned of the problems facing the party in western Sydney, says it will be a good thing for the Prime Minister to spend so much time there.
"Yeah, I think it's a great thing. I think it's absolutely essential," he told Fairfax media.
"We're in a bit of trouble in western Sydney, but we've just got to cut through the nonsense that's been perpetuated by the Coalition on a range of our policy issues."
Today's Newspoll results are similar to the Nielsen poll published last week, which showed the Coalition had a 12-point lead over the Government after preferences.
Senior Labor MP Simon Crean says Labor needs to work harder to explain its economic vision for the country, warning the party will not win unless it is "bold" and "courageous".
"With those figures, we clearly can't win. Just as last week was a wakeup call, you can't win with a 31 per cent primary vote, but that's not where we expect to be in September," he told reporters in Melbourne.
"If you look at those polls you can see that our downturn commenced at the point at which we started speculating again internally about who the leader should be."
Newspoll's Martin O'Shannessy says it appears the lift in Labor's support towards the end of last year has now disappeared.
"It's possible that people are settling in and have decided. They've been told the election's on and are making their choice. I think we've got evidence to suggest that's happening," he said.
Senator Cameron says it is "not impossible" for Labor to win the next election, but he struggles to explain why the party is doing so badly in the polls.
"It's bizarre because we've got the best policies. There's no doubt that the Coalition have been running this extremely negative campaign."
Dr Emerson is confident Labor can still win on election day.
"We'll win government at the next election because we will be very competitive," he said.
"The contrast will be between a Government that has a plan for Australia, that it is implementing to strengthen an already improving economy, and an Opposition that believes that the Australian economy needs radical surgery - savage cuts to health, education, getting rid of the School Kids Bonus, getting rid of trades training centres, and giving everyone a tax rise and a pension cut."
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon has likened today's poll results to a "funeral notice".
"It is pretty grim for the Government and I think that the voters haven't so much got baseball bats behind their bats waiting for the election date, but some of them have got almost a nuclear missile," he said.
Last week's Nielsen poll prompted another round of introspection and despondency within Labor ranks, with some mulling over the prospect of a return to Kevin Rudd as prime minister.
Today's Newspoll shows 24 per cent of voters would be more likely to vote Labor if he was returned to the top job, while 13 per cent said they would be less likely. The remaining 63 per cent either said it would make no difference to their vote or were uncommitted.
Liberal Senator Eric Abetz says the results show changing the leader would not make much difference to Labor's vote.
"The Australian people realise that the changing of leadership for the Labor party would be like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic," he told reporters in Canberra.
"The problem is not the position of the chairs, it is the position of the boat."
Senator Cameron, who is a public supporter of Mr Rudd, has played down the likelihood there will be any change in the leadership.
"The caucus has made a very clear decision back last February and that's where it lies at the moment."
The poll shows Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has overtaken Ms Gillard on the question of who would make a better prime minister.
Forty per cent of voters believe Mr Abbott would be a better leader, compared with 36 per cent of voters who support Ms Gillard.
"I think what you're seeing is stronger week by week view of Tony Abbott as people are... looking at him more seriously as the next prime minister of Australia," Liberal MP Jamie Briggs told ABC News.
Both leaders, however, continue to have significantly negative approval ratings - where more voters are dissatisfied with their performance than satisfied.