Poll sees Labor ahead of Abbott government

OPPOSITION Leader Bill Shorten has ridden a wave of public sentiment to lift federal Labor's fortunes above the Coalition's for the first time since the 2010 election.

In the first Fairfax-Neilsen poll since the September 7 election, Labor has led the Abbott government in the two-party preferred stakes by 52% to 48%.

The lead represents about a six point swing back to Labor since the September 7 election that saw the party's historic defeat.

Primary support for Labor rose about four points to 37% and the government's fell five points to 41% since the election.

The Neilsen poll also asked voters about the carbon tax, with 57% backing the Coalition's calls for Labor to support abolishing the tax.

But only one-in-10 voters polled supported the Coalition's direct action policy, with most preferring Labor's alternative to move to an emissions trading scheme, rather than the current fixed price on carbon.