Liberal party catches Labor in the polls after budget

THE Abbott government's second budget has strengthened the Prime Minister's grip on the leadership and shored up the position of his embattled Treasurer, Joe Hockey, with support for the Coalition rising dramatically since last month.

In a stunning reversal of fortunes, the government has now pulled even with the Labor opposition, answering internal critics and increasing the prospect of an early election in the second half of 2015, should Tony Abbott decide to capitalise on the electoral recovery.

Mr Abbott has also shot into the lead as the preferred prime minister ahead of Labor's Bill Shorten.

At 44-39, it is the first time Mr Abbott has led on that index since April 2014 and the first time the government has been in a potentially election-winning position since February of that year.

Mr Abbott's approval rating has improved by 8 percentage points since April to be sitting at minus 8 - only slightly lower than Mr Shorten's, which has worsened to be minus 4.