Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Coalition communications minister Malcolm Turnbull. A new poll shows the Coalition would win the election in a landslide with Mr Turnbull as leader. Photo: Andrew Meares
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has played down a new opinion poll showing that the Coalition could win an election in a landslide if Malcolm Turnbull was leading the Liberal Party.
A ReachTel poll for the Seven Network released on Friday shows the Coalition leading Labor 58 to 42 per cent, on a two-party preferred basis, with Mr Turnbull at the helm.
With Mr Abbott in charge, the Coalition lead narrows to 51 to 49 per cent.
The poll also shows Mr Turnbull leading Kevin Rudd as preferred prime minister 65 to 35 per cent against the Labor leader's 52 to 48 per cent advantage over Mr Abbott.
Conducted on Thursday night, the poll of 2922 residents nation-wide had a margin of error of 1.8 per cent.
Mr Abbott dismissed the polling, saying the Liberal movement was a ''broad church and a big tent''.
''We can run a political party that has got room for more than just one big figure,'' Mr Abbott told reporters in Bundaberg on Friday.
''As we've seen from the Labor Party they just can't do that.''
Earlier this week, Mr Turnbull conceded that he was more popular than Mr Abbott with some voters, but ruled out another tilt at the Liberal leadership.
''There are a lot of people out there who would rather I was leading the Liberal Party; it is ridiculous to deny that that's not happening,'' he said on Sunday on the Nine Network.
''If they think I am a person of capability and quality and so forth, they should be comforted by the fact that I am part of that team in a senior leadership position.
''So if you are a Malcolm Turnbull fan rather than a Tony Abbott fan, you may prefer Malcolm ... I was in the top job rather than Tony: I will be up the top table.''
Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey on Friday backed up his leader saying Mr Abbott would take the Coalition to the next election.
Responding to the poll, Mr Hockey defended Mr Abbott's leadership.
''Tony Abbott is the man, will be the man, will continue to be the man,'' Mr Hockey told the Seven Network.
''You can have whatever polls you want but the bottom line is we don't want to follow the path of the Labor Party which has selected Kevin Kardashian as leader.''
Mr Hockey said he wasn't focused on polling.
''Our view is that you need to have someone who is going to be of substance and focused on the job at hand,'' he said.
''Malcolm Turnbull says that, I say that.''
The latest downbeat data for Mr Abbott follows Monday's Fairfax-Nielsen poll showing the ALP's primary support up 10 percentage points to 39 per cent compared to the Coalition on 44, down three.
That poll's two-party preferred numbers put Labor at 50 per cent, with the opposition also on 50 – the first time in three years that Labor no longer trails the Coalition on that metric.
A Roy Morgan poll on its website on Thursday showed that Mr Turnbull was the preferred Liberal leader, 51 per cent to Mr Abbott on 16 per cent.