Labor back in race for Blair

POLL BOOST: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has lifted the hopes of Labor MPs.
POLL BOOST: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has lifted the hopes of Labor MPs.

RETURNING Kevin Rudd to the Lodge may just have saved Labor from losing its Ipswich seats.

The Labor member for Blair, Shayne Neumann, has firmed as the clear favourite to retain his seat after the party removed Julia Gillard as prime minister last week.

According to Sportsbet, Mr Neumann is now the $1.40 favourite to win the seat at the upcoming federal election.

His LNP challenger, Teresa Harding, has blown out to $2.75.

Before the spill, Mrs Harding was as close as $1.95 to Mr Neumann's $1.70.

Oxley Labor MP Bernie Ripoll has firmed even more and is now the $1.20 favourite to defeat LNP candidate Andrew Nguyen.

Before the leadership change to Mr Rudd, Mr Ripoll was $1.30.

The Coalition remains the overwhelming favourite in the rural seat of Wright, however, with sitting MP Scott Buchholz at $1.05.

According to Sportsbet, the national outlook for Labor isn't as positive, however, with the Coalition at $1.22 to win the federal election, ahead of Labor at $4.

Mr Neumann said he hadn't seen the betting odds and wasn't assuming they would reflect the final vote.

"I haven't looked at the betting markets to tell the truth," he said.

"No one has cast a vote yet. I'm asking the people of Ipswich to support me and help keep on fighting for local jobs and infrastructure."

Ms Harding said she was not concerned by the markets and believed they weren't reflective of the support she had in the region.

"I think this is a honeymoon phase, a sugar hit we all knew was coming," she said.

She did admit to watching the markets and had noticed how much impact the change in leader had.

"With Julia Gillard as PM we were neck and neck at about $1.85; now they've blown right out," she said.

"I think things will go back towards how they were before the change though.

"I've been out doorknocking the businesses of Ipswich and they're telling me they don't care who the leader is. They're sick of Labor."

Mr Neumann said the response he'd received from Ipswich residents to Mr Rudd returning to the prime ministership had been "overwhelmingly positive".

"I went to the football in Collingwood Park and, as soon as I walked in, the first thing anyone said to me was: 'Thank you for restoring our Prime Minister'."



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