Aussie PM's stock rises a bit with smack at rival

ROD McGUIRK
FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 file photo, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard gestures during a joint press conference with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. Australia’s political landscape seemed upside down. Gillard, whose party is widely expected to lose elections next year, was eviscerating the man who seems destined to replace her. (AP Photo/Penny Bradfield)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has drawn cheers from women around the world for a recent speech attacking her chief rival for what she said were sexist comments. But whether that helps her party's flagging prospects in elections next year remains in doubt.

Voters are increasingly favoring Gillard over opposition leader Tony Abbott, and the popularity of her center-left Labor Party has risen from recent record lows. But the party remains well below the 38 percent support that saw it scrape through elections to form a fragile minority government in 2010. Analysts doubt that her newfound fire will turn around Labor's prospects.

Australian political expert Nick Economou says it took Gillard a long time "to get to the point where she suddenly looks like a leader."