Punters have turned on Tony Abbott, with the odds of the coalition winning the next federal election widening after a recent plunge on Labor to retain office.
The coalition's standing in betting markets had improved when Mr Abbott was installed as Liberal leader in favour of Malcolm Turnbull earlier this month.
However, the odds of a coalition victory have since lengthened from $4.30 to $4.40 as punters looked to take advantage of a better price for Labor.
Labor remains the overwhelming favourite at $1.19, in from $1.23.
Centrebet analyst Neil Evans said the heavily backed ALP had eased from $1.16 to $1.23 after the first real big wave of money came for the opposition when Mr Abbott was installed as leader.
One Sydney punter unloaded almost $20,000 across four bets from $5.00 down to $4.35 before the opposition levelled out at $4.00.
"But in the last week, smart punters have hopped back on Labor, including bets of $10,000 at $1.23, $10,000 at $1.22 and $2,500 from a tough punter at $1.22," Mr Evans said.
"Most of the money is coming from Sydney clients, and it seems they were just waiting for Labor to get out to a more backable price before they stormed in."
The movement in the market is another sharp reminder that while Mr Abbott is popular and admired in some quarters, he is not the leader to cut into Labor's margin at the ballot box, Mr Evans said.
However, Mr Abbott remains the clear favourite to be opposition leader at the next election at $1.14, with Joe Hockey at long odds of $4.95, and "any other" at $7.50.
Almost $150,000 has been placed on the federal election with Centrebet with Labor holding 80 per cent of all monies.
The news is not so good for the NSW Labor government, which is scheduled to go to the polls in March 2011.
The Barry O'Farrell-led coalition has tightened to its shortest price - $1.15 - to win office at the next state poll, with the embattled Labor government under Kristina Kenneally at $4.90.
Bets are running at a ratio of 10:1 in the coalition's favour.
Mr Evans said a prominent member of the Sydney media set recently bet $15,000 on the coalition at $1.19.
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