Roy Morgan, which normally goes easy on “beauty contest” questions, has today entered the fray with a phone poll of 527 respondents. It gives Brendan Nelson the same 9 per cent preferred prime minister rating he suffered from Newspoll, with Kevin Rudd on 77 per cent compared with Newspoll’s 70 per cent. That’s not the worst of it though: on the question of preferred Liberal leader, Nelson can only manage equal fourth place behind Malcolm Turnbull (24 per cent), Peter Costello (18 per cent) and Joe Hockey (13 per cent). Nelson and Alexander Downer are both on 9 per cent. Kevin Rudd is favoured as Labor leader by 66 per cent over 15 per cent for Julia Gillard; in the absence of Rudd, 50 per cent would favour Gillard over 8 per cent for Wayne Swan.