John Howard has been named as Australia’s best prime minister for the second consecutive year, beating popular Labor stalwarts Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke.
The former Liberal leader, who held office between 1996 and 2007, was rated as the country’s best prime minister of the past forty years in an Essential Poll conducted for The Australian.
Mr Howard continues to hold a commanding lead in the poll, garnering 34 per cent of the vote, down from 39 per cent last year.
Current prime minister and fellow Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott received just two per cent of the vote.
Former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke, who held office from 1983 to 1991, was rated second best leader, while the late Gough Whitlam (1972-75) came third.
According to The Australian report, support for Mr Whitlam increased by five per cent since last year’s poll, attributable to the extensive coverage and tributes to the Labor leader after his October death.
Kevin Rudd and Paul Keating tied in fourth place with six per cent of the vote, while Julia Gillard, Australia’s only female leader, came fifth.
Liberal votes overwhelming backed Mr Howard as the best prime minister (67 per cent), while Labor and Greens voters backed Mr Whitlam.
Only four per cent of Liberal voters named Mr Abbott as Australia’s best prime minister in recent memory.
Best prime ministers since 1972
1. John Howard
2. Bob Hawke
3. Gough Whitlam
4. Kevin Rudd and Paul Keating (tied)
6. Julia Gillard
7. Malcolm Fraser
8. Tony Abbott