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The latest Nielsen opinion poll showed Mr Abbott's disapproval rating at 63 per cent, the second-worst in the party's history.
But the opposition leader defended himself and the actions of his colleagues.
"The coalition has been doing the right thing by the people of Australia," he said, laughing after being asked by a reporter if the poll result should see him step aside from the leadership.
"We have been holding a bad government to account. We have been demonstrating that we are a credible alternative. We've been saying to the Australian people `it can be better than this'."
Among Liberal politicians, Mr Abbott's disapproval rating came second only to Andrew Peacock's rating of 72 per cent recorded in October 1984.
The latest poll, published by Fairfax Media on Monday, put the coalition ahead of Labor by 52-48 per cent on a two-party preferred basis, while Julia Gillard remained preferred prime minister, leading Mr Abbott 50-40 per cent.
Labor's primary vote, which has been at 34 per cent for the past three months, was at 35 per cent while the coalition's fell two points to 43 per cent and the Greens fell two points to 10 per cent.
Damaging Mr Abbott's image was his handling of the Australian Workers' Union issue and pursuit of Ms Gillard over some minor legal work she did pro-bono for the union 20 years ago, said Nielsen director John Stirton.
Treasurer Wayne Swan further labelled Mr Abbott "a thug when it comes to personal attacks".
"Every time the government hyperventilates about the opposition it demonstrates it has no positive plans for the future of our country," Mr Abbott said of the treasurer's criticism.
Of the AWU issue, he stood by the coalition's call for a judicial inquiry and said it should be remembered that a member of the Labor government first raised the item.
Mr Abbott left London yesterday, where he spent five days attending a series of meetings.