The surge defies any controversy over the business activities of leader Kevin Rudd's wife.
The Newspoll, published today in The Australian newspaper, shows Labor leading the coalition 52 to 35 — back at its highest level since the Howard government was elected.
Labor has 60 per cent support on a two-party preferred basis, up five points from last week, while coalition support was down five to 40, according to the poll taken at the weekend.
On the topic of preferred prime minister, John Howard picked up one point to 38 per cent from a fortnight ago, while Mr Rudd shed two to 47.
Support for Mr Howard's performance as prime minister was down one point to 44, with 47 per cent of respondents dissatisfied, up one point.
Support for Mr Rudd's performance as opposition leader dipped four points to 64, and those dissatisfied nudged up one point to 17 per cent.
Labor deputy leader Julia Gillard said she did not think issues such as underpayment of workers at the business of Mr Rudd's wife, Therese Rein, played much of a part in the poll.
"These things … I think don't distract Australians from thinking about their lives, their families and what matters to them," Ms Gillard told ABC television.
She said the opposition camp was not getting carried away about the polls giving Labor a massive lead ahead of this year's election.
"We will expect it to tighten, we will expect it to change; we aren't taking anything for granted.
"If a week is a long time in politics then there's a long time to go until we've got the next election and a lot could happen."
The workplace relations issue was a driver of the support for Labor among voters, Ms Gillard said.
"One of the key things they're looking at is the alternative we've got to offer on industrial relations," she said. "They want the balance restored and I believe they are looking to Labor for that."