The waning popularity of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd took another hit on Wednesday when his female deputy and his leading opponent attracted higher bids at an online auction for charity.
The Labor prime minister received only 10 bids, the highest for 6,300 dollars (5,440 US), on an eBay auction for a barefoot lawn bowls session or an intimate dinner at his official residence.
That left him trailing Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who drew a 10,100 dollar bid after 15 takers of her offer to host dinner for six.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott, a right-leaning fitness fanatic, was also more popular than the Mandarin-speaking former diplomat Rudd, with 7,500 dollars the highest of 17 bids for a private surfing lesson or dinner with him.
Rudd won elections in 2007 by a landslide but has suffered a slump in the polls following a series of broken election promises, including the shelving of an emissions trading scheme designed to tackle climate change.
Gillard was this week forced to deny she was mulling a leadership challenge ahead of the next elections, which are due before April 2011 but expected this year.
Recent polls have indicated Rudd's centre-left Labor government could lose the upcoming election -- which would make his administration the first not to secure a second term since before World War II.