OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott often refers to the John Howard years as prime minister as the "golden era".
And it appears a majority of people agree.
More than a third of respondents to a Galaxy poll, published by News Limited, found Mr Howard had been the best prime minister of the past 25 years.
The former Member for Bennelong, who held the top job for 12 years before losing the prime ministership and his seat at the 2007 election, was rated the standout leader by 35% of those polled.
Kevin Rudd, the man who replaced Mr Howard in The Lodge, was next in line with 16% of respondents rating him as the best PM of the past quarter century.
Bob Hawke (15%) was next, followed by Paul Keating (9%) and Julia Gillard was last with just 5% of people rating her performance as PM.