Since 2007, no Australian leader has succeeded in serving a full three-year term as prime minister.
The move triggers a cabinet reshuffle amid recriminations over the cabinet ministers who are suspected of fuelling some of the instability in recent days, raising questions over whether any of Mr Dutton's allies may also stand down.
Turnbull threw all leadership positions in the Liberal Party open early Tuesday, inviting challengers to nominate themselves for party leader.
A senior political figure described Mr Turnbull as being in "panic mode" and "clearly rattled" about the amount of support he has lost. Climate groups anxious that the National Energy Guarantee would not do enough to combat climate change.
"The Prime Minister is clearly rattled and he's anxious that the numbers are peeling off him".
Abbott led the Liberal-National coalition to a storming victory over Rudd's Labor in 2013.
The deputy positions were unchallenged, with Liberal Party deputy leader Julie Bishop retaining her position.
'He thanked his colleagues for their support, ' Ms Marino said.
About 10 coalition MPs have expressed concern the government's commitment to its Paris emissions-cut target is being prioritised ahead of cutting power prices. "For the prime minister just to trot out, you know, at a press conference, and say 'here we go, here's my latest thought bubble, ' is not really how good policy is designed".
But according to the prime minister, Mr Dutton has his back. "He has given me his absolute support".
This morning Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne said he was certain Mr Turnbull had the confidence of the party. "It's not about him, it's not about me", he said. "It's about policy and what we've got to get is a contest", Mr Abbott told reporters. Many were looking to Peter Dutton, the hardline...
The close numbers, however, isn't great news for Turnbull moving forward.
But Treasurer Scott Morrison said was "fully supportive" of the Prime Minister.
That aside, a string of poor public polls aren't making things any easier for Mr Turnbull. However, Mr Turnbull has consistently rated higher than Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister.