Last night’s Newshub Reid Research poll has produced the inevitable proclamations of the political death of Simon Bridges.
But what would changing National’s leader change?
It wouldn’t change the circumstances that have led to the high support for Labour and its leader and the corresponding fall in support for National and its leader.
David Farrar pointed out yesterday that polls during a crisis almost always result in high support for whoever is in charge as patriotism trumps politics.
In Australia Scott Morrison has gone from a -20% net approval rating in the February Newspoll to a +26% rating in the April Newspoll.
In the UK Boris Johnson has gone from a +6% rating in March Opinium to a +29% in April.
Even in the US, Donald Trump is seeing his approval rating increase, despite a pretty terrible actual response to the crisis. Gallup had him at -9% in January and at +4% in March. . .
The poll also showed that 91.6 percent of respondents backed the decision to go into lockdown.
What the raw number doesn’t show is whether or not that many backed the details.
I backed the lockdown but not the way decisions on which businesses could operate were based on the debatable criteria of essential instead of safety.
Sticking to the former has wrought much greater economic devastation than was necessary and day by day the impact of that on businesses, jobs and lives will be get worse.
And day by day the difference in the ability of National team and the Labour one to repair the damage will become evident.
In spite of the overexcited claims of commentators, changing leaders wouldn’t make much difference to the polls.
What will make a difference is a plan that clearly shows a better way forward for New Zealand, a better future for New Zealanders and a competent and united team to deliver it.
Labour has the unity but it doesn’t have the plan or the competence.
National has a plan and the competence. If caucus keeps its collective head and stays united it will have a much better chance of regaining popularity than if it panics and starts showing disunity because changing leaders won’t change the circumstances that fed the poll results and voters don’t vote for disunity.