A 3news Reid-Research Poll shows 55% of voters think Andrew Little is potentially a better match for John Key than his predecessors.
How hard is that?
Helen Clark resigned on election night and anointed Phil Goff.
He never made any traction and had to work with a divided caucus.
He was followed by David Shearer who had to work with a divided caucus and who struggled to string sentences together in interviews.
A change in party rules resulted in the election of David Cunliffe who had to deal with a divided caucus and who could string sentences together but strung different ones for different audiences and tripped himself up with several of them.
Now we have Andrew Little who was elected on the strength of union votes not the majority of members or his caucus. But he can string sentences together, has yet to trip himself up with them and the caucus has managed to hold itself together over the Christmas break while it was largely out of the news.
Being better than three previous leaders who weren’t very good at all isn’t much of an achievement especially when measured against the popularity of the man whose job he wants:
Mr Key is on the up too though, and as for Labour’s bump in the polls, he’s got that covered.
“I’m not surprised,” says Mr Key. “I think Labour is cannibalising the vote on the left of politics as Andrew Little goes through his honeymoon period.”
Voters do like what they see, especially when compared to Mr Little’s predecessors. Asked if Mr Little looks like a better match for Mr Key, 55 percent, a clear majority, say yes, up against 12 percent who say just the same and 18 percent that reckon he will be worse.
But this is crucial. Out of National voters, exactly whom Mr Little needs to win over, almost one in every two, 48 percent, rate him as a better match for Mr Key.
“It’s nice to get all that feedback,” says Mr Little.
“If you think of the election result in 2014, Labour was led to their worst result,” says Mr Key. “A lot of people might think that given how bad that was you can probably only improve from there.”
3 News polls on the same questions regularly, and Mr Little has got some of the highest ratings since Helen Clark. For instance, 54 percent say he is a capable leader; only Ms Clark got higher.
But here’s the problem for Mr Little – 81 percent of voters rate Mr Key as capable. . .
As he is and that’s reflected in party support too:
- National – 49.8 percent, up 2.8 percent on election night result
- Labour – 29.1 percent, up 4 percent
- Green – 9.3 percent, down 1.4 percent
- New Zealand First – 6.9 percent, down 1.9 percent
- Conservative – 2.7 percent, down 1.3 percent
- Maori – 1.3 percent, N/C
- Internet Mana – 0.6 percent, down 0.8 percent
- ACT – 0.4 percent, down 0.3 percent
- United Future – 0 percent, down 0.2 percent
As usually happens between elections the support for the wee parties drops.