A new poll has Act on 16 per cent, just six points below the support of the National Party and with growing support for its leader.
Talbot Mills Research released its monthly New Zealand Insight poll to clients this week showing Labour on 46 per cent (up one point from September), National on 22 per cent (down four points), Act up three points to 16 and the Greens up one at 7 per cent.
NZ First, which hit 5 per cent in the series in July has since fallen to 3.8 per cent. Te Pati Maori, at 1.9 per cent in October, has hovered around 2 per cent for most of this year.
Previously known as UMR, the polling company is best known for its research for the Labour Party, however it also supplies some of its research to corporate clients.
Talbot Mills is also providing polling for the Herald on Kiwis' perceptions about vaccination.
Act's support has been rising strongly across a number of polls in recent months. A month ago, a poll by Curia (National's long time polling company) for the Taxpayers' Union had Act on 14.9 per cent, while National was on 21.2 per cent.
The Taxpayers' Union is expected to release another poll today.
The Talbot Mills' document, seen by the Herald, said field work for its latest poll took place between September 28 and October 5, with an online study of what it said was a national representative sample of more than 1200 New Zealanders.
It showed Act's rise in the party support was also reflected in the support of its leader, David Seymour, as preferred Prime Minister. Seymour was the preferred PM of 16 per cent of those surveyed, 7 percentage points ahead of Judith Collins.
Jacinda Ardern remains the preferred Prime Minister of 51 per cent of those surveyed, although her support has been gradually easing from the highs of 65 per cent she reached at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
New Zealanders still generally believe the country is heading in the right direction, with 63 per cent of those polled saying they believe New Zealand is on the right track, while 30 per cent said it was on the wrong track.
The gap is narrowing; back in March 78 per cent said the country was on the right track, while just 13 per cent said it was on the wrong track.
For the first time this year more New Zealanders believe economic conditions are deteriorating. Asked about economic conditions in New Zealand, 45 per cent said they were either "good" or "excellent", while 53 per cent said they were "poor" or "no so good".