'Unprecedented': Seymour overtakes Collins as preferred PM in new poll

Author
Claire Trevett, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 8 Jul 2021, 5:21PM
National leader Judith Collins (Photo / NZ Herald)
National leader Judith Collins (Photo / NZ Herald)

'Unprecedented': Seymour overtakes Collins as preferred PM in new poll

Author
Claire Trevett, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 8 Jul 2021, 5:21PM

Act leader David Seymour has overtaken National Party leader Judith Collins as preferred Prime Minister in a new UMR poll, a result described as "unprecedented" by the polling company.

The UMR July poll for showed Seymour had risen to 12 per cent as preferred Prime Minister, leapfrogging Collins who was on 10 per cent.

The poll noted that was "an unprecedented result" in its poll - the first time an Act leader had out-polled a National Party leader.

The poll noted 15 per cent of National voters picked Seymour as preferred PM: "David Seymour can now claim to be preferred Opposition leader."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was riding well above all contenders on 55 per cent: her tally included 15 per cent of National voters.

The poll showed National's party support had dropped to 24 per cent, down three points since the last UMR poll a month ago, while Labour lifted slightly to 48 per cent.

Act was on 11 per cent and the Green Party on 8 per cent.

Overall, National and Act had 35 per cent of the vote while Labour and the Greens had 55 per cent.

UMR also does polling for the Labour Party - that is a separate poll from this, a monthly omnibus poll for UMR's other clients obtained by the NZ Herald.

It was Collins' worst result in UMR since taking over as leader.

However, Collins remained the favourite by far among National voters. Thirty seven per cent of National voters favoured Collins – and no other National MP was within coo-ee.

New MP Christopher Luxon was the only other National MP to register - chosen by five per cent of National voters, and 1.5 per cent of voters overall.

Collins said it was from the Labour Party's pollsters and National had "been through a very tough few weeks."

"[So] It isn't going to stop us working hard to keep on track and focused on the things that matter to New Zealand."

Seymour said he believed there was an increasing "deep unease" about how New Zealand was tracking.

"People want alternatives. My job is to put those forward, and this will serve to make me work harder in that."

It came during a period of further turbulence for National after news Collins had caught Muller out speaking to the media as an un-named source. That had prompted a late-night caucus meeting, and Muller was told to resign or face being kicked out of Parliament.

Act and National have been campaigning against the Government on similar issues, including the feebates scheme, hate speech proposals and Government moves on Maori self-determination, which Collins claimed amounted to separatism.

But it was not all bad news for the Opposition with signs the Government's Covid-19 honeymoon could be waning.

The poll showed numbers who believed New Zealand was heading in the wrong direction had been trending up since March this year. 29 per cent now believed it was heading on the wrong track – drawing back to near the pre-Covid levels of March last year.

Those who believed it was heading in the right direction had dropped from highs of 78 per cent last May and this March had dropped to 64 per cent.

However, the Government's handling of Covid-19 continued to have very strong support of about two-thirds of New Zealanders. More people were also positive about economic conditions than negative.

The poll of 1199 voters was taken from 24 June to 1 July. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 per cent.