New Zealand First is favoured as a coalition partner for National by virtually the same number who favour National keeping its current three support partners, according to a new online survey.
But a fairly large group also believe National would be better to go with the Green Party, according to the Herald ZB Kantar TNS survey.
To the question "if National had to go into coalition after the election to form a government, which would work best," 25 per cent opted for its current support partners, Act, United Future and the Maori Party.
But 24 per cent believed New Zealand First would be best and 17 per cent thought Greens would be best.
The largest group was Not Sure at 34 per cent.
Most Party Vote poll this term have New Zealand First holding the balance of power and being able to determine whether National is returned for a fourth term or whether Labour will ends its three terms in Opposition.Another question in the survey, published today, shows that Prime Minister and National leader Bill English is viewed as the most capable leader of running the government by a long margin, with Labour leader Andrew Little second on 10 per cent and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters on 9 per cent.
A breakdown of the data shows that of those who see as the most capable, 45 per cent would prefer National to stick with its current partners, 22 per cent favoured New Zealand First and 11 per cent favoured the Greens.
The preferences of Peters' supporters is emphatic; 76 per cent of them believe New Zealand First would be the best coalition partner for National.
Among Little's supporters, more wanted any National coalition to be with the Greens, 27 per cent, and 18 per cent favoured it to go with New Zealand First.
A large number, 41 per cent, were not sure enough to offer a view on which party would be best for National.
National, a minority Government, holds power through confidence and supply agreements with three parties, Act, United Future and the Maori Party, and has done so for the three terms it has been in government.
Former Prime Minister John Key ruled out working with Peters before the 2008 and 2011 elections.
He did not rule him out in 2011 but was able to form a government without him.
English has not categorically ruled out the Green Party as a potential partner but has said the Greens had effectively ruled themselves out through their agreement with Labour to change the government.
The survey was conducted between July 5-11 and the sample size was 1000.
The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 per cent. It is on Online survey by ConsumerLink which runs the Fly Buys panel of 120,000 active members, one of the largest in New Zealand. Sampling is nationally representative and is then post-weighted by age, gender and region to match the population.