Kate Hawkesby: What is it about Simon Bridges that voters don't like?

Author
Kate Hawkesby ,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 12 February 2019, 6:52a.m.
National Party leader Simon Bridges

COMMENT:

Another poll, another bad day at the office for Simon Bridges. I feel sorry for him now.

Newshub's poll last night came out with the worst result in over a decade for National: a nose dive and with Simon Bridges at the helm. According to one political reporter, National would've been in crisis talks last night off the back of this.

Labour surged six points ahead of National, but more crucially for Bridges, Judith Collins overtook him in the preferred PM stakes. Bridges plummeted down 3.9 to 5 per cent, while Collins ramped up 2.5 to 6.2 per cent.

When Judith first made her surprise appearance in the last preferred PM poll at 3.7 per cent, I said at the timeĀ watch this space. Others claimed it was a rogue one-off event. Not so it turns out.

Now it's looking like a trend. This must be absolutely gutting for Simon Bridges.

His response last night (that he likes the fact New Zealanders like his team) -
no one's buying that. It's another nail in his coffin, is it the final one?

Ardern is miles out in front on 41.8 per cent support as preferred PM.

The KiwiBuild debacle, the Karel Sroubek mess, capital gains tax - none of these things have put voters off it seems. Yet.

Labour's at 47.5 per cent, up 4.9, ahead of National at 41.6 per cent, which is a drop for them of 3.5.

In fact Winston's response will be interesting, can he poopoo the poll as rogue when it gives good numbers to his coalition partner and PM? Probably not. He will have to suck it up.

But a poll that shows NZ First wouldn't even be in Parliament on these numbers, and that the Greens and Labour could govern alone, will be a very bitter pill for him to swallow.

So what is it voters don't like about Simon Bridges? Is it the voice? Is it his perceived weakness? Is it his inability to bat away Jami-Lee Ross?

Is it just bad luck being the guy who had to follow John Key? Is it that people still don't know him? Or is it just that National's base likes strong sassy and old-school - in the form of a Judith Collins?

As I've said before, I'd go for Mark Mitchell. But who takes the helm here and whether it can remain Simon, will be a big job for National to nut out over the coming days.

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