Mike's Minute: National doesn't need to panic over one rogue poll

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 13 February 2019, 9:32AM


I was very pleased to hear from Judith Collins yesterday as regards her aspirations for the National Party leadership. She is not interested, and I take her at her word.

And many of you will go, 'what an idiot. Who in their right mind, when they're plotting a coup, espouses open warfare?' - and you'd be right, she's way smarter than that.

The thing to remember here is that the National Party leadership, or indeed the leadership of any major political party, isn't suddenly up for grabs as a result of one rogue poll.

What we saw these past 24 hours was sadly typical of modern day media. News is a bit quiet, bang - a poll comes out - it's hyped to the max, draw in a couple of subplots like leadership spills, add two and two come up with 17, and you've got a day or two of stories.

One of the critical things the media largely forgot in peddling their 'let's get Simon' rhetoric is that Judith Collins isn't actually all that popular in the National Party caucus - and it's the caucus that has the votes.

It is why I originally argued for Steven Joyce or Judith Collins to replace Bill English, because my fear was they would stay 'in-house' and vote for someone they like, and someone isn't actually widely liked, loved, or understood by the voter.

The best example of that was Amy Adams, who you will note has vanished from radar ever since, and Simon Bridges. Both liked and likeable, internally. But externally with huge hurdles to climb, a hurdle in Bridges' case if you even half believe the poll, he's yet to summit.

So why shouldn't they roll Bridges, and why is this poll and its reaction a beat up?

One: the shift in numbers is highly dodgy, it's too much for no explanation.

Three: it's one poll and the last one was in May.

Four: even if its accurate, one poll does not a spill make.

Five: even if a spill was on, is Collins your answer? The jury is out.

Six: it's still ages until the election.

Seven: leadership spills have a history of further weakening your credibility. Ask Labour about that.

Eight: with their current numbers, the chance of a new green party, the deal with ACT, and the demise of New Zealand First, National only need 47 per cent to feel pretty good about a shot at government.

Nine: a leader is only part of the picture. The way this Government is travelling policy-wise, National can bank on a growing number of disillusioned voters.

Ten: Given the first nine, there is absolutely no need to panic.


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