2 Aug 2021

Support for Labour takes a hit, popularity for ACT growing in new poll

5:33 am on 2 August 2021

Support for the Labour Party has taken a hit while the ACT Party, and its leader, is growing in popularity, a new political poll shows.

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Photo: RNZ

The latest Newshub Reid Research poll has Labour down 9.7 points to 43 percent while the National Party is up 1.7 points to 28.7 percent.

The ACT party scored its highest ever Reid-Research rating last night, up 4.2 points to 11.1 percent of the vote.

Its leader David Seymour said Labour's loss was both ACT and National's gain.

"The real story of this poll is both ACT and National rising. I believe that's due to disillusionment with the government's performance on substantial issues, being housing, the Covid-19 recovery and law and order on the streets.

The National Party still sits a clear second place in the poll at 28.7 percent and while the boost is less than half that of ACT's, its leader Judith Collins was happy with the results.

Far from vote-splitting, ACT's results were a good thing for National, she said.

"ACT coming up is ultimately good for National because we're also going up so it's not as though it's taking votes off us. So that's good and what I see that means is certainly if we can both keep going in that direction then that will be very good and give us a very good chance at the next election."

The Labour Party was down 9.7 points to 43 percent.

On these numbers it could no longer govern alone and would need the Green Party - up 1.4 points to 8.5 percent - to form a government.

Its leader James Shaw said it showed the 2020 election - that saw Labour form the first majority government in the MMP era - was an outlier.

"I think that what the poll shows is more of a reversion to normality. We'd be very pleased to be able to form a government with Labour after the next election."

ACT leader David Seymour was just as keen to join forces with National - pitching the parties had two years until the next election to close a 10-point gap.

"I think it's very clear that with both ACT and National increasing in this poll, it's not an 'either or' it's an 'and and' and the net result is a serious proposition for the voters not only to have a change of government but with ACT, a change of direction."

Collins batted away suggestions of any future leadership struggles given Seymour's rivalling popularity.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is still a clear lead in the preferred prime minister rankings - down 2.6 points to 45.5 percent - but Seymour has now passed Judith Collins.

The Reid-Research poll has Seymour in second place for preferred prime minister - up 3 points to 8.6 percent with Collins a whisker behind at 8.2 percent.

Collins said she was not concerned.

"No it makes no difference at all. The fact is is that the National Party's around three times the size of ACT, that's the way it normally works. That's just silly stuff coming out of Newshub. I also well remember the days when Winston Peters was significantly more popular as prime minister than Jim Bolger. It just doesn't work like that."

RNZ called New Zealand First leader Winston Peters about the results; he said he had not watched the news and did not care to know his party had got 3.4 percent in the poll.

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