Is the end nigh for Judith Collins?
Two polls released this week are bad news for National and come at a time when the party's leader Judith Collins is involved in an unseemly public row with her former press secretary.
A poll commissioned by the Taxpayers Union, a right-wing lobby group, had National on a devastating 21.3 percent, well below the level considered to be fatal for a party leader. Another from Labour's pollster UMR had National on 26 percent, not as bad but still well below where National wants to be.
The Taxpayers' poll has ACT on 14.3 percent showing it to be a continuing direction for disaffected National voters while Labour was on 45.8 percent and the Greens on 9.6 meaning the left wing bloc could easily form a government.
The UMR poll had Labour on 45 percent and ACT on 13.
The two have come at a time that Collins' temperament has been questioned regarding comments she made about microbiologist Siouxsie Wiles whom she called “a big fat liar”.
Collins former press secretary Janet Wilson said this showed that Collins was not up for the job and accused her of paranoia.
In response, Collins described those comments as unprofessional and said she had inherited Wilson from her predecessor as leader, the hapless Todd Muller.
In the whole sense of things, it is probably a storm in a teacup but it does do harm to Collins' image and the image of National in general. And of course rumours about a coup will be stoked again.
Taxpayers Union executive director Jordan Williams made a very interesting comment that their poll showed a growing gender gap between men and women voters.
The centre left (Labour and the Greens) are 42 percent ahead with women but 7 percent behind with men. Williams says there will only be a change of government if opposition parties can attract a bigger share of female voters.
The UMR poll, which was actually prepared for corporate clients, produced some other interesting figures. Fears about catching Covid have risen from 40 percent to 52, 54 percent say the transtasman bubble is the wrong thing to do and almost two-thirds of people believe the worst is still to come.
According to UMR two-thirds of people believe the Government response to the pandemic is the right one, with the figure rising from 62 to 67 percent. Although that is down from 70 percent earlier in the year, it is still a clear majority and reverses a previous decline.