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Analysis: 'They still don’t like him' but Simon Bridges 'safe' as party leader despite dismal support

National's "record high" in the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll is most likely the only thing giving Opposition leader Simon Bridges job security over the Christmas holidays, 1 NEWS political editor Jessica Mutch McKay reckons.

And it's pretty much the opposite conundrum Labour is facing in the wake of last night's poll results, Mutch McKay told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning.

"What it shows is that National support is strong and it's loyal," Mutch McKay said of the party's 46 per cent support - up three percentage points from the last poll in October, and now three percentage points ahead of Labour.

"And even if they don't really like the leader that much, they're not liking what the Government's doing and they're showing their support really strongly for the National Party."

But the reaction to the poll among party officials and supporters has to be mixed today, she suggested, pointing out that support for Mr Bridges as the preferred leader remains dismal at seven per cent while colleague Judith Collins breathes down his neck at six per cent. Jacinda Ardern has the vast majority of preferred PM support in the poll, with 39 per cent.

"National will be going, 'Yay! That's great! Look at how well we're doing. Ooh. But hang on. Look over here. Mr Seven isn't resonating,'" Mutch McKay said.

"At the beginning of the year, the question was maybe they don't know him, or maybe they don't like him. They now know him, and the answer is they still don't like him.

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    The Opposition leader dissected the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll, which had good news for the National Party. Source: Breakfast

    "Either that number's going to have to start shifting up, or there are going to be questions raised, because let's be honest, if National went into the 30s this would be a much more defining poll in Simon Bridges' political career."

    On the flipside, Labour continues to enjoy robust public support for Ms Ardern as Prime Minister but a year into governing is still struggling to match National's party loyalty. The party took the lead when the last poll was released in October, only for it to drop again.

    Part of the problem, Mutch McKay suggested, is that people support Ms Ardern but aren't too keen on some of her choices of ministers.

    Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway, for example, has had a series of damaging headlines lately regarding his decisions on Czech drug smuggler Karel Sroubek.

    The thing for Labour is that they've got friends," Mutch McKay said. "So with the Greens they can form a Government.

    "The problem for National isn't ACT isn't bringing enough to the table, so they're sitting out there all alone. There's going to be some really interesting discussions held over the next few weeks."

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      The latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll shows the National Party bounce back. Source: 1 NEWS

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        Labour and National seem to have opposite problems, Jessica Mutch McKay tells Breakfast after the latest Colmar Brunton poll. Source: Breakfast


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