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Only a 'disaster of a leader' could shake National's loyal voter base as election looms

Despite National remaining on top in the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll, voters currently isn't receptive to the idea of the party's leader Simon Bridges becoming Prime Minister. 

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Professor Jennifer Curtin of The University of Auckland shared her insight into the latest Colmar Brunton poll. Source: Breakfast

Last night's poll had Simon Bridges at 11 per cent as preferred Prime Minister, compared to Jacinda Ardern’s 42 per cent.

Jennifer Curtin, professor of politics at the University of Auckland told TVNZ1’s Breakfast today that Mr Bridges' popularity might not matter when it comes to the crunch, with National’s voters traditionally a loyal base.

“I think it would take a disaster of a leader to shake nationals base right now,” Professor Curtin said.

“We know from 2017 that National voters are very loyal to their party so they don’t tend to split their vote as much as what we see with Labour voters,” she says.

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The first 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll of the year suggests NZ First could again determine the outcome of the election. Source: 1 NEWS

Professor Curtin believes the loyalty to the party is a legacy left by former leaders Sir John Key and Bill English.

“There are probably still some National voters who feel that their party should have been in Government," she says.

“So while he’s only 10/11 per cent, while the party vote is holding up for National, Bridges is safe."

And as National remains steady on 46 per cent, and ACT on two per cent, Professor Curtin says together they have the right numbers to form a Government.

“ACT are looking exceptionally strong in a way right now given the Epsom seat is theirs and now they’re at 2 per cent,” she says.

“If you put National together with ACT they’ll be in a position to form the government as it stands.”