1 Feb 2015

Support for National increasing

6:41 pm on 1 February 2015

Public support for the National Party is going up just a few months after the start of its third term in Government.

John Key

Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

In the latest 3News-Reid Research poll National got 49.8 percent, compared with the 47.04 percent of actual votes it won in the election last September.

In the final 3News poll before the election National had scored 44.5 percent support.

This most recent poll surveyed 1000 people and was conducted between January 20 and 28. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percent.

A Roy Morgan poll out earlier in January put National on 52 percent support.

Usually political parties going into their third term on the Treasury benches begin to lose public support.

But there is no sign yet that the public have begun to tire of Prime Minister, John Key, or his Government.

In the 3News poll support for Labour was 29.1 percent, compared with its election result of 25.13 percent.

Labour's gain appeared to come at the expense of the Green and New Zealand First parties.

The Greens scored 9.3 compared with their 10.7 percent election result while New Zealand First dropped from 8.66 in the election to 6.9 percent in this poll.

None of the other parties in Parliament did well in the poll, with the Maori Party the only one to maintain the same level of support it won in last year's election.

In the Roy Morgan poll the Greens did better, scoring 11 percent, while Labour managed just 26 percent.

The 3News poll also asked respondents about Labour leader Andrew Little's performance and 55 percent said they believed he was potentially a better match for John Key than Labour's previous leaders, David Cunliffe, David Shearer and Phil Goff.

Labour Leader Andrew Little at his state of the nation speech.

Labour Party leader Andrew Little. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

As well 45 percent believed Mr Little was performing well while only 17 percent said he was performing badly.

That is the best response to this question for a Labour leader since Helen Clark.

But in all the questions on leaders' performance John Key scored higher, with 63 percent saying he was peforming well, while 81 percent said the Prime Minister was a capable leader.

Only 54 percent said the same about Andrew Little but again that is the best result for a Labour leader since Helen Clark.

Both the 3News and Roy Morgan polls were taken after a long summer break during which there was little, if any, coverage of politics.

Most interest will focus on whether Labour can make any dent in National's lead in the opinion polls once the political year gets into full swing.

Mr Key and Mr Little delivered their state-of-the-nation speeches last week but Parliament does not resume sitting until next week.

This week both major parties hold caucus retreats. National MPs are meeting on Tuesday at Premier House, while Labour MPs have headed to the Wairarapa for a two-day meeting.

Both parties will be discussing the year ahead, with Mr Little signalling the party will target unemployment and housing as areas where it can attack the Government.

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