May 21 poll: Pressure mounts as National falls to 29%, Labour skyrockets

Source: 1News

Labour has surged in support and National has plunged in the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll, heaping pressure on National leader Simon Bridges.

Mr Bridges was already facing a showdown with party colleagues tomorrow and tonight’s numbers make his position even more precarious.

The Labour Party vote is now sitting at  59% – an increase of an unprecedented 18 percentage points.

National has dropped dramatically, down 17 percentage points to 29% - its lowest Colmar Brunton poll result since 2003.

Party support
Labour Party - 59% (up 18 percentage points)
National Party - 29% (down 17 percentage points)
Green Party - 4.7%
New Zealand First - 2.9%
ACT - 2.2%
Māori Party - 1.2%
Don’t Know/Refused - 16%  


According to the poll, the Green Party would be out of Parliament at 4.7% , as would New Zealand First at 2.9% .

ACT, assuming it wins an electoral seat, would pull in three MPs with its 2.2% support.

If the poll results were repeated in September’s election, Labour would be able to govern alone with 79 seats, National would have 38 .

Parliamentary seat entitlement
- Labour Party 79
- National Party 38
- ACT Party 3  

Mr Bridges’ preferred Prime Minister rating has fallen 6 percentage points to just 5% .

Meanwhile, following the Covid-19 crisis, Jacinda Ardern has jumped to her highest rating as preferred Prime Minister at 63% , up a whopping 21 percentage points.

Watch 1 NEWS at 6 on TVNZ1. 

Jacinda Ardern and Simon Bridges

Preferred PM
- Jacinda Ardern: 63% (up 21%)
- Simon Bridges: 5% (down 6%)
- Judith Collins: 3% (steady)
- Winston Peters: 1% (down 2%)

It comes after the country spent weeks on lockdown as the Covid-19 pandemic swept around the world.

Labour leader Ms Ardern soared in the results as preferred Prime Minister to 63% - a record high for the 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll.

Ms Ardern’s previous high was 51% in April 15, 2019 – a month after the Christchurch terrorist attack. 

National leader Mr Bridges dropped to 5%, Judith Collins was steady on 3% and NZ First leader Winston Peters dropped down 2 percentage points to 1%.

Mr Bridges faces a leadership battle tomorrow, with Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller officially throwing his hat in the ring yesterday in a bid to lead National. Today’s poll showed Mr Muller at 0.2% as preferred PM.

Jacinda Ardern and Simon Bridges did their best to woo the rainbow vote ahead of this year’s election.

Approval ratings
Jacinda Ardern +76
Simon Bridges -40

The 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll also asked voters if they approved or disapproved of the way Jacinda Ardern and Simon Bridges handle their jobs.

Approval ratings were last asked in the 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll in October 2019. Approval ratings are calculated by taking away the disapproval percentage from the approval percentage

Jacinda Ardern rose to +76 from +33 last year, with 86% of those polled now approving of the way she was handling her job as Prime Minister, compared to 62% in October.

Ten per cent disapproved of the way Ms Ardern was handling her job, compared to 29% last year.

The groups of people who were more likely than average (86) to approve of how Ms Ardern was handling her job was Labour Party supporters, people with an annual household income of $30,001 to $70,000, and women aged 55 and over.

Those more likely than average (10%) to disapprove were National Party supporters (28%), people living in Taranaki or Manawatu-Wanganui (18%) and men aged over 55 (16%).

Simon Bridges’ approval rating at sat at -40, from -22 in October.

When asked if they approved or disapproved of the way Mr Bridges was handling his job as leader of the National Party, 22% of those polled approved and 63% disapproved. This is compared to 29% approving last October and 51% disapproving.

Those more likely than average to approve of how Mr Bridges was handling his job were National Party supporters, men aged 55 and over and Asian New Zealanders.

Those more likely than average to disapprove were Labour Party supporters, households with an annual income of more than $150,000, women aged 55 and over and New Zealand Europeans.

Mr Bridges said the results of the 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton were not surprising.

"We’ve seen this the world over in response to Covid where the Government gets a bounce and there's a situation where we've had wall-to-wall coverage of the Government and the PM."

He called the leadership challenge a "distraction".

"We will resolve that quickly and that means we can get back to the things that matter for New Zealanders. 

"National’s got the team, the track record to deal with that. Once we’re through the leadership contest, we’ll be looking to do that decisively."

Mr Bridges said he would not step down – "I’m very confident tomorrow, but these are now things for the caucus."

Ms Ardern was unavailable to comment on the poll.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the poll results were "a reflection of the effort of the whole of New Zealand" amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I think Jacinda Ardern has shown extraordinary leadership throughout this period and New Zealanders are recognising that.

"We’re a long way from the election and there's no point in taking anything for granted, we've been working hard alongside all New Zealanders in getting on top of the virus, our job now is to rebuild the economy together and we’ll keep focused on that."

Between May 16 to 20, 2020, 1003 eligible voters were polled by landline (402) and mobile phone (601). The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95% confidence level.

The data has been weighted to align with Stats NZ population counts for age, gender, region, ethnic identification and mobile or landline access.