Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s approval rating has dropped in the latest 1News Kantar Public Poll, while new National leader Christopher Luxon’s first rating has edged him ahead.
It is the first time an Opposition leader has scored higher than the Prime Minister since the poll began asking approval ratings in 2019.
Approval ratings are calculated by the number of people who approve, minus the amount of people who disapprove of the way the politician was handling their job. Internationally, US President Joe Biden is on -15 and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on -52.
Jacinda Ardern: +15
Those polled were asked if they approved or disapproved of the way Ardern was handling her job as Prime Minister.
Fifty-two per cent approved, 37% disapproved and 11% did not know or refused to answer, giving her an approval rating of +15.
She was on +55 in October 2020, +51 for September 2020, +76 for May 2020 and +33 for October 2019.
The January 2022 result was Ardern's lowest approval rating.
Ardern told 1News that "when I reflect on the last six months, it has been a really hard period for New Zealand and we have had to make some really hard decisions, but those are still decisions I absolutely stand by… that ultimately means we're on the best possible footing to take on this next wave".
"I still feel really confident knowing that people know we've made those tough decisions for all the right reasons... Yes, that will have an impact on things like polls. It doesn't change the decisions we've made the importance of them and how well they've served New Zealand."
The groups of people who were more likely than average to approve of the way Ardern was handling her job was Labour supporters and Wellingtonians. Those who were more likely than average to disapprove were ACT and National supporters, people with a greater annual household income than $100,000 and New Zealand Europeans.
Christopher Luxon: +22
Those polled were asked if they approved or disapproved of the way Luxon was handling his job as National leader.
Forty-two per cent approved, 20% disapproved and 37% did not know or refused to answer. It gave Luxon an approval rating of +22.
The high 'don't know/refused to answer' result indicated Luxon had work to do to ensure he would be recognised by voters. Former leader Todd Muller's 'don't know/refused to answer' approval rating result was also 37%.
Compared to other National leaders, Judith Collins received +27 when she first came in as leader in Jul 2020, before plunging to -31 in November 2021. Todd Muller received +10 in June 2020, after taking over from Simon Bridges who got -40 in May 2020 and -22 in October 2019.
Of the 1News Kantar Public Poll results, Luxon said he does not "think too deeply about it".
"I'm just trying...to be me and just do my job and my job is to lead the National Party, to get it playing as a team."
The groups of people who were more likely than average to approve of the way he was handling his job were National and ACT supporters, people with a greater annual household income than $100,000, men aged 35-54 and Asian New Zealanders.
Those who were more likely than average to disapprove were Green and Labour supporters, and people with a household income up to $30,000.
Between January 22 to 26, 2022, 1000 eligible voters were polled by mobile phone (500) and online (500). 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, education level and ethnic identification. The sample for mobile phones is selected by random dialling using probability sampling, and the online sample is collected using an online panel.