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National MPs face difficult leadership choices

February 23, 1018
Media release
Horizon Research

National MPs face difficult leadership choices

Judith Collins ... most National voter appeal, but not with wider public
National MPs face a difficult choice on who should lead the party.

A February 20-21 nationwide Horizon Research survey of 1,059 adults finds Amy Adams has broadest appeal overall, but Judith Collins is favoured by those who voted National at the 2017 general election.

When National MPs vote on Tuesday February 27, 2018, on who replaces Bill English, they need to consider that:

• There are differing views on preferred leader from those who cast their party vote for the National Party in 2017 and those who say they would vote for the National Party if an election were to be held “tomorrow”.
• Younger National Party voters (under 35 years), older National Party voters (65 years or over) and those in between have differing preferred leaders.
• Male and female national party voters have different preferences for leader.
• If a consideration is for the new leader to appeal to voters for other parties, then National Party voters may need to consider a leader who is not their first preference.
Past and current voters

Horizon's survey asked “If you were in the National Party parliamentary caucus, which of these Members of Parliament would you vote for as Leader of the National Party?”

3 candidates were more prominent for National Party voters – past and present. For those who voted for the National Party in 2017, Judith Collins has the highest preference, but not with those who said they would vote for the National Party if an election were to be held “tomorrow”: they rank Mark Mitchell marginally ahead.

Collins was also more polarising than any other candidate: asked to rank the candidates in order of preference, 28% of 2017 National Party voters ranked Collins in first place but 36% ranked her in last place.

Steven Joyce was the second most popular choice for leader among those who voted for the National Party in 2017 but was in third place behind Mitchell and Collins among those who would currently vote for the National Party.
Mark Mitchell was third choice for past voters but first choice for current National Party voters.

Differences by respondent age

Among those who voted for the National Party in 2017:

• Younger people (under 35 years) had a preference for Mark Mitchell.
• Those aged 35 to 54 years preferred Judith Collins.
• Those aged 55 years or over preferred Steven Joyce.
• Amy Adams’ appeal was more to those under 35 years.
• Simon Bridges had slightly more even appeal across the age groups but at a generally lower level.

Among those who say they would vote for the National Party if an election were to be held tomorrow:

• Those under 25 years prefer Amy Adams.
• Those 25-54 years prefer Mark Mitchell and he was second choice for those under 25 years.
• Those aged 55 years or over prefer Steven Joyce.
• Judith Collins’ appeal is more among 35-54 year olds and those aged 65 years or over.
• Simon Bridges’ appeal is more among 25-34 year olds, where he was second choice, and with 35-44 year olds.

Male and Female voters

Among those who cast their party vote for the National party in 2017:

• Males preferred Steven Joyce, with Judith Collins in second place.
• Females strongly preferred Judith Collins.

Among those who said they would vote for the National party in a general election held “tomorrow”:

• Males preferred Mark Mitchell.
• Females preferred Judith Collins.

Voters for other parties

Amy Adams had most appeal as leader of the National Party among all respondents in the survey. She also has more appeal than other candidates among those who voted for parties other than National in 2017 or who would vote for other parties if an election were to be held tomorrow.

Indications are that voters for ACT New Zealand have a strong preference for Judith Collins as National Party leader.

2017 New Zealand First voters also seemed to have a preference for Judith Collins, but among those who say they would vote for New Zealand First in an election “tomorrow”, the preference was for Mark Mitchell.

At a 95% confidence level, the survey has a maximum margin of error overall of +/- 3%.

The survey was not client-commissioned and was conducted by Horizon in the public interest.

Results of the last National leadership poll, taken when John Key resigned, are here.

The National Business Review is covering this poll result.

You're welcome to make comments on this survey at our Facebook page - and to make sure you're heard on important issues by joining the HorizonPoll panel.


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