The accumulated baggage has tarnished National a little – but not much.
On Thursday night’s Colmar Brunton poll it’s at 44 per cent – that’s still doing better than any other government in modern times.
But it’s enough of a drop still to put the wind up the party’s skirts – as one National MP indelicately put it on Thursday after the poll landed.
National no longer feels bullet proof.
It is facing an opponent that has all the qualities that carried National’s former leader John Key through three elections.
New Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has that same easy rapport with voters – self-deprecating wit and ability to think fast on her feet that worked to such devastating effect for Key against a tired-looking Helen Clark on the campaign trail in 2008.
Key’s shock decision to step down in 2016 was supposed to be about stamping a fresh face on the National leadership to counter any mood for change.
English was the ‘fresh but not fresh’ option – a new face at the top without Key’s baggage.
But installing English – even with his gravitas and huge credibility with voters as the safe pair of hands on the economy – carried its own risk that he could look just as tired and out of ideas as Clark did nine years ago.
The Green Party and New Zealand First are down by half in the second poll since Jacinda Arden took over as Labour leader.
The latest UMR poll puts Labour up 13 points to 36 percent while the Greens have slid to 8 percent from 15.
The poll has National on 43 percent – up from 42 and New Zealand First on 8 percent – down from 16.
The results follow the Newshub / Reid Research poll out last night which put Labour up nine points to 33 percent since Ms Ardern took over as leader and the Greens down more than four points to 8 percent.
It had National down slightly to 44 percent – the lowest it has registered in this poll in the past 10 years – and New Zealand First was down more than three points to 9 percent.
Both polls were taken before Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei’s resignation.
Stephen Mills from UMR – which does polling for Labour – told Morning Report its latest survey was completed on Sunday night so also didn’t capture the withdrawal of Green MPs Kennedy Graham and David Clendon from the party’s caucus.
Mr Mills said in addition to taking votes from the Greens and New Zealand First Ms Ardern had likely taken some younger female support from National.
Even voters who bought into Trump’s reputation as tough-talking deal-maker are starting to glimpse the truth.
All of these numbers are dismal for the president.
The big question is the reasoning behind it.
It’s not so much that people disagree on issues – which isn’t all that surprising since Trump is all over the map on those.
Sixty-five percent of people who disapprove of his performance in office say it’s because of his character – personality and competency – specifically criticizing his bad temperament – arrogance – obnoxiousness – lack of experience – selfishness – racism and sexism – lack of knowledge – wishy-washiness and use of social media.
The May budget did a bit for National – but not enough to keep it safely clear of needing Winston Peters for a fourth term in government.
Across the parliamentary aisle Labour dropped from 29.4% in May to 26.5% in June – perilously close to its disastrous 2014 election score and just about exactly where it was at the end of 2016.
That 26.9% would give it just 33 seats only one more than now.
With the Greens on 15 seats (12.4% poll average – very similar to its 11.9% in May) – the Labour-Green combined ticket would have 48 seats – eight short of National’s.