Jacinda Ardern is the most popular New Zealand prime minister in a century, new public polling has revealed.
Ardern’s popularity has surged 20.8 percentage points among voters to a high of 59.5 per cent, a figure that indicates strong support for her response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Zealand’s Labour Party, led by Ardern, has also skyrocketed in popularity, rising 14 percentage points to 56.5 per cent approval. It’s the highest rating any political party has ever achieved in the history of the Newshub-Reid Research Poll.
According to the poll, the Labour party would win a strong majority if these results are replicated at the next election. The party would win 72 seats and could govern without coalition partners.
The Newshub-Reid Research Poll was conducted between 8-16 May, taking into account public sentiment in the final days of the level three lock down. Half of the responses were taken after the budget was announced.
92 per cent approved of the strict lock down measures Ardern had put in place to curb the spread of the virus.
“It speaks to the work we’ve jointly done,” Ardern told Newshub. “I just happen to have had the humble and privileged opportunity to be leading at this time.”
In recent months Ardern’s leadership has been lauded internationally. Her response to COVID-19 has been labelled “a masterclass in crisis leadership.”
Newshub’s political editor Tova O’Brien wrote, “This is the voter’s verdict on the Prime Minister’s handling of COVID-19. It doesn’t get much more emphatic than that.”
Conversely, National party leader Simon Bridges popularity has plummeted. His party has dropped 12.7 points in approval, down to just 30.6 per cent. Newshub is reporting that two National MPs are looking to challenge Bridges for the leadership of the party.
New Zealand’s next general election is scheduled for September 19.