Labour leader David Shearer's tough line on rival David Cunliffe, combined with a new housing policy, has boosted his party's support, according to two new polls, with one putting a Centre- Left bloc on track to oust the Key Government.
A One News-Colmar Brunton poll, taken a week after Mr Cunliffe's demotion to the backbenches for disloyalty, saw Labour's party vote lift three percentage points to 35 per cent, with the Greens up one on 13 per cent.
That would give Labour and the Greens the numbers to govern alone.
National was down one on 44 per cent, and NZ First slipped below the 5 per cent threshold to 4 per cent.
Labour received an even bigger boost in the electorate vote, up six points since the previous poll in late October, taking it to to 44 per cent - one point ahead of National on 43 per cent.
The focus on Mr Shearer appears to have also helped his personal ratings too, and he was up 4 points to 15 per cent as preferred prime minister.
John Key slid three to 39 per cent - the first time for four years the prime minister's rating has slipped below 40 per cent. NZ First leader Winston Peters was steady on 6 per cent.
The poll of 1000 had a margin of error of 3.1 per cent.
It was taken between November 24 and 28, the week after Labour's annual conference exposed divisions in the party but also after Mr Shearer's widely-praised keynote address.
Meanwhile, a TV3-Reid Research poll, also released yesterday, showed Labour on the rise at 34.6 per cent, up 1.6 percentage points. The Greens improved 1.3 to 12.9 per cent, while National was down 1.8 at 47 per cent.
With NZ First on just 2 per cent in the TV3 poll, the Maori Party would probably hold the balance of power if it retained its three seats.
Mr Key was at his lowest ebb in the preferred prime minister stakes, at 37.4 per cent against 12.6 per cent for Mr Shearer.
Mr Key said he had made some tough calls that had implications for some people. He tipped it would be a tight race in the 2014 election.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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