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Prime Minister John Key was a more popular public figure in 2012 than World Cup-winning All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, according to a nationwide survey.
As part of a 10-month survey by sport and entertainment research group, Gemba, New Zealanders were asked to name, unprompted, their favourite domestic "celebrity".
Key was the first name mentioned by 2.3 per cent of Kiwis, slightly ahead of McCaw who was named by 2.2 per cent.
The result comes after a difficult year for Key which saw the continuation of the infamous "teapot tape" affair, reportedly telling a group of students David Beckham was "thick as batshit", criticising a radio DJ for wearing a "gay" red shirt and allegations that the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau illegally spied on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom in the run-up to his arrest.
However, Key did not top the poll with the All Blacks receiving 3.3 per cent of the vote.
Predictably, the All Blacks were also New Zealand's favourite team of 2012, receiving 28.6 per cent of the team category vote, ahead of the New Zealand Warriors (3.3 per cent) and the Crusaders (3 per cent).
Gemba surveys more than 12,000 New Zealanders a year.
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