Bill English top of preferred PM rankings, but National drops in latest poll
Prime Minister Bill English has picked up where John Key left off in terms of popularity with Kiwi voters, according to a new poll.
However, National could still face a challenge to hold onto office at this year's election, with the party's vote dropping four per cent and NZ First holding the balance of power.
English, who took over as Prime Minister last December after Key's shock resignation, has gone straight to the top of preferred prime minister rankings in the latest 1 News/Colmar Brunton poll.
English is on 31 per cent - roughly comparable with Key's 36 per cent figure the month before he stepped down.
NZ First leader Winston Peters is in second place on eight per cent, with Labour leader Andrew Little in third on seven per cent.
It appears Kiwi voters have moved on from Key, despite his eight years at the top - he was down to two per cent in the preferred PM rankings.
However, National dropped four points to 46 per cent, with Labour rising by two points to 30 per cent and left-wing partner the Greens steady on 11 per cent.
The figures mean NZ First, on 11 per cent, would hold the balance of power on September 23 if nothing changed.
English's personal polling comes despite Labour criticising him for a lack of leadership regarding US President Donald Trump and his decision to skip Waitangi commemorations.
Little enjoyed a strong start to the year with the joint Labour/Greens state of the nation address, before stumbling into controversy over his decision to shoulder-tap broadcaster Willie Jackson for a high list placing.
The 1 News/Colmar Brunton poll surveyed Kiwis between February 11 and February 15.
Fifteen per cent of voters were unsure which party they supported, or declined to answer.