OPINION: The latest Fairfax Media-Ipsos poll leaves no room for doubt over why David Shearer had to go.
When we asked voters if it was time for Labour to cut Shearer loose and replace him with someone else, 46.6 per cent said yes.
But the most damning finding from our poll was the number of Labour voters who also thought it was time to replace Shearer. That figure was 39.6 per cent - only marginally less than the number of Labour voters who thought he should stay, at 47.2 per cent.
With his own party that divided over the leadership, it was only a matter of time before Shearer realised he could not carry Labour to an election victory.
We also asked voters to tell us why they thought Shearer was not up to it - and some of the comments would make you wince.
Here is a taste of what people were saying - and an important point to remember here is that these are Labour supporters, not National ones.
"Basically there's not a lot of trust in him."
"I think they need someone stronger that will be able to speak better than he does."
"Because I have heard stories about David Shearer, because he is useless, he needs to go, bring in a new leader of that party and then I am going to vote for Labour."
"He hasn't been prominent - he is not seen as a strong leader."
"He is an intelligent man but not ruthless enough for the cut and thrust of government."
"He puts people off voting because he doesn't appeal to people."
The bad news for Shearer is that what Labour voters were telling our pollsters pretty much reflected what Shearers' MPs were saying among themselves.
Growing disgruntlement over his lack of political nous is understood to have come to a head about the time of the so-called "man ban" which pitched Shearer against the so-called "identity politics" faction of the Labour Party.
Fairfax has been told that former party presidents Maryan Street and Ruth Dyson played a pivotal role in rallying MPs who were dissatisfied with his leadership.
Several former Shearer loyalists are understood to have joined a growing list of MPs who had lost confidence in his leadership.
When it became increasingly likely he would face a no-confidence motion at the next Labour caucus senior MPs approached Shearer and told him he would lose if it came down to a vote.
But the issue came to a head this week after Shearer was outmanoeuvred by Prime Minister John Key over the GCSB legislation, and an attempted stunt with dead snapper backfired badly.
Shearer is understood to have taken soundings from senior MPs last night and made his decision to go.
MPs are understood to have got just one hour's notice by text of a caucus meeting where Shearer announced his decision to step down.
In the anatomy of Shearer's rise and fall, it seems clear he faced two big problems.
He was catapulted into the leadership too soon, largely as a result of manoeuvring by caucus members to put up an alternative to former finance spokesman David Cunliffe. Cunliffe has a chunk of support within the caucus and wider party.
And that was Shearer's second problem; Cunliffe was an ever-present threat in the background, meaning his leadership was always in question.
As Julia Gillard across the Tasman found, that is a deeply uncomfortable place to be.
There is still a big question mark over whether Cunliffe can win a leadership contest, however.
There is an equally big question mark over whether the party will want another divisive leadership runoff, or whether a deal will be done to avoid more blood on the floor.
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