OPINION: Trends matter in polls and the trend in our Newshub Reid-Research Poll since Simon Bridges became leader of the National Party has headed in only one direction - south.
Not just his preferred Prime Minister rating, which is increasingly non-existent, but the party vote too - Bridges is taking National down with him.
Until last night's results, he'd managed to keep National in the 40s. According to his MPs the four in front of the party vote was critical - it was the stay of political execution.
- Simon Bridges reveals his line of attack against Jacinda Ardern
- Judith Collins outstrips Simon Bridges as preferred Prime Minister
- National nosedives into dreaded 30s, could trigger leadership coup
If National headed into the dreaded 30s, that's when a bunch of MPs unhappy with his leadership told us they would make moves, or at least seriously rethink whether Bridges is the right man for the job.
I'm not talking about staunch Team Collins MPs either. These are your everyday, hardworking National MPs, genuinely concerned about the party and the prospect of another three long years in Opposition.
Well it's happened, it's there. National's plunged deep into the dirty-thirties on 37.4 percent and MPs are agitated and agitating - again.
Voters simply do not like Simon Bridges and it's starting to hurt National. This isn't my narrative or Newshub's narrative as Paula Bennett claimed on The AM Show this morning.
This is a sample of 1000 New Zealanders in the most representative and accurate poll in the country - based on the 2017 election results. It's how voters feel and how they would vote at that moment in time.
Leaving aside the trends our poll is an accurate snapshot of the political mood of the country.
Bridges simply cannot shake questions about his leadership from within his own party and from voters - and that's self-fulfilling.
As Judith Collins told us, every time the party talks about itself, it goes down in people's eyes.
But unless Bridges can turn his fortunes and the fortunes of his party around, National won't stop talking about itself.
MPs won't stop questioning the leadership and they won't be able to convince voters they're an effective opposition - but it could help them get another three years on the opposition benches to work on it.
The rot has set in and as the old saying goes, 'the fish rots from the head down' - MPs and National supporters will now be looking to lop off the head to prevent the contamination from spreading.