Newshub-Reid Research: Kiwis polled on Simon Bridges and Jacinda Ardern's performance

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll has revealed New Zealanders' thoughts on Simon Bridges and Jacinda Ardern's performance - and the Prime Minister is still ahead. 

The poll found that 63.3 percent of New Zealanders think Ardern is performing well - up 0.9 percentage points; while 22.4 percent think she's performing poorly - down 0.7 percentage points. 

The results also show 26.1 percent of New Zealanders think Bridges is performing well - up 2.2 percentage points; while 50.6 percent think he's performing poorly - down 2.1 percentage points. 

Duncan Garner revealed the results on The AM Show on Wednesday. 

"I actually wonder if that's a bit harsh," he said, reflecting on the Opposition leader's poll results. "I think he's really improved."

Garner said he is "not overly surprised by those numbers" because the platform of being Prime Minister "gives you that popularity". 

"When you're in Opposition, the struggle is to get through to those preferred rankings and to show people that you're performing well. It's always been a struggle for the Opposition leader to shine, hasn't it?"

Newshub's political editor Tova O'Brien responded: "Absolutely. I think it's universally acknowledged within Parliament that being leader of the Opposition is the hardest job in politics."

O'Brien said Ardern is also a "very different leader" from Simon Bridges.

"We've seen that in the preferred Prime Minister rankings right the way through with every poll that looks at their personal numbers," she said. 

"But I think both of the leaders will be heartened by these figures. For Simon Bridges, just the very fact that the numbers are starting to turn up for him, his preferred Prime Minister numbers were also up for the first time in double digits.

"Jacinda Ardern and the Labour Party will also be heartened by this because they see it as a reflection of a positive mood in the country.

"In their internal polling, they look at how the country feels the Government is performing, and if it seems the Government is performing well and the country's going in the right direction, then the Labour Party feels that's a good environment for positive campaigning."

Jacinda Ardern used her first speech of the year to call for a "factual" election campaign and promised to make it "positive" - a pledge Simon Bridges has also made

Garner asked O'Brien about her thoughts on Bridges as leader of the National Party. 

Some National MPs told Newshub in April 2019 they were not pleased with their leader's handling of the Jami-Lee Ross saga, the "emotional junior staffer" issue, and 'slushy-gate', among others.

Newshub was also told at the time that numbers were firming for National MP Judith Collins to take on the leadership role - a position she has previously bid for. 

"The agitation that was going on with within the National Party caucus early last year, it wasn't made up - it was very real," O'Brien said. "A lot of MPs were talking about trying to get him out of that leadership role."

But she said Bridges "managed to hold strong". 

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll showed Simon Bridges on 10.6 percent as preferred Prime Minister compared to Jacinda Ardern on 38.7 percent. 

In terms of political party popularity, National is on 43.3 percent compared to Labour on 42.5 percent, while the Greens are on 5.6 percent. 

They are the only parties that would cross the 5 percent threshold, according to the poll, with New Zealand First on 3.6 percent. 

The general election will be held on September 19. 

The Newshub-Reid Research poll was conducted between January 23 and February 1 with a sample size of 1000 eligible voters and a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.