Judith Collins was National's last ditch desperate attempt to crush the cult of Jacinda Ardern and save the National Party - she was the nuclear option, and it's failing.
Two things to note here:
- Collins won't be rolled like Simon Bridges - it's too risky so close to the election and she's still the party's best chance right now.
- Desperation and disaster can invite chaos - this poll puts National and Collins' backs against the wall.
How they react will be everything - attempt to rebuild trust with the public or freak out and lash out.
But this thrashing is not entirely Collins' fault. The poll was conducted soon after she took over the leadership at a time when the party was beset by scandal, resignations and crises. 'Ngāti Epsom', COVID-19 patient leaks, an MP sacked, misinformation and incompetence.
High-profile senior MPs resigned, chalking up the mass-exodus of National MPs this term.
Then came Andrew Falloon and his filthy texts to a teenager.
That's the state of the National Party Collins inherited.
Our performance numbers offer an insight into how voters differentiate between the leaders and their parties.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern continues to ride high - 85.3 percent of New Zealanders think she's performing well, and very few think she's performing poorly - 8.2 percent.
This measure was always really telling in terms of how much people despised Simon Bridges.
Just 21.6 percent of people thought he was performing well in our last poll. That's shot up for Collins to 39.5 percent.
Voters think she's so much more onto it.
Likewise, 59.5 percent of voters thought Bridges was performing poorly. That's halved for Collins - just 30.8 percent think she's not performing well.
So, although she's not the panacea for the party - far from it - it's not entirely her fault.
But regardless, ultimately the captain has to take responsibility.
People may have despised Bridges but he kept the party numbers strong. People like Collins more, but if she can't lift those party numbers, don't even bother showing up to work. Her leadership will be short-lived.
National has to get its proverbial together if it doesn't want to face a humiliating defeat at the polls in 55 days' time - and yet another leadership contest.
Five leaders in three years would be even harder to cauterize - the death spiral of National has taken hold.
Tova O'Brien is Newshub's political editor.
The latest Newshub-Reid Research Poll was conducted between 16-24 July 2020. One thousand people were surveyed, 700 by telephone including both landlines and mobiles and 300 by internet panel. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.