Newshub-Reid Research poll: Simon Bridges isn't ruling out another tilt at National leadership - and he's got public's support

Simon Bridges isn't ruling out another tilt at the National Party leadership, instead only repeating - ad nauseum - that it's not his intention at this time.

And the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll shows that if his intentions happen to change, he has the public and his party on board.

"It's not my intention," Bridges told Newshub repeatedly on Monday when asked if he's going to make a tilt for the National Party leadership. 

But as the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. 

When asked if there's a snowflake's chance in hell he could be National Party leader before Christmas, Bridges said: "Well, I've answered that."

Newshub has been told National MPs are conflicted about whether to roll the current leader Judith Collins this year or next.

"I've made clear what I think," Bridges said, when asked if there is any chance of a coup this year.  

While Bridges smiled through the questions, Collins was steely. When asked why more New Zealanders want Bridges as leader than her, she replied: "Well, I don't think they do."

But they do. 

The latest Newshub-Reid Research poll asked: "If it was down to Judith Collins or Simon Bridges, who would you pick to lead the National Party?"

Bridges has the endorsement, with 40.7 percent support, compared to Collins with just 23.2 percent. The rest, 36.1 percent, didn't know. 

And National voters - where it matters - also back Bridges by a smidge at 41.8 percent, compared to Collins on 39.9 percent. The fact 18.3 percent of National voters don't know isn't great news for either team.

"That's very flattering," Bridges told Newshub. "I hope at the end of the day I'm a bit older and maybe possibly a bit wiser than I was when I was leader of the Opposition."

If it looks like a pitch and it sounds like a pitch... 

"National's at it's best when it's focused on New Zealanders and that's what I want to do, and I'm sure that's what the leader at this time is seeking to do as well," Bridges said. 

At this time?

"Don't over-analyse these things," he added.  

Collins, when told National voters prefer Bridges to her as leader, said: "No, that won't be happening."

Newshub asked her if Bridges should rule out a run.

"Any discussions I have will be with Simon, not with you."

Collins might have better luck getting an answer.

"It's not my intention," Bridges said.

He wouldn't rule it out. 

The Newshub-Reid Research poll was conducted between 10-17 November with a margin of error of 3.1 percent.