Poll results: International media reports shock at Jacinda Ardern, Labour falling in support

  • 11/03/2022

The latest television poll showing Labour as less popular than National is being described as a "shock" overseas, with international media picking up that the Prime Minister has seen her personal rating fall.

The 1News-Kantar Public Poll released on Thursday night showed more Kiwis are in favour of National (39 percent) than Labour (37 percent), the first time the centre-right party has taken the lead in more than two years. National was up 7 points and Labour down 3 points.

Jacinda Ardern has also seen a shift in her preferred Prime Minister rating. At 34 percent, she was down just a single point and still above National's Christopher Luxon (25 percent), but it's the lowest result for Ardern since she became Prime Minister.

That's not been lost on some international media carrying the story on Friday.

Bloomberg reported the results with the headline: "New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Slides to Lowest Poll Rating Since Taking Office".

The article noted the poll was taken against a backdrop of spiralling COVID-19 cases and the largest jump in inflation in three decades. It was also said that National had become "more settled" in recent months following the accession of Luxon to the leadership role.

A number of outlets used Australian Associated Press copy, but some framed their articles with different headlines.

7News, Yahoo News, and some Australian newspapers went with the standard: "Ardern's Labour falls behind in NZ polling".

The typically sensationalist Daily Mail, however, went a step further.

"Two reasons why furious New Zealanders are turning against Jacinda Ardern as she suffers a HUGE poll shock with voter support plummeting to the lowest since she took office - and a new challenger for PM emerges," the headline screamed out.

The story also began by highlighting Ardern's Labour had fallen from its top spot for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Ardern's initial handling of the pandemic and New Zealand's internationally heralded response to the first waves led Labour to a historic majority election victory in 2020.

Similarly to Bloomberg, the AAP copy said New Zealanders are facing "significant tumult" due to the Omicron outbreak and inflation. The protest at Parliament that ended in chaos earlier this month was also mentioned.

La Prensa Latina, a Latin American media outlet based in Memphis, Tennessee, also covered the poll.

"These are the lowest levels since coming to power in 2017 for both the Labour Party and Ardern, who made history by sweeping the 2020 elections and securing an absolute majority for the first time since the 1996 electoral reform," the outlet reported.

It also said that the poll came as New Zealand was starting to reopen to the world after more than two years of its borders being closed.

Ardern was reported by 1News on Thursday as acknowledging that it is a "really tough" period for Kiwis and that the Government is responding to cost of living concerns through several initiatives coming into effect in April and May.

On AM on Friday morning, Labour minister Michael Wood also said the Government is dealing with tough issues.

"Yes, pressure's on the cost of living, driven by international factors and it's not a big surprise to see a little bit of a reflection there.

"But I think… what this reflects is that we are in a tight political environment, most MMP elections are, but of course, we are also a long way out [from the election]."