New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s party raced ahead of rivals in the latest opinion poll, putting the charismatic 40-year-old leader on track for a comfortable victory in the elections in September.
A Newshub-Reid Research Poll released late on Sunday showed the popularity of Ardern’s Labour Party rose to 60.9%, the highest it has been in the poll’s history.
The popularity of the main opposition National Party, which has been embroiled in a series of scandals and leadership changes, plunged to 25.1%.
According to the survey the Labour Party, which is now in a coalition with the Greens and the nationalist New Zealand First party, would win 77 of 120 seats in parliament. This means Labour would be able to govern without a coalition partner.
Ardern’s own popularity as preferred prime minister was sky high at 62%, while the National Party’s newly elected 61-year-old leader Judith Collins stood at just 14.6%.
Ardern has consistently polled ahead of her rivals and her popularity has risen further this year as she won global praise for her leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country of 5 million people has had just 1,206 COVID-19 cases so far, and 22 deaths.
Ardern’s stratospheric rise in 2017 to become New Zealand’s youngest prime minister and third woman to hold the office has been dubbed “Jacinda-mania” by some.
“I would like to think the message we can take from this is the general support for the government’s COVID-19 recovery and response plan,” Ardern told Newshub on Monday in response to the survey.
National Party campaign chairman Gerry Brownlee said the poll is a “rogue”.
Source – News agencies