We thought that Thursday's Roy Morgan poll would be the last for July, but we were wrong. The latest Herald Digipoll is out this morning. And it merely confirms all the other polls which have emerged in Labour's Winter of Discontent. The Herald reports:
Voters prefer Labour's remedy for the economy over National's, according to the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey - but they still don't like the doctor.
A slip in support for Labour has given Labour leader Phil Goff a massive challenge to make up ground four months out from the election.
In the latest survey, Mr Goff has again dropped back into the single digits as preferred Prime Minister - down to 9 per cent, from 12 per cent last month. He remained well behind Prime Minister John Key, who stayed steady on 70 per cent.
Among decided voters, the Labour Party also dropped three points to 33 per cent despite relatively strong approval of its new capital gains tax policy.
National increased its support slightly to 52, despite substantial opposition to its plans for partial sales of some state-owned enterprises, including among its own supporters.
Oh dear; three polls now where polling has taken place entirely after the release of Labour's game-changer, and Labour has lost support in each and every one of them.
And the message that this poll is giving is clear; the public does NOT want a Phil Goff-led Labour government. Goff himself can't even shake off the shadow of his predecessor; read on:
The slump for Mr Goff reversed several months of slight improvements in his personal rankings from 8 per cent in October. To rub salt into the wound, his predecessor, Helen Clark, also gained ground by two points to reach 8 per cent after steadily dropping since she left office.
And Goff himself cops a flogging from the member of the expert panel commenting on this poll:
Jon Johansson, a politics lecturer at Victoria University, said the poll showed that even when Labour had ideas that met with public approval the voters were not receptive to the "current messenger."
"There's no hiding the fact that the public are not responding to a Phil Goff-led Labour."
Mr Johansson said Mr Goff needed to give up on a head-to-head popularity contest with Mr Key and let other caucus members take a greater role.
"They really need to run a campaign that de-emphasises leadership because so long as the overriding comparison in voters' minds is Key versus Goff, that is not good for Labour.
"At the moment it's a straight out popularity contest that Goff has lost. There is nothing Goff can personally do to change on the back of a 30-year narrative in politics."
Jon Johansson is dead right. Phil Goff entered Parliament in 1981, and apart from a brief hiatus between 1990 and 1993, has been there ever since. He is yesterday's man, not Labour's hope for the future. We suspect that this weekend, there will be an increasing body within Phil Goff's caucus which is thinking of survival. Parliament resumes on Tuesday for its second-last sitting of the current term, and a quick, bloodless coup at caucus would give the new leadership team three weeks in the spotlight.
But who? We're tipping a Parker/Street pairing, which will appeal to most factions within the party, except perhaps Damien O'Connor's self-serving unionists. All that remains is to see whether there is a will within Labour's caucus to get the phone back on the hook.