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Key high in polls despite GCSB drama

Sunday 21 Apr 2013 5:02 p.m.

If an election were held today, National could govern alone.

The latest 3 News/Reid Research poll shows the ongoing political controversy involving the Prime Minister's spy agency has done little to damage his government's popularity.

Mr Key's been under sustained pressure. It's been all about Kim Dotcom and illegal spying again, chasing him at home and abroad, in China.

But it doesn't matter, because on this poll National is still on top and could govern alone.

"I think it's a pleasing result," says Mr Key.

Mr Key dismisses it all as a Labour attack on him.

"They see me as inextricably with National, so that's the plan. I think what the poll shows is that a lot of New Zealanders have seen through that."

But Mr Key's polling as preferred Prime Minister has taken a hit – down to 37.6 percent, a drop of 3.4 percent – the second lowest it's been.

Labour Party leader David Shearer is stuck on 10 percent, and claims Mr Key's drop says a lot.

"I think people are losing confidence in him being able to run the country," says Mr Shearer. "And this has shown up by the debacle around our intelligence agencies."

On performance, those who think Mr Key is performing well are down 1.5 percent. And those who think he's performing poorly are up – quite a lot actually – 6.4 percent.

But those who think Mr Shearer was performing well were down too, and more people think he's performing poorly.

Mr Key says he, and National, still have it.

"I think what we think when you contrast that with a far left Labour-Greens government, it's a bit of a no-brainer," says Mr Key.

"John Key is just talking out his mouth," says Mr Shearer. "I don't think anybody really listens to his politicking."

This first big, joint Labour-Greens announcement on power prices came just as this poll closed. It was hugely symbolic. If it isn't National, the alternative is a Labour-Greens government.

"I think it would look good," says Green Party co-leader Russel Norman. "We can't really go into the details of who is going to get what and that sort of stuff – a long way to go."

But by the way both sides are going at it, the election doesn't seem far away at all.

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