Down but not out – Bridges can take heart from Jim Bolger’s poll experience

Much  excitement  is frothing among the  leftish  commentary  at the  poll rating  for  National leader Simon Bridges,  down to  7%   in the latest Colmar Brunton  sample.   Can  he  last   at this  level?

Not   easy,  but then the  party’s  level  at   43%   is still  remarkably strong,  given  the   extraordinary events  that were taking place   even as the pollsters  were  making their calls.

Even  though the  ambitions  of   some  behind  Bridges    are  palpable,  they  are  hardly  likely  to  risk calling  for a  no-confidence   vote  at this point.

Those  with longer  memories recall   how  in  the  run-up  to the   1990 election,  Jim Bolger  polled  as  low  as   6%  before   he emerged   triumphant.    In that  period   it  was  a  charismatic  young  Winston Peters   who was   making all  the  running for   National,  polling as high as  19%.

Those were  the  days  when Peters  was  talking  of  a   “chronic lack of political  leadership”   in  NZ.

“New Zealanders  are  searching for effective political  leadership…The polls suggest that has not been found. Where  is the vision?  Where  are  the policies  designed to  achieve that vision?”

 Familiar   questions:    and the   answers  are  just as  hard  for Peters to  find  now, as  they  were  then,  nearly  30  years  ago.

So   Bridges  can  take a   bit of  heart  from  the  example of  Jim  Bolger,  who  toughed it  out  in the  face of  adversity  and  ran  an administration  which- for all  its  faults –  produced   a  burst  of  economic  growth  which has  not been equalled  since.





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