The Press ran a story today in which they claim that:
Labour polling conducted by UMR Insight, excerpts of which were leaked to The Press, show that while National was ahead by a healthy margin, voters were increasingly critical of Key.
Labour’s poll, which asked people their opinions of Key, showed 64 per cent of respondents believed he was simply “telling people what they want to hear”, up from 50 per cent in February.
Some 46 per cent said the National leader “dodges the hard questions”, up from 29 per cent in Labour’s previous poll.
Bill English, the more experienced politician, can see that Key’s credibility is suffering and seems to be doing what he can to mitigate damage to the National Party by protraying a leadership team in which he does the heavy lifting.
English: “I’m a stayer, he’s a sprinter. I grind away, John just bounces from one cloud to another.” (North and South, August 2007)
English: “John articulates a confident and aspirational view about the future, I focus on putting together the numbers and the programme”. (NZ Herald, 19 Jun 2007)
English: “The other reason [the Key English team]. works is that we complement each other. John Key is a terrific marketer., and I’ve got the experience of government and policy.” (Investigate, February 2007)
The problem with Bill’s approach is that in revealing the truth about Key it reinforces our notion of him as a Hollow Man. Of course Key probably doesn’t have it quite right either. His strategy for handling the public perception that he’s a lightweight? Speak down to them.
“If you’re explaining very complex things, in the end you just won’t get there because the public can’t grasp that idea.” (NZ Herald, 4 Aug 2007)