Apparently, I am one such fool.
Despite some rocky times for the Government of late, principally through some caustic karma returning the way of Judith Collins, National remains overwhelmingly popular largely on the back of our love for John Key. David Cunliffe is such a distant second one might wonder if he’s actually in the race.
Fairfax’s latest leader-favorability poll tells us that Key gained 43 percent positive comments from voters, 30 percent negative and 27 percent neutral or nothing. On the other hand, Cunliffe only got 6 percent positive comments, 25 percent negative and – here’s the kicker – a massive 69 percent of people were neutral or expressed nothing. Nothing. In other words, most Kiwis don’t give a toss about him. And this is where Labour might feel some of that doom.
The one thing that is certain, however, is that during the upcoming election campaign Cunliffe will get something he desperately needs: exposure. Just as minor parties benefit in the lead up to the election when the lens of publicity and public interest widens, so it will be for the Labour leader. And the fact that so many of us hold no views on him means he has a chance to impress.
In recent days there has been some commentary on the fact that Cunliffe needs to be himself and not over-analyse things if he wants to connect with the electorate. Given that, he might take a few tips from his wife. After watching John Campbell’s extended interview with the pair last week, I wanted to vote for her.
But what Cunliffe did really well in that interview was share the stage with his wife. I’m sure the carefully calculated side of him would have screamed for the camera to focus on him. Instead, perhaps because he was at home and disarmed by Campbell’s beautifully bumbling approach, a more relaxed side emerged and it worked for him. Perhaps if he can harness that manner on the hustings he might turn those 69 percent who have no opinion of him into people who like him, and in turn raise the popularity of his party.
Key has no real scope. We know him. Our views are formed. The fact we couldn’t care less about Cunliffe, however, gives him a real opportunity.
The one question that remains then is this: is he good enough?
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