New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has emerged the most liked and trusted politician in a recent poll. According to a Fairfax Media-Ipsos survey, 59.3 per cent of Kiwis say they like Mr Key, while 58.7 per cent say they trusted him.
Mr Key enjoys a strong lead ahead of his opponents as the most preferred prime minister with 51.2 per cent. Meanwhile, preference and trust in Labour party leader David Cunliffe appear to be roughly equal. About 18.2 per cent Kiwis prefer Mr Cunliffe as prime minister of New Zealand.
Conservative Party leader Colin Craig, Internet Party leader Kim Dotcom and Mana Party leader Hone Harawira were more disliked by Kiwis. The least trusted leaders were Dotcom and Harawira.
Media trainer to political leaders and veteran commentator Brian Edwards said a successful political leader needs to be liked and trusted by the public. He remarked that being likeable may be the biggest advantage of a politician.
In a reaction to the poll, Mr Edwards believes John Key being the most liked by the public will be a "big problem" to his opponents. It would be difficult to oppose someone who people like and think of as a friend or someone they know.
Mr Edwards said the prime minister has an easygoing manner and does not seem to take things seriously. His likeable personality and pleasant demeanor makes him approachable to people despite his avoidance of issues involving the SkyCity deal.
Compared to Mr Key, Mr Edwards said Mr Cunliffe does not strike him as an "easygoing, warm sort of character." The Labour leader may not be hated, but he does not enjoy the popularity that Mr Key has.
However, the results of the poll does not mean that Mr Cunliffe has no chance to become prime minister, but being not likeable enough like Mr Key will make the job difficult for him. Mr Edwards said it will be "extremely difficult" for Labour.
Despite losing to National's Mr Key in the poll, Mr Cunliffe's Labour trumps National as the political party best for families with a 54.4 per cent vote compared to National's 34.4 per cent.