If all publicity is good publicity, Labour leader Phil Goff has reaped some gain from the Darren Hughes affair.
In the first poll since news broke that Mr Hughes was facing a police complaint laid by an 18-year-old student, Mr Goff's polling as preferred Prime Minister has reached 11 per cent - four points up from the previous 7 per cent in February.
It is the first time Mr Goff has made double digits in the One News Colmar Brunton poll since becoming leader in late 2008. He still trails John Key, whose rating as preferred Prime Minister rose seven points to 55 per cent.
The National Party rose from 51 to 54 per cent - 20 points ahead of Labour on 34 per cent. But Labour's party polling held up - lifting slightly to 34 from 33 per cent in February.
The poll followed a fortnight in which Mr Goff had to repeatedly defend his handling of Mr Hughes and counter rumours over his leadership.
Yesterday he said he was pleased his ranking had improved, although he would prefer not to have had the distractions of the past fortnight.
"It comes after two weeks that were pretty tough in politics under any definition. I was put under a fair amount of pressure by the media but I think I stood up pretty well to that ... and that's been reflected in the poll."
Mr Goff said he would rather discuss issues such as the cost of living.
The poll showed a dramatic slump in economic confidence since February - 45 per cent thought the economy would be in a worse state during the next 12 months, well up on the 32 per cent who felt that way in February.
Of the small parties, only the Greens were over the 5 per cent threshold at 6 per cent. The poll of 1000 voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 per cent.By Claire Trevett @CTrevettNZH Email Claire