The only thing the two latest political polls have in common is the steady rise of Judith Collins. The rest of it? Who knows?
The shrinkage of Simon Bridges' star looms large, while just the hint of JuCo replacing him as leader has the hysterics hysterical.
The mere mention of her name sees the more fragile among us rattling off a frenzy of common JuCo stereotypes. Then when they've eventually exhausted themselves ranting about her on social media, and other odious outlets of meaninglessness, they surely must flee to a darkened room for a cup of tea and a lie down.
What is it about Collins that makes reasonably intelligent people instantly turn into blithering idiots? She's not a flesh-eating zombie or a snake-headed Medusa and, if you think she is, you need to get out more. Or read some history books.
Yeah, yeah. People say she's polarising. New Zealand's Trump. Well, anyone's polarising if we say they are often enough. We can create an image of someone as easily as crushing one car.
The media loves it. I'm pretty sure that "Crusher" Collins doesn't necessarily mind her manufactured image too much either. The ones who consistently flip out about her appear to be the fragile reacting to her deeply anti-fragile persona. Being anti-fragile annoys the bejesus out of the fragile. It's quite something to watch.
Anyway, my prediction? She'll be leading the National Party into the next election. It may be a bit too early for her but a hell of a lot can happen between now and then. The world is looking increasingly dangerous and enough voters may well see her as a pair of safe hands in troubled times.
Now, just even suggesting that scenario means there are some who will call me right-wing (I'm not) or a traitor (it's called free speech) or a clumsy contrarian (maybe) but, guess what? I reckon Collins is the single most maligned and misunderstood female politician we've ever had. She's been dealing with naked vitriol for years.
It's possibly our shared rural sensibility but that, right there, is why I'll always have a sneaking regard for Collins. Victimhood is not part of her deal, and in our new era of loudly howling at the moon about every real or imagined slight, I expect the backlash to it will be in full swing come election day.
Bridges clings to poll he likes, Ardern does the same
Heather du Plessis-Allan: Both polls were wrong - the system is worthless
'Bizarre', 'head-scratching': Full fallout of conflicting political polls
Mistakes? She's made a few. But then again, she did them her way. Except even when her political missteps are being zealously recounted, it's mostly done with a jab here, a putdown there. It's always open season on JuCo, and while she never flinches, I find I do by proxy.
I simply can't abide the endless sneery self-described feminists who rush to the defence of any woman on their team who is even mildly attacked by a pundit, yet never, ever, raise a finger to point out what's happening to those on the right of the stage. In fact, they'll happily join in with the chorus of men attacking Collins by using her gender against her.
Newsflash: Feminism is not a buffet you can pick and choose from. "Oh, I'll eat that cake but I won't touch those broad beans". It doesn't work like that. We're either here for all our sisters, or none of our sisters. Don't call yourself a feminist if you aren't.
Because, I don't know if you've noticed, but Collins is consistently there for all the sisters. Golriz Ghahraman was feeling attacked recently and she spoke up in her defence. I'm pretty sure that Collins agrees with virtually nothing Ghahraman says or believes but, there she was defending her.
Did you also notice Collins openly praising Jacinda Ardern in Parliament for her handling of the Christchurch mosque attacks? It was unequivocal and full-throated. Classy, even.
Yet, I've never seen the same graciousness towards her from the left of the House. Have I missed it? I've been looking. So far, nothing.
It's also fair to say that I'm a recovering political obsessive. I see the whole business as rather vacuous these days, you know, given the state of the planet and the failure of politicians to grasp how time is fast running out. It all feels like a game.
But I do pay attention to human decency and realness and, from where I sit, Collins has demonstrated she has both. Now, that's a controversial opinion but it's my honest one.
I welcome her imminent leadership of the National Party, and she has well and truly earned a shot at a chance to lead our country. That's democracy, sister.
And, if we all claim to still believe in democracy, may the best woman win.