The public's honeymoon with new Labour leader Andrew Little is showing few signs of easing more than two months after he was chosen to lead a divided party.
A 3 News Reid-Research poll has revealed 55 per cent of voters think Little is potentially a better match for Prime Minister John Key than his Labour Party leader predecessors.
The poll, which has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 per cent, is part of a series of polls on the post-election political situation that will be broadcast on 3 News tonight.
3 News political editor Patrick Gower said the poll result was a huge boost for Little.
"It means more than half of voters think he can do a better job than Phil Goff, David Shearer or David Cunliffe," Gower said.
"And the fact that it's over half shows it's well and truly beyond the people who vote for Labour normally and into centre voters and probably some National voters as well."
Key couldn't give Little any opportunities.
"[Key] probably wants to politically suffocate him from here on."
Little, who was chosen to lead the then bitterly divided party two months after its crushing election defeat to National in September, was a "tough bugger" who had exceeded expectations.
Crucially, and unlike his immediate predecessors Shearer and Cunliffe, Little had not yet stuffed up. "It should be more about what you do than don't do, but in the context of Labour leaders, not stuffing up is a good thing."
A Herald-Digipoll survey last year, the first political poll after the election, showed Labour's popularity had jumped three percentage points since Little took over the leadership.
But it showed National's support had also risen, and support for the Greens and New Zealand First declined. Gower said the latest polls would shock a couple of parties.
"The Greens will have their worry beads out."
University of Otago politics lecturer Bryce Edwards said Little had been lucky as he had not been seriously tested in the job.
But he was also the right person for the leadership because he was in synch with mainstream New Zealand and was making the party talk about what mattered to Kiwis.
"John Key's opponents have come to realise he's a masterful politician. With Andrew Little ... the revelation is that he has been more competent and a stronger leader, because he didn't really shine as a backbencher MP."
Little said the poll result was "nice" but he wouldn't be taking any false hope from it.
"Things like this kind of go up and down. You're in favour and you're out of favour ... it's nice to have the kind of start that I've had. But we've got a long way to go yet and a lot of work to do so I'm focused on that."
A Key spokeswoman last night told the Herald on Sunday: "The Prime Minister never underestimates any leader of the Opposition."