Labour leader Phil Goff may not be the preferred prime minister but his performance as Opposition leader wins more favourable ratings.

In the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey, Mr Goff is languishing at 11.9 per cent, compared with Prime Minister John Key's rating of 67.7 per cent.

But when respondents were asked to rate Mr Goff's performance as Labour leader, 22.2 per cent thought he was excellent or good and 40.4 per cent thought he was average.

Combining the poor and extremely poor ratings, 33 per cent gave him a negative rating, and 4.4 per cent didn't know.

Mr Goff is disproportionately preferred by women, with 13.3 per cent favouring him as prime minister, compared with 10.5 per cent of men. But his ratings are consistent whether by Auckland voters or the rest of the country.

Mr Key's popularity is fairly consistent across both genders and whether voters are in Auckland or the rest of the country.

Labour's overall party support in the poll is 33.7 per cent - down from 37.2 per cent five months ago.

Labour and the Greens are disproportionately supported by women and National is disproportionately supported by men.

Act not only has a polling issue with only 1.7 per cent, it has a major gender issue, with no women at all supporting it in the poll.

That is also reflected in Act leader Don Brash's ratings in the preferred prime minister stakes. He was supported by 2 per cent of men but 0.4 per cent of women.

While National's support overall at 54.4 per cent is just over 20 points ahead of Labour's, there appears to be no notable disproportionate support for either party by Auckland voters.

Auckland voters reflect pretty much the same pattern as voters in the rest of the country.

New Zealand First's figures show consistent support between Auckland (2.6 per cent) and the rest of the country (2.7 per cent) and between genders.

But there is a big variance in support for leader Winston Peters as preferred prime minister between Auckland voters (3 per cent) and the rest of New Zealand (6.7 per cent).

New Zealand First is also disproportionately supported by those aged 65 and over.

Its overall party-vote support in the poll was 2.7 per cent but it was supported by 7.6 per cent of the elderly.

Labour is also disproportionately supported by the elderly (36.6 per cent) compared with its overall party vote support (33.7 per cent).

National with 54.4 per cent support in the party vote has disproportionately less support among the elderly (49.7 per cent).

The Green Party is supported by 2.1 per cent of the elderly, compared with its overall 5.5. per cent.

Among the younger voters aged 18 to 39, the Greens are favoured.

They attract 9.2 per cent of that voter age-group.

Labour has marginally more, too, with 36.4 per cent compared with its overall support of 33.7 per cent. National's support at 51.5 per cent among younger voters is less than its overall of 54.4 per cent.

Among the middle-aged grouping (40 to 64), National has higher than overall support, Labour has lower, and there is not much variation between backing for the Greens by that group and their overall rating.

The full party vote results (with December 2010 results):
National 54.4 (52.4)
Labour 33.7 (37.2)
Greens (5.5 (5.3)
NZ First 2.7 (2.5)
Maori Party 1.5 (1.2)
Act 1.7 (0.9)
United Future 0 (0)
Progressives 0 (0)

The poll of 750 eligible voters was conducted between May 19 and May 25. Party vote ratings are of decided voters and have a margin of error of 3.6 per cent. Breakdowns, especially the age-groups, should be regarded as indicative.