In a surprise poll result, voters have picked Shane Jones ahead of Grant Robertson in the Labour Party leadership race, while David Cunliffe remains the firm favourite.

Conducted by Research Now, the 3 News poll sampled 500 voters from around the country, asking them to name their preferred Labour leader from contenders Mr Cunliffe, Mr Robertson and Mr Jones.

The results come as a surprise with 39.6 per cent of voters saying Mr Cunliffe was their preferred party leader, 31.6 per cent saying Mr Jones, while Mr Robertson trailed on 28.8 per cent.

Among Labour voters, Mr Cunliffe's support was even stronger with 45.6 per cent wanting him to be the next party leader, Mr Jones was still in second place with 28.1 per cent and Mr Robertson received 26.4 per cent support.


Prior to this poll, Mr Jones was seen by many as the rank outsider in the race.

The poll also asked which of the three candidates John Key should be most worried about.

Thirty four per cent of respondents said Mr Cunliffe, 16 per cent said Mr Jones and 13 per cent Mr Robertson.

However, 37 per cent said Mr Key had nothing to worry about.