And the winner is ... Not Sure.

It may look as though the Prime Minister sits supremely above the others in the first Herald ZB Kantar TNS survey.

But it actually confirms that the election on September is anybody's.

It means that "not sures" are very important and so are the results of small parties.


While Bill English may be considered the most capable to run the country by the biggest number, 41 per cent, the combined number of those who don't think he is the best is 40 per cent.

The only friend English has among those rating above zero is United Future's Peter Dunne.

Not Sure is 17 per cent.

Why so high?

The poll is conducted online, meaning the respondent is sitting in front of his or her screen, not talking to a pollster on the phone.

Polling specialists say that means there is less pressure on them to provide an answer and so Not Sure, sometimes known as Undecided, is higher in online polls than those conducted by landlines.

The question people were asked (who do you think is most capable of running the Government) cannot be interpreted expressly as party voting intention.

For example, many people who intend to vote Labour might do so without believing that Andrew Little is necessarily the most capable person of running the Government.

There were undoubtedly Labour supporters among the 14 per cent who did not like any of the leaders presented to them and may have preferred Jacinda Ardern or Grant Robertson.

But the result should worry Labour and Little, not only because of the dismal 10 per cent. A third of his hardcore supporters who think he would be the best to run the country either think the country is headed in the right direction (12 per cent) or are not sure (22 per cent).

The National Party can't be smug either. And of those who think English is the most capable, 23 per cent either think the country is not going in the right direction (6 per cent) or are not sure (17 per cent).

These are the soft voters that New Zealand First's Winston Peters will be targeting coming out of his successful party conference.

One of the most interesting results is among the small players. The sleeper that may be about to liven up the election campaign and grow support is Gareth Morgan of The Opportunities Party who is considered the most able to run the country by 2 per cent.

If Labour and the Greens continue their run of bad publicity, Morgan's party may well find itself on the rise.