Labour leader Jacinda Ardern has eclipsed Andrew Little's ratings in a poll to rate the most capable person of running the Government but is well behind Prime Minister Bill English.

English is streets ahead of the newcomer and he has improved on his ratings in the Herald-ZB-Kantar TNS poll.

English was rated most capable by 45 per cent of respondents, compared with his rating of 41 per cent in July.

Ardern was rated the most capable by 32 per cent, a huge improvement on the 10 per cent that former Labour leader Andrew Little got last month.


New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was rated by 7 per cent, two points lower than in July.

The other party leaders rated either 1 per cent or zero.

A breakdown of the figures shows English is rated most capable disproportionately by Aucklanders, at 51 per cent (compared with 45 per cent nationwide) and lower by Wellington respondents, 35 per cent.

More men rate him high, 49 per cent, than women, 41 per cent.

He is more favoured by voters aged 60 and over, 53 per cent, compared with those aged 18 to 29, only 32 per cent.

He is rated the most capable by 61 per cent of those earning more than $100,000 and by only 38 per cent of those earning under $50,000.

It is consistent with the feedback we get on the ground, particularly when people can see the link between the benefit for them and their family and a good economy.

Ardern was elected Labour leader on August 1 after the resignation of Little in the face of plummeting polls.

The breakdown shows that while she is 13 points behind English, she is well ahead of him among Wellington voters, with 41 per cent rating her as the most capable of running the Government compared with English on 35 per cent.

She also has high support among young voter, low-income voters and single-income households with no children.

English told the Herald that in the end, people voted on issues such as the economy, not just on personality.

"What I think is important is that better economic management matters to the cash in their pockets and the jobs for their kids and the prospect of getting a better income.

"That's the bit that matters to them. They can believe the economy is going well in general but where we get the positive response is when they see that it matters to them."

•The survey was conducted between August 16 to 21 and the sample size was 1000. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 per cent.
• It is an online survey by ConsumerLink which runs on the Fly Buys panel of 120,000 active members, one of the largest in New Zealand.
•Sampling is nationally representative and is then post-weighted by age, gender and region to match the population but only those aged 18 and over are included.