The demise of Simon Bridges as National leader is all but an inevitability according to one political commentator.
This comes after two polls showed Bridges' support as preferred Prime Minister is languishing.
Not only is he miles behind Jacinda Ardern in the ranking – in both the 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton and the Newshub-Reid Research polls, Bridges has fallen behind senior National MP Judith Collins.
Despite this, the party's deputy leader Paula Bennett insists Bridges' leadership is safe.
"I'm the person that works most closely with him and I can tell you that I reckon that he is going to be our next Prime Minister," she told the AM Show this morning.
She said the public know that Bridges was "capable and he is intelligent and is incredibly hard-working".
She said that Ardern was a very popular Prime Minister and it is hard for Bridges to get the right political oxygen in that space.
But political commentator Bryce Edwards is not so sure Bridges' leadership is safe.
"It's just the same old story. I, like many other political commentators, believe his leadership is not viable," he said.
"He has had his shot and he has had his time to change the public narrative about him and it hasn't worked – it's still inevitable that he's going to go."
Edwards said Bridges has had so many opportunities and the public aren't buying him as the leader of the National Party and as the potential Prime Minister.
"There is just nothing I can see that presents a chance for him to continue."
Another commentator, Exceltium PR's Ben Thomas, said Bridges was in a tough spot.
"The only thing you can get from both polls is that Simon Bridges has failed to connect with the public."
He said elections these days are contested along Presidential lines – major party leader versus major party leader.
"Right now, there is no contest in terms of how the public sees Jacinda Ardern versus how they perceive Simon Bridges."
Thomas said National is beginning to look a bit like the 90s band Oasis, where the frontman is not really the star of the show – whereby Collins has overtaken Bridges in the preferred Prime Minister rankings.
Both Thomas and Edwards think Collins is the logical choice as the next leader.
In fact, Edwards said it could "only be Collins".
"That's a problem because many in the caucus and the wider party don't want it to be Collins – she's still a minority flavour for many in National."
But he said there were no other obvious contenders.