National MPs are reportedly planning to roll leader Simon Bridges, with David Bennett even telling a constituent they were "working on it".
Emails to National's Hamilton East MP David Bennett, obtained by Newshub, show a constituent urging him to show Bridges the exit.
"Time to roll Simon. Landslide loss in September otherwise," it said.
"Yeah working on it," Bennett replied.
The Opposition leader is expected to face a no-confidence vote when his caucus meets next Tuesday unless a second poll shows a change in fortune for his party.
Several senior MPs earlier told the Herald they are now expecting a vote on Bridges' leadership after a dire Newshub Reid Research poll put the party on just 30.6 per cent.
It is understood Bridges has been told to expect that vote, but has so far shown no inclination to stand down of his own accord, saying public opinion will shift as the election nears.
• National Party leader Simon Bridges expected to face no-confidence vote, how the week will shake down
• Former PM Jim Bolger backs Todd Muller for next National leader
• Premium - Who's in, who's out? What a damning poll means for National MPs while the party is at 30 per cent
• National's poor poll: Leader Simon Bridges insists 'I'm the leader and I'm staying'
Some MPs doubted Bridges still had enough support to win a confidence vote, barring a miracle between now and Tuesday. If he loses that vote, it will spark a leadership contest.
It follows a disastrous result in the first public poll since the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the National Party plummet to 30 per cent.
The Newshub Reid Research poll has National at 30.6 - while Labour has rocketed up to 56.5 per cent under Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's leadership through the Covid-19 crisis.
The National Party's result was down almost 13 points from the last poll in February, when it was at 43 per cent.
Leader Simon Bridges' popularity crashed to 4.5 per cent - down by 6.1 percentage points - but still ahead of Judith Collins who is on 3.1 per cent.
A number of MPs earlier told the Herald that Bridges' performance is constantly raised with them when they are out and about – and not in a good way.
And the sentiment was echoed in Newshub's latest poll, in which voters were asked to describe the leaders using one word.
"Idiot", was the most widely used, before "don't know", "average", "good", "annoying", "weak", "useless", and "disappointing".
Ardern, meanwhile, received mostly glowing reviews, such as "amazing", "good", "compassionate", "leader", and "great".
National MPs have started talking about the "Bridges effect" and trying to calculate how much of a factor Bridges will be on the party's chances, the Herald earlier reported.
One estimated he was costing at least five percentage points in the polls.