Former National Prime Minister James (Jim) Brendan Bolger put it so crudely but succinctly 27 years ago when he famously declared, "bugger the pollsters". Current National leader Judith Collins has little option but to adhere to the same aphorism.
In Bolger's case, he was reacting to very nearly losing the 1993 election after polls indicated he was set to win comfortably - a situation Collins can currently only dream about. A win of any sort appears to be but a pipe dream.
On Sunday, National was greeted with the news it had fallen to a dismal 25 per cent for preferred party in the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll - while Labour soared at 60 per cent.
Labour is now at 60.9 per cent (up 4.4 per cent - the highest it has been in the Newshub-Reid Research poll) and would be able to govern comfortably alone with 77 seats.
Collins dubbed the political poll as "ridiculous" and said their own poll had shown them to be closer to the 40 per cent mark. Brownlee also confirmed polling in the "high-30s".
Even so, claiming some sort of victory in polling at in the 30s for preferred party is a stark reminder of the straits one of New Zealand's major parties has found itself in.
The Reid Research poll was conducted between July 16-24. During this time senior National MPs Nikki Kaye and Amy Adams quit; national MP for Rangitata Andrew Falloon resigned over allegations of sending pornographic material to young women and Labour Cabinet Minister Iain Lees-Galloway was dismissed after confirming a 12-month affair with a staff member. The poll began the week after another National MP, Hamish Walker, resigned for relaying private Covid patient information to media, and two days after leader Todd Muller resigned.
The Newshub poll of 1000 people has a margin of error of 3.1 per cent.
Some have pointed to a very different result in figures from Stuff/Massey University, reported on July 26, which indicated support for National jumped to 40.2 per cent after Collins took the helm. Sadly for the Nats however, that result was a survey and not a poll.
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Another poll is due out this week from 1 News Colmar Brunton which may contradict the Newshub-Reid Research poll. Or it may not.
Ultimately, one poll matters and that's taken on September 19 and it must be troubling strategists in the National camp that the Labour leader and incumbent PM has yet to begin election campaigning in earnest - adhering to the line she is focused on the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Ardern will well know this approach makes her appear simultaneously a stable leader in time of crisis; above political posturing; and concerned only for the health and wellbeing of her people. It's a heady fragrance for voters, particularly those who have held their noses during the unseemly sleaze wafted about during recent scandals.
Collins may well have cause to be muttering on the morning of September 20: "Bugger the pandemic."