Phil Goff might be the Labour Party's chosen one - but it doesn't look like anyone else wants him. After hundreds of polls asking who voters prefer as prime minister, the Herald on Sunday this week asked who they least wanted.
According to the Key Research poll of 1182 voters, the clear "winner" was Goff at 25.6 per cent.
Goff's term as Labour leader has been beset by claims he was a caretaker after he took over from Helen Clark. He would not comment specifically on his stand-out performance in the poll.
Goff said yesterday: "I believe that Labour is making the right decisions to secure the long-term future of New Zealand, compared to National which is cobbling together short-term fixes with an eye on the election.
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"Labour will stand by our commitment to save our assets, pay off the debt, live within our means and ensure we can afford to give Kiwis a comfortable retirement."
John Key, who polled fourth "worst" on 7.8 per cent, also refused to comment.
Goff's unpopularity outstripped two of the country's most polarising political figures, Don Brash and Hone Harawira.
The Act leader polled second on 14.5 per cent and Mana Party leader Harawira was third on 13.2 per cent.
The prime ministerial candidate who offended the fewest people was Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, on just 0.03 per cent.
But neither had he inspired people, according to preferred- prime minister polls - it seems he is neither especially loved, nor especially loathed.
Otago University political scientist Dr Bryce Edwards said the loathing inspired by Goff was odd because he thought Goff was too benign to inspire such a passionate reaction