John Banks has some support in the wealthy suburb of Remuera, but is less popular on the liberal fringes of the Epsom electorate, according to a Herald street survey.
A poll of 47 Epsom voters yesterday found the National candidate ahead of Act's Mr Banks by 22 votes to 20.
For the party vote, National in front with 34 votes, followed by the Greens on seven and Labour on four. One voter was undecided on his candidate preference but did select a party.
The unscientific poll and people's comments reflect the tactical voting taking place in Epsom which will determine whether Act returns to Parliament. The latest Herald-DigiPoll survey has Act at 0.9 per cent, well short of the 5 per cent threshold.
Prime Minister John Key, who has said National is campaigning for the party vote in Epsom, told Newstalk ZB it was "early days" whether he would have a cup of tea with Mr Banks.
Remuera resident Anna Thomas, 30, said she was no fan of Mr Banks and planned to vote for National candidate Paul Goldsmith.
Margaret Ecroyd, of Remuera, is giving the Greens her party vote and may vote for Mr Goldsmith to keep Mr Banks and Act leader Don Brash out.
Michael Wall, a 62-year-old real estate agent who lives in the same Parnell street as Mr Key, is a committed National voter, but despises Act.
"This is the greatest opportunity to get rid of the selfish, self-centred Act Party. They have no interest in the well-being of the country," he said.
But Keith McConnell, of Parnell, liked Mr Banks' "no bullshit" style and Remuera's George Lim admired his experience as Auckland City Mayor.
Sofia Kasim, 35, said her favourite was Mr Banks.
"I don't really care about Act but I've always liked John Banks. I liked when he was mayor so I want to vote for him. My party vote is National," she said.
Outside Remuera, particularly in liberal Mt Eden, Mr Banks has an uphill battle connecting with voters.
One of the few Labour supporters, Pat Shaw-Phillips, 65, said she would be sticking to Labour for her candidate and party votes. "I'm Labour through and through. I will never, ever vote National."
First-time Mt Eden voter Michael Harris, 18, will be guided by family tradition.
"My family's always voted Labour so that's who my party vote will be for. But I haven't decided on a candidate. I might go with Labour, but I have to do a little more research."