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New Zealanders feeling more positive about Hipkins than Luxon

21 Jun 23

New Zealanders feeling more positive about Hipkins than Luxon

New Zealanders are feeling more positively about Labour leader Chris Hipkins than National leader Christopher Luxon.

The latest Horizon Research Political Feelings Study, comparing how the two main parties’ current leaders are making New Zealanders feel, finds Hipkins outperforming Luxon on all 12 feelings measured. It is the first study to compare Hipkins with Luxon.

It also finds Hipkins performs better than former leader Jacinda Ardern did in October 2022 on 9 of the 12 factors measured.

Luxon’s performance compared with October 2022 has declined.

In June 2023, the highest ranking feeling invoked by Hipkins is “hopeful” (26%), significantly higher than 20% who said the same about Luxon.

Similarly, 26% said Hipkins made them feel “comfortable”,  significantly higher than 10% who said the same about Luxon.

Luxon invoked more negative feelings than Hipkins: 35% of respondents said Luxon made them feel “concerned”, “nervous” (27%), “disappointed” (26%) and “angry” (18%).

Horizon has been tracking the feelings invoked by party leaders since 2010, basing its research on American National Election Studies, conducted in the United States since the 1940s. These have generally shown leaders who invoke more positive feelings are more likely to win office. This is based on findings that many people are less likely to vote for someone they do not like.

The latest Political Feelings tracking survey was of 1,088 respondents representing the 18+ population. It was conducted using three specialist online research panels. The maximum margin of error is ±3% (at the 95% confidence level). The data was weighted on age, education, ethnicity, gender, Party Vote 2020 and region to be representative of the adult New Zealand population. The order of the answer options was rotated for each respondent.

Changes for Luxon since October 2022

There have been some significant changes since October 2022 in how Luxon makes people feel. There has have been increases in those who feel

  • “Disappointed” (from 18% in October 2022 to 26% in June 2023)
  •  “Disgusted” (from 14% in October 2022 to 19% in June 2023), and
  • A decrease in those who feel “hopeful” (from 25% in October 2022 to 20% in June 2023).

Comparing Chris Hipkins and Jacinda Ardern

Since the last poll in October 2022 there has been a change in leadership of the Labour Party. The previous poll showed that negative feelings towards Jacinda Ardern had increased. These feeling towards Chris Hipkins are significantly lower. He records increases over Ardern:

  • Feeling “hopeful” – increase from 20% for Ardern to 26%
  • Feeling “comfortable” – increase from 21% to 26%.

However, there was also a significant drop in people feeling “proud” about Chris Hipkins , compared with 17% for Ardern in October 2022 - down to 9% for Hipkins.

Feelings towards Chris Hipkins – age and gender

There are several significant differences across age groups. 18-24 year olds are less likely to have negative feelings towards Chris Hipkins. Interestingly, 20% of 18-24 year olds have not heard of Hipkins.

17% of 55-64 year olds said that Hipkins makes them feel “angry”.

34% of 65-74 year olds said he makes them feel “comfortable.”

Males are more likely to feel “afraid” (11%) and “concerned” (29%). Whereas females are less likely to have negative feelings towards Hipkins.

Feelings towards Christopher Luxon – age and gender

There are some significant differences across age groups for feelings towards Luxon.

37% of 45-54 year olds say that Luxon makes them feel “nervous”.

26% of 18-24 year olds do not know who Christopher Luxon is.

Few differences across gender for feelings towards Luxon.

16% of females are less likely to feel “hopeful” and 21% of males are “bored”.

10% of females said they did not know who Luxon was.

Horizon’s Political Feelings Study is conducted in the public interest as part of its effort to listen to and make New Zealanders heard. There is no political party or other client for this project launched in 2011.

For further information:

Graeme Colman, Principal, Horizon Research, email, telephone +64 21 848 576.