More than half of voters surveyed believe the fallout from
Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics book will damage Prime Minister
John Key - but only 11 per cent believe it would cause a lot
Today's Herald-DigiPoll survey began just after the release
of that book, and 43 per cent of respondents said it would
cause a little damage while a further 11 per cent believed it
would cause a lot of damage. About one quarter said it would
cause no damage.
The results also indicate how the wider public perceive Mr
Hager. Eleven per cent said it would do a lot of damage
because Mr Hager did not make things up, while 14 per cent
thought being attacked by Mr Hager - who National has dubbed
a conspiracy theorist - would actually enhance Mr Key's
National has centred its campaign on Brand Key to take
advantage of his reputation and popularity.
Jennifer Lees-Marshment, a political communications expert at
Auckland University, said the biggest concern for Mr Key was
that all the attention on the book was making it hard for him
to convey National's "vision" for the next three years. That
made this weekend's campaign launch critical for him.
However, she said Mr Key did have a very strong, longstanding
brand to pit against the book.
But she said there were risks.
"All of this muck-raking, and particularly the negativity of
it, may make people start to doubt" their perception of his