Jacinda Ardern's star still rising

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Labour Party MP Jacinda Ardern. Photo / Brett Phibbs

By Audrey Young

The rising popularity of Labour front bench MP Jacinda Ardern is evident in the latest Herald DigiPoll survey with her now being the fourth preferred Prime Minister among general voters.

She is also almost equal favourite with veteran MP and deputy leader Annette King to take over the Labour leadership, were anything to happen to current leader Andrew Little.

There is no suggestion that anything is on the cards but the Herald polls on leadership succession from time to time (we will run poll results tomorrow on National's leadership succession).

Today's DigiPoll result follows last week's Herald Mood of the Boardroom survey of leading CEOs which rated Ms Ardern as the best performing Labour MP since the election, ahead of Mr Little, Ms King and finance spokesman Grant Robertson.

Ms Ardern has responsibility for small business in the Labour caucus, as well as justice, children, arts, culture and heritage.

Ms Ardern has been a list MP since 2008, standing in Auckland Central against National minister Nikki Kaye.

She has never stood for the Labour leadership in the three contests since 2011 but she was on Grant Robertson's ticket following the general election last year and he had anointed her as his deputy.

Until now, Ms Ardern has been around 0.5 to 1.5 as preferred Prime Minister. But today she has jumped from 0.5 in April to 3.9 per cent (up 3.4 points). She is well behind Mr Little, who is steady on 11.6 per cent.

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Both she Mr Little rate miles behind Prime Minister John Key as preferred Prime Minister - he is preferred by 63.7 per cent, down 0.9 from April. Preferred Prime Minister questions are unprompted - no names are suggested.

But the poll also asked respondents to select their preferred leader to succeed Mr Little from four current front benchers: Ms King, who scored 21.8 per cent; Mr Robertson, who scored 18 per cent; Ms Ardern on 20.1 per cent, and housing spokesman Phil Twyford, with 4 per cent.

Preferred Prime Minister

John Key 63.7 (down 0.9)

Andrew Little 13.3 (down 0.6)

Winston Peters 11.6 (down 0.4)

Jacinda Ardern 3.9 (up 3.4)

Helen Clark 2.6 (up 1.6)

Metiria Turei 0.9 (up 0.6)

James Shaw 0.6 (up 0.6)

Q: If Andrew Little were to step down as Labour leader during this term, who do you think would his best replacements as Opposition leader?

Annette King 21.8

Jacinda Ardern 20.1

Grant Robertson 18.0

Phil Twyford 4.0

None of the above 10.5

Don't know/ refused 25.7

The poll of 750 eligible voters was conducted between August 14 - 24.

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