Trotter first. Pompous Chris has been in ebullient form, spewing out columns exhorting the Labour Party to dump Helen Clark and embrace Phil Goff (here and here (1)). In doing so, he threw caution to the wind, as well as sense and good english. Labour and Clark's small bump in recent opinion polls (here (2) and here (3)), while National suffered a minor reversal, should give the moustachioed one something to think about, if anything is capable of penetrating the almost-tangible miasma of self-importance that hangs about him.
Slippery John has also made himself look silly, with several gaffes (2). These have ranged fromt he trivial to the marginally important but, taken together, have left him looking a deal less competent and self-possessed than before. The voters, it seems, are starting to see what us cynical lefties have assumed from the start - Key's a slickly packaged lightweight, with poor grasp of policy detail. While National still look comfortable, with just a whisker under 50% of the vote, the dip from the giddy hieghts of mid-fifties, coupled with Labour's bump up to near 40%, suggests that National's lead is very, very soft indeed.
1 - As described previously on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2008/02/pompous-chris-seeking-sucessional.html and http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2008/03/trotter-struts-frets.html.
2 - Colmar Brunton opinion polls for 2008 (http://www.colmarbrunton.co.nz/index.php?pageLoad=44).
3 - 'Labour's revival slashes poll gap,' by Audrey Young in The New Zealand Herald, 29th of March, 2008. (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10500861)
4 - As described previously on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2008/03/sporting-national-make-match-of-it.html.