Jacinda Ardern, Boris Johnson; Getty Images
Opinion

Why Ardern should be worried about Boris' huge dip in popularity

The curse of incumbency has always been around in politics. 

Leaders stay in as long people don't tire of them. 

Today FM 101: Boris Johnson survives ... but for how long
Today FM 101
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But has this curse been exacerbated by COVID? 

Has the constant exposure and the daily COVID press conferences helped accelerate the tiring of the voting public on incumbent politicians? 

Even the most popular politicians are not immune. They're arguable more susceptible because the fall is from so much higher. 

Let's look at Boris Johnson. He swept to power in 2019, with the Tories winning the most seats in 32 years. Hardcore Labour seats turned blue for the first time ever. It really was a Tory landslide. 

Admittedly, it was Brexit fatigue that played a huge role in that - but Boris also had an ability to charm people. His hair, his shamelessness, and his dithering seemed to be endearing. 

But in just two and a half years, Boris' popularity has plummeted.

His own party tried rolling him. He survived, but for how long?

Theresa May survived a similar coup but didn't last long after it because Boris was agitating behind the scenes, and was forced to resign in tears. 

Boris' abysmal pandemic response is largely to blame, including his chronic case of being the rule-maker and the rule-breaker with all his Number 10 parties and drinks, while the rest of the country was in lockdown. 

So I ask the question: Could the COVID curse of incumbency be hitting Ardern right now? 

She also won a landslide election in 2020 with the first-ever MMP majority. 

But Labour's polling isn't flash - is that a result of policy or is it the overexposure of Ardern over the last two years? 

I'm not saying Boris and Ardern are exactly comparable. They're not. 

I'm saying that COVID may be fast-tracking the old political adage: Oppositions don't win elections, Governments lose them.