Simon Bridges believes he's not doing better in the polls because he's not a "bright shiny thing".
Sunday night's TVNZ-Colmar Brunton preferred Prime Minister poll had the National Party leader on 10 percent - almost exactly the same as he was on in the last Newshub-Reid Research poll in May, when he scored 9 percent.
"It's very early days," he told The AM Show on Monday. "I don't want this on a platter. I don't expect to be some bright shiny thing just a few months in. I know I've got to earn the trust and respect of New Zealanders."
Mr Bridges has been leader for five-and-a-half months. A Newshub-Reid Research poll taken in the week after Jacinda Ardern became leader of the Labour Party had her on 26.3 percent. A few weeks later, she became the Prime Minister.
Despite the National Party's strong position - 45 percent in both TVNZ and Newshub polls - it currently has no viable coalition partners.
"We've got a bit of time to think about those things. I'm very confident we will have options," said Mr Bridges.
"Whether it's one of those parties that's in power at the moment not being there, whether it's them being there in a different shape or form, whether it's new parties forming - I think we're in an unprecedented time in politics. It's a lot different than it was 10, 15, 20 years ago. A lot will happen in the next couple of years."
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Political commentators have suggested the Greens could side with National in a 'teal deal', and New Zealand First has sided with both major parties in the past.
"You've never seen a political party this early into Opposition this strong in the numbers," said Mr Bridges. "That's not to be complacent - we're incredibly motivated, it's a long game, there's a lot of work to do. It's a heartening sort of a poll."
Being Opposition leader can be tough. Prior to Ms Ardern, Labour had a string of leaders who struggled in the preferred Prime Minister stakes, just like Mr Bridges is now. Andrew Little, David Shearer and David Cunliffe all peaked in the mid-teens.
Watch the full interview with Simon Bridges above.
The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.