Has National and John Key, along with the entire nation, fallen for the oldest media trick in the book?.
You build someone up, just to knock them down again.
The youthful leader has had a honeymoon with the media and the voters which saw him build on the dizzy heights achived by Don Brash before his departure a year ago.
But how solid is National's ascendency?
Not very, if the latest Herald poll is to be believed.
No wonder the TV1 newsreader last night seemed breathlessly excited when he read the headlines of Saturday's big papers.
Liarbour has apparantly clawed back the lead to 5.2% and this before Key "gaffes" over health policy and other things could influence the polls further.
It may be that the media has actually given Key and National an easy ride recently to make the upcoming election campaign more exciting and newsworthy, so the media can elnjoy higher sales and ratings for their papers and news programmes.
I recall an early editor in Britain admitting to me that his strategy was to give the Tory opposition on the local council greater prominence at the start of the local election campaign, thus providing an answer to bias, before giving the Labour run council an easy ride at the end, when it mattered.
Maybe this is the undisclosed polciy for the media here. If so, National's treatment by the media will only worsen.
Certainly, the hacks were keen to jump on National over issues like Health policy as David Farrar noted at Kiwiblog, when Colin Espiner looked at National on health.
Today, the youthful, but talented Paula Oliver at the Herald notes changing fortunes for National. Paula does know her stuff, despite her tender age. I recall offering her a job a while back but my paper and the salary I was allowed to offer was not big enough for her talents.
Anyway, while such an elder stateman herself, that wise old bird Fran O'Sullivan feels the omni-present Helen Clark is suffering from over exposure.
Certainly I have detected a shift in opinions against Clark. Outside the blogosphere it has finally become commonplace for people to criticise our once Popular and Incompetent one.
But this poll shows that National is not home and dry yet. It needs to learn from the lessons of the UK Tories as I have harped on about before and avoid the 'gaffes' of the past week or so.
Liarbour and Cullen still has a massive war chest to spead around and buy up the voting public.
One blogger I met yesterday believes Liarbour will get back in on this premise, plus whatever dodgy rorts Liarbour performs with the Electoral Finance Bill and related regulations and campaigning.
If he is right, then what hope is there for National and indeed for democracy in New Zealand, as well as the long term health of our economy.