MPs are certainly thinking about the next leader if Little can’t pull it off and they remain in Opposition.
Little might even survive if Labour’s vote rallies, especially if the fickle thumb of the Emperor, NZ First leader Winston Peters, is the reason Labour is not in government rather than Labour’s own polling.
If not, the name with the most traction is Jacinda Ardern – whether she wants it or not – and Grant Robertson as deputy – the reverse from the ticket order Robertson stood on in his two pitches to be leader.
There is another problem to the theory Little will be rolled. It would require a willing and able replacement.
On the able front, very few of the current MPs would be able to step in at such a late stage, straight into the white heat of a campaign. Grant Robertson, Phil Twyford and David Parker could cope but would likely do no better than Little.
Ardern does not yet have the breadth of knowledge and experience required, especially on economic matters which are always a crux of a campaign.
On the willing front, things are even more dire. Nobody wants to be a kamikaze candidate.
For the good ship Labour it will remain 31 souls on board, Little safe.
Can’t blame them for not wanting to step up.