Today’s Herald Digipoll has National up 2 points and Labour down 2, a result the Herald describes as the “Nats pulling away”.
As ever you can’t read too much
into a single poll, but the pattern continues to show National coming off the highs in the mid 50s it reached earlier this year and Labour regaining from its low 30s nadir. Now, polls are showing National in a range between mid 40s and low 50s, and Labour mid to high 30s.
Remember that this is actually much closer than it appears. If National sinks below that magic 47% mark it will have a very hard time finding coalition partners to govern with, while Labour has plenty of options if it is near 40%.
Commentators stuck in FPP thinking are writing ‘the phone is off the hook’ and other well-worn cliches, but this is MMP. What matters is the balance between left and right, and who the minor parties will work with, not which of the major parties has the most support. In reality, it is and always has been a close race.
It’s also worth pointing out that this poll is based on a sample size of only 769 respondents over three weeks. In comparison, the recent TV3 poll
was taken between 1016 April and had a sample size of 1000.
Still, it’s not the kind of gap you want at this stage of the election cycle and the pressure will be on Labour to deliver in next month’s Budget.