OK, that title is pure spin. National has dropped from 55% to 49% in the latest Roy Morgan, and Labour’s up from 29% to 34.5%. But that just shows the last poll was a rogue. Now, normal transmission, and National’s decline, has resumed. When you look at the potential coalitions: National/ACT and Labour/Green/New Zealand First – the race is tight and closing fast.
The one to really watch is New Zealand First. The days when it looked like the party might die and it was down to 1% in the polls are long gone. The trend is healthy upwards and this poll is the first Roy Morgan to have NZF above 5% (at 5.5%) since August 2008. This poll was largely conducted before the election date announcement, I expect that NZF will get a further boost from John Key’s high-handed decision to try to tell voters not to vote for Winston Peters.
What we should be watching, I reckon is the combined National/ACT vote and the combined Labour/Greens/NZF vote. And then add the numbers for both United Future and the Maori Party to each coalition – being the prostitutes of politics, they’ll go with whomever has the numbers.
Currently, National and ACT have 50% (down from 54% this time last year), with the Maori Party and UF, that becomes 53%. Lab/Greens/NZF have 46.5% (up from 41.5% a ear ago), add MP and UF and that’s 49.5%. In other words, just a 2% shift is enough to make L/G/NZF larger than NACT and get first dibs on the floating support parties to get over the line.
The Right have become complacent, fooled by the gap between National and Labour (as are many political commentators) into think the race isn’t close.
Just look at John Key’s inept decision to wait until November to go to the polls. He thought he could arrogantly say to the electorate ‘you love me, don’t you? Well if you want me to have to accept asset sales and that means no deal with Peters’. Key’s failed to see that the love is wearing thin (even Granny’s getting tired of his antics, and mincing the shark doesn’t help). He thought that he would cause 3-4% of the anti-National vote to be wasted, again, on NZF and cruise to victory.
The signs are that is already backfiring. Is anyone really so bold as to think NZF won’t get in and National won’t lose 2% or more over the next 10 months like they did in the last 10 months?
The trend in National’s numbers and the confidence in government numbers are both clearly downward. Oil prices are rising and the campaign, where Labour traditional out-performs National and in which National will be hammered on privatisation, is still to come.
Key has basically gambled it all on the Rugby World Cup giving him a trend-reversing boost that lasts just long enough to get across the line in November. It’s going to turn out to be his biggest mistake.