The poll of polls is up to date, including all four of this week’s snapshots. As readers know, I don’t like to sugarcoat this stuff, so to start with the obvious: The picture ain’t pretty if you want positive change in New Zealand. If there election where held today, the result would be a clear, comprehensive win for National, governing alone.
The full details are over at the poll of polls page, but below is the snapshot I did for Labour’s Congress of the two potential blocs of support, pitting [National | ACT | UF | Maori | Conservative] for the status quo against [Labour | Greens | NZF | InternetMANA], who represent change.
The chart shows the overall strength of the status quo bloc at around 54%, and the strength of the change bloc a little under 46%. Again, the picture ain’t pretty.
Two points, however, are worth noting:
This means the change bloc needs about a 4% gain vs the status quo bloc between now and election day to become viable. 2
Can the debates deliver 4%? Unlikely but possible, as many voters get their first prolonged exposure to David Cunliffe on his own terms. Key is an excellent debater, and will be tough to beat. But a draw in the debates serves the left’s purposes OK here, because it would showcase two potential Prime Ministers on equal footing.
Can a ground game deliver 4%? Not fully, but it can help. Ceiling estimates of gains-via-the-ground are around 2%, and because those gains will often come via mobilizing non-voters, rather than pinching someone else’s previous supporters, those gains only count single.
Does National have a history of losing 4% in recent campaigns? Yes – about 6 points, actually, in the final three months in 2008 and 2011. Now of course that does not guarantee a threepeat of the same phenomenon. But it does suggest National’s crew are not the best street-level campaigners out there.
The change bloc goes into the campaign proper as heavy underdogs. We absolutely know that. But all the headlines focusing only on Labour, one of four parties in the bloc, mask a broader situation where possible victory is four points away.