Labour may still be well below its 2008 election result, when it was chucked out after 3 terms, but, thanks to the doubling of Greens support, Labour+Green is level pegging with National in the latest Roy Morgan. Add New Zealand First, and the opposition is well clear. Except, that’s not an election winning scenario for the Left.
NZF would go with National in that scenario. Why would Peters play third fiddle if he can play second?
And where’s the campaign buffer? Last election, Lab+Green shed 3% during the campaign as the Greens didn’t pick up all that Labour lost. And Goff was a pretty strong debater. You have to allow at least a similar margin for 2014.
Add that together and Lab+Greens needs to be polling at about 52% going into the campaign to be confident of making a coalition after the election. That’s 7% or more above where they’re averaging in recent months.
Either Labour needs to get into the late 30%s and all but destroy National’s lead or the Greens need to go even further into uncharted territory and start polling near 20%.
Can it be done? Sure. With good policy and inspiring leadership. But it would be a fool who looks at the current polling and assumes it’ll happen.