Clifton: Nat MPs getting nervous

Written By: - Date published: 6:42 pm, March 26th, 2017 - 79 comments
Categories: bill english, national, nick smith, polls, useless - Tags: , ,

English is down 6% in the latest Colmar Brunton (31% to 25%). Interesting context for this Sunday piece on Noted by Jane Clifton:

Bill English’s drop in the polls is making National MPs uneasy

As new PM, English is grinding away – to diminishing returns. Labour and National poll soundings show National’s percentage heading south towards the low 40s. Labour isn’t yet benefiting handsomely from this, but if “time for change” momentum accelerates, voters will, however reluctantly, perceive that giving Labour a legitimising vote share is the surest way to achieve that change.

Although tentative, the poll shift signals that what was once a victory sleepwalk for National has tipped into “game-on” territory. English’s assiduously steady-as-she-goes Cabinet, which hasn’t undone any key Keyisms (even the Super proposal is heavily provisional), will be asking what’s gone wrong.

National’s further handicap is lack of experience of sinking popularity. Only a handful of Nats have known times of low voter approval, the past decade safely immersed in the warm bath of Key’s popularity and dexterity. If that bathwater keeps cooling, there are enough talented backbenchers who can see their chances of reaching Cabinet disappearing forever to cause English big trouble.

And if the caucus does grow querulous, it’ll get personal. The Government’s electoral vulnerabilities – housing, water and the stalled debacle of resource management reform – are all the domain of English’s extremely close friend Nick Smith, aka Pamplona in a china shop. … Admirable though it is, sacrificing one’s country for one’s friend rather than the other way round is not how politics is generally played.

A dead giveaway of National’s unease was the Nikki Kaye/Maggie Barry attack on Labour’s new deputy, Jacinda Ardern…

For the Nats, having so long taken a fourth term as read, the possibility that their own leader may soon be less secure in his job than Labour’s will be a toughie. Points to the first Opposition MP to suggest to the PM that the vacancy for Key’s caddie hasn’t yet been filled.

Given that the Maori Party is reaching out to Labour, maybe Nat MPs aren’t the only ones getting nervous.

79 comments on “Clifton: Nat MPs getting nervous”

  1. paul andersen 1

    expect to see peter dunne making sucking up(to labour) noises

  2. Ski 2

    46% versus 30% and 11%, who is nervous?

    • McFlock 2.1

      Tories should be.

      And if they’re lame-duck pm keeps his current course, they should become “anxious”, “desperate” or even (hopefully) “morose and inconsolable”.

      • Ski 2.1.1

        If Tories are supposedly anxious about BE on 26 or whatever, how are labourites feeling about AL clinging on to 7?

        • Rightly or Wrongly 2.1.1.1

          I think (from his previous comments) that AL will be very comfortable.

          I suspect that the feeling of nervousness in inversely proportional to the level of support obtained.

          Think of it like climbing a ladder.

          If you are on the bottom rung you will be very comfortable – no nervousness at all.

          If you are up near the top of the ladder and there is a bit of a breeze then you may (as Mr Robins asserts) become nervous.

          Kind of avoids the elephant in the room that the goal of AL is to get a little higher up the ladder of popularity than near rock bottom.

        • Incognito 2.1.1.2

          The question as to who is your preferred PM is akin asking a 5-year old who is his/her favourite Mummy (or Daddy).

          • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.1.2.1

            Assuming your theoretical 5-year-old knew that they could answer with any mummy or daddy they liked, not just their own, then yes, it would be about that useful.

            In many ways the “right direction vs wrong direction” question is more useful overall, although that has its problems as a predictor too.

            If we want to know whether leaders are assets or drags on their party, we should be asking for a favourability rating, (ie. a “do you approve of Bill English/Andrew Little, yes/no?”) and then possibly comparing it to their share of the Party Vote, but even that doesn’t tell you everything, as sometimes people will happily like a Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition, but wouldn’t ever consider voting for their party.

        • Johan 2.1.1.3

          To Ski: Tell me what Helen’s popularity was before serving 3 terms as PM?

          • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.1.3.1

            You mean before she was appointed PM in 1999? About what Bill English’s is now, although he’s on a sharp downward trend and her spikiness between the high thirties to mid forties was a lot smoother than English’s has been. After her first six months or so she had a dramatic upwards spike and then averaged about 40% in the PPM polls, before being voted out when Key was a meagre 3% more popular than her, an amount which is probably within the margin of error for telling who was actually winning at that particular time.

            Generally I am informed the trend is that National leaders do better in PPM even before they’re in power, but tend to fall off pretty quickly if they don’t look unassailable, wheras Labour leaders don’t do as well until they’re actually governing, but as I’ve only been poll-spotting since Clark was PM herself and the archives of poll results before that aren’t online, I can’t say for sure whether that’s true.

      • greg 2.1.2

        gone

      • Mordecai 2.1.3

        I recall very similar comments about John Key in 2008, 2011 and 2014. How did that work out?

        • McFlock 2.1.3.1

          That was when he was on what, 40-50%?

          Those were the days, eh…

          • Mordecai 2.1.3.1.1

            That was when people were writing him off because his popularity had dropped below 40%.

            • McFlock 2.1.3.1.1.1

              Well, no, in 2008 he hbounced around 40 (gotta love that incumbent advantage), but in 2011 and 2014 he never dipped below 42% (and Herald had him at 66% once or twice, even 70% in 2011).

              So the most similar comment you would have heard in 2008 was when he wasn’t even PM. So you haven’t really heard anything similar “when he dropped below 40%” for ooo 9 years or so.

              • Rightly or Wrongly

                Well, no, in 2008 he hbounced around 40 (gotta love that incumbent advantage)

                Sorry to prick your bubble but Key wasn’t PM during 2008 until near the end.

                Clark was the incumbent.

                • McFlock

                  I know, it was morbidguy who mentioned “similar” comments in 2008.

                  But as soon as he got elected his trailing median jumped up 10-15%. Hence the incumbent advantage.

                    • McFlock

                      lol so now May 2016 is “in 2008, 2011 and 2014”?

                      Shit you’re a meathead.

                    • Mordecai

                      Read back through the thread. It shouldn’t take you long.

                    • McFlock

                      you’re just a liar.

                    • Mordecai

                      You need to learn to read. And be less of a plonker.

                    • McFlock

                      you’re the one who claimed to have heard similar things in time periods where it was impossible to have done such a thing.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      McFlock, you have to allow for the probability that Mordecai’s amygdala is enlarged to the extent that it clouds his self-awareness.

                      That is to say a dupe, rather than a liar.

                    • McFlock

                      lol

                    • Mordecai

                      “you’re the one who claimed to have heard similar things in time periods where it was impossible”

                      No. You’re confused about the ‘that was when’ comment. The left underestimated Key in the same way the right underestimated Clark. It’s been fun to watch Labour chew through leaders from the sidelines.

                    • McFlock

                      What, the bit where you said that was when he was below 40% and he was never below 40%, as PM, in an election year? So you could never have heard people saying similar things about John Key, given that circumstances never were never similar to begin with?

                      protip: this is where you get to support your assertion with links, like I did.

                    • Mordecai

                      “o you could never have heard people saying similar things about John Key,”
                      You’re either thick or deliberately obtuse. Here’s a clue… it will consume less of your limited intellect. Go across to TDB and search for posts by Frank Macskasy on Key’s popularity.
                      Geez I wonder why I’ve even bothered to give you that much lead.

                    • McFlock

                      still incapable of providing evidence of the impossible then? There’s a surprise. /sarc

                      Linky-winky, little liar. Comments from years 2008, 2011, 2014 please, just like you said. But not 2008, because he wasn’t PM then and TDB wasn’t operational until 2013.

        • Daveosaurus 2.1.3.2

          Key’s gone, in case you hadn’t noticed.

    • Richard McGrath 2.2

      46% after 8 years and a leader with wet dishrag charisma is almost miraculous

  3. red-blooded 3

    Well, if even Jane Clifton is ready to criticise, then the Nats really must be starting to feel uncomfortable. And let’s remember that the election campaign hasn’t actually started yet – there’s plenty of time for that downward trend to bite further.

    I thought the best part of this article was about Jacinda Adern and the misjudged attacks from the Nat women last week. She also makes the good point that Ardern has no intention of challenging Little for leadership and that a popular deputy is an asset, not a problem, as some others in the media have been suggesting.

  4. Brendon Harre 4

    On the related issue of Jacinda doing well in the polls. I have talked to a few people and we all think it is not a problem.

    Andrew appointed her because he thought she would be a great communicator and that decision has turned out to be true. It is a positive result.

    I bet in the coming months Bill will be wishing he had a deputy who was a good communicator and was popular with the public….

  5. BM 5

    National/NZ First looking like a certainty.

    • paul andersen 5.1

      but ,you and your mob hate winston,,,,,so hows that gonna work,? or is this yet another right wing sellout?? morally bankrupt

      • Rightly or Wrongly 5.1.1

        There was a lot of animosity between the Nats and Winnie due to perceived issues around Winnie’s use of trusts etc. back around 2005-2007.

        There was also personal friction between Winnie and John Key.

        Winnie paid for the first one by getting kicked out of Parliament in 2008 and now Key is gone the personal factor is a lot less.

        I have read some of NZ First policies and don’t have an issue too much with most of them.

        If Winnie doesn’t get too grasping for his baubles this year I could see a Nat/NZ First coalition working ok.

        • BM 5.1.1.1

          Yep, Key and Winston not a chance, English and Winston no worries, they’re both career politicians for a start so they’ve got that common ground.

          Done properly there’s a high chance that a National/NZ coalition could rule for another 2-3 terms.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1

            You’re reaching.

            NZ1st will not work with National. They may work with Labour but I suspect that they’ll sit on on the cross benches.

          • AB 5.1.1.1.2

            Nat/NZF will rule forever.The Key Mausoleum will open in Parnell in 2051 with the embalmed body of dear leader wearing a gay shirt and sucking on a beer. BM will queue for hours every Sunday to glimpse his yellowing hero.

          • Matthew Whitehead 5.1.1.1.3

            LOL Key was much closer to Winston’s politics than English is. Literally the only thing English has going for him that Key doesn’t is that he hasn’t publicly ruled out NZF as an ally before, and even that’s a bit of a stretch.

            I don’t pretend to know what Winston will do, but if he does go with National it won’t be because of Boring Bill English, it’ll be because Andrew Little screwed up his chance.

        • Cinny 5.1.1.2

          It’s not just a party leader Winny and his team would work with, it’s the party itself.

          Would Winny be happy and excited to spend time with and work alongside the likes of Brownlee, Joyce, Bennett, Barry, Smith etc? I’m not so sure he would.

    • ha bm – you are skidmarking all over the place – a good sign of just how scared the rwnj’s are.

      • BM 5.2.1

        Na, I don’t really care who wins the next election, won’t effect me in the slightest.

        if I was honest NZ could probably do with a left wing government coming in and trashing the economy and driving down stock and property prices.

        Currently everything is so over valued, labgreens would certainly solve that issue.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.1

          if I was honest NZ could probably do with a left wing government coming in and trashing the economy and driving down stock and property prices.

          Dude, trashing the economy is what National just did. In fact, trashing the economy is all that National ever does which is why we always see rising poverty under them.

        • Robert Guyton 5.2.1.2

          “if I was honest” – BM

        • I like the concession that you’re not currently being honest, BM. XD

    • Johan 5.3

      To BM: Good luck with that one;-))))

    • Richard McGrath 5.4

      Deputy PM Peters will roll wet dishrag English after a year

  6. yep I don’t expect bill english to make it to the election – he’ll be pulled down and scoffed before then and a new leader shall arise – as I have said before – beware of paula bennett – she is not stopping till she gets to the top and all will be trampled along the way especially that dirtydealcollins.

    • Ski 6.1

      7 and 30 versus 26 and 46, take your pick as to who will be pulled down and scoffed at.

      • Psycho Milt 6.1.1

        It’s all about whose prospects are looking better and whose are looking worse. Nat MPs will be asking themselves how many fresh disasters Bill’s best mate will deliver between now and the election, and if they’re instead picturing good news turning up on the subjects of housing or water quality, they really shouldn’t.

      • weka 6.1.2

        “7 and 30 versus 26 and 46, take your pick as to who will be pulled down and scoffed at”

        Ardern is not the first diamond Deputy Dawg, either. Winston Peters overtook Jim Bolger, who, of course, “never commented on polls”. It’s also worth remembering that Opposition leaders hardly ever outrate PMs.

        From the article that the post is about, because you appear to have missed it.

        And it’s not 30, it’s 41. We have this thing call MMP now.

      • Cinny 6.1.3

        The outgoing PM is not, was not and never will be elected PM by NZ voters. You will see, on the day following the spring equinox.

        Ski do you know why Nationals deputy does not feature on the preferred PM polls?

        • weka 6.1.3.1

          We don’t vote for the Prime Minister 😉

          • Cinny 6.1.3.1.1

            True that, but I’m sure those who voted National last election did not vote for Bill to be their leader.

            • weka 6.1.3.1.1.1

              Likewise every party (apart from those who are members in parties that do allow involvement in choosing the leader). Not sure what your point is there.

              • Cinny

                I guess my point is, English never will be elected by the people to lead the country. He will try and fail for the second time.

    • mpledger 6.2

      Paula Bennet hasn’t got the smarts, she’ll rely on the wrong person for support who will double-cross her to get the top job.

  7. ian 7

    It may be 7 and 30 versus 26 and 46 now but I don’t see what National has that would reverse, or even arrest, their slide.

    A few pp here, a few pp there, for the next six months. Remember they get tipped out at 40 – 43%.

    • Mordecai 7.1

      No, they don’t. All that happens is that NZF get more influence in a Nationsl led government.

  8. “A One News Colmar Brunton poll released tonight also shows a drop in support for Bill English as preferred Prime Minister, and a pick-up in support for the Maori Party, up from 1 to 4 per cent.

    …Little told the Herald the polling did not reflect the feedback to Labour about how Maori voters viewed the Maori Party.

    “Which is not very favourably. They are seen as having been shackled to the National Government for nine years and stood aside and let Maori homeownership fall, Maori homelessness grow and a whole heap of other things get worse.

    “I just don’t detect, and neither do the Labour Maori MPs, detect any appetite among Maori voters for the Maori Party having a role in Government.””

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11825906

    foolish little – yes stick with your polls you little key – those polls will help you not, those polls will drive your thick statements and be your undoing – and when you have lost and everyone is looking at you then you will know the truth about polls – ffs is he the best we’ve got?

    and for those who think I’m being too harsh

    “On Labour’s showing in the poll, Little said the results were unusual.

    “It’s not consistent with the amazing turnout we are getting at our meetings and the feedback all MPs are getting. The poll’s not bad for us, but there’s been no change in the last six weeks, which doesn’t seem right to me.”

    yep (shakes head slowly and sadly) udaman

  9. Tamati Tautuhi 9

    NZF will be holding the balance of power, however it is highly unlikely NZF will go into a coalition with National, I am picking it will be an Labour + NZF Coalition if they can get the numbers or a Labour + NZF + Greens Coalition, NZF always polls higher on Election Day they have some strong candidates and a strong leader who has stood the test of time, Winston has extensive political experience having been Deputy PM, Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs.

    The problem Winston and NZF has is MSM have sought to destroy him since the Winebox Enquiry when he attempted to expose corrupt business practices here in NZ.

    The Establishment here in NZ which controls the country are anti NZF as he has always tried to act in the best interests of all New Zealanders, he has links to te tangata te whenua, yet he bats for all New Zealanders, he is not anti immigration however he wants the discussion about what is best for all New Zealanders and New Zealand as a whole. The problem we have is the country is not mature enough to have that discussion.

    • weka 9.1

      “The problem Winston and NZF has is MSM have sought to destroy him since the Winebox Enquiry when he attempted to expose corrupt business practices here in NZ.”

      That and the fact that he betrayed his left wing voters that time when he went into govt with National after implying he would support Labour.

      I don’t see Peters as batting for all NZers. If he was he would be willing to work with parties left of Labour. That’s what MMP was for and Peters has pretty much taken a stance that the centre should rule.

      • dukeofurl 9.1.1

        His numbers back then meant only with national could he form a government easily
        labour + NZF gave 54seats when you needed 61. Which is exactly what NZF + national got.
        The other possible combination was lab+ NZF + Alliance to get 67. Dont think that was viable for Peters.

        • weka 9.1.1.1

          Why wasn’t it viable?

          • Tamati Tautuhi 9.1.1.1.1

            Jim couldn’t get his shit together, just became one big problem

            • McFlock 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah, for years I blamed peters for ’96, but it seems that anderton was playing hard to get and overplayed his hand. Clark couldn’t guarantee the numbers, so peters went with bolger, was the story in a couple of docos. And from what I recall of anderton’s later behaviour, sounds pretty typical.

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