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How far has National really fallen?

Written By: - Date published: 12:01 pm, January 28th, 2022 - 16 comments
Categories: Politics, polls - Tags:

Because I love accurate comparisons and because the media typically do a shit job of looking at political polls, I decided that a look backwards to a comparable poll in the last parliament.

So One News – Colmar Poll from the start of the mid-term year – early Feb 2019, the election, and the latest poll.

DateEventNATLABNZFGRNACTTOPMRINCP
22–26 Jan 2022Poll32402911221
17 Oct 20202020 election25.650.02.67.97.61.51.21.5
15 Mar 2019Chch shootings
9–13 Feb 2019Poll4245360.90.61.40.2

I left in the significiant event that occurred after the Feb 2019 poll because it saves explaining to the bewildered with Jacinda Derangement issues talking about Jacinda’s ‘luck’ about the actual sequence of events.

Obviously the significiant political shift at a polling level between the two polls.

  • National dropped 10% over the last 3 years and Act went up by 10%.
  • Labour dropped 5% and Greens went up by 3%.
  • Generally the very small parties have increased a tad, but are still unlikely to gain seats in parliament.
  • Nat/Act are now 43% rather than ~41% in Feb 2019
  • Lab/Green are now 49% rather than 51% in Feb 2019

Overall it looks like the right are making very little headway in an overall goal of gaining the treasury benches. They have clearly just been shifting a lot of support from National to Act.

On the left, the Greens have made steady progress. Labour, as you’d expect from a second term governing party has been slowly dropping support – but little of it appears to going right.

I find the leader preferences tedious and usually irrelevant for overall results. I guess that the media need to get their talking points somewhere because they seem to have problems with understanding numbers. However for what it is worth…

LeaderFeb 2019Jan 2022
Jacinda Ardern41.835
Christopher Luxon?17
Simon Bridges5.00.4
Judith Collins6.20.2
David Seymour?6

I’d expect that most of the Luxon 13% rise is the usual honeymoon. However it only resulted in a party vote increase of 4% to National, probably mostly from a 3% drop to Act’s soft support. That kind of minimal translation of personal support to party support is pretty much what I’d expect from visible leadership.

What leadership counts in our parliamentary system is if a party house leadership can weld their caucus together in common cause. That is something that will take some time to show for a first term National MP catapulted into leadership. Especially since the National caucus and party organisation have had quite a few fractured years to get over.

Over the last 3 years, skipping all of the Covid-19 and Christchurch shootings, mostly what you can say from the polling numbers over the last 3 years is that National is severely diminished – their support appears to have mostly gone to Act.

But on a conservative/progressive balance – nothing much has changed over the last three years. As government lead, Labour has been slightly leaking support. But the real surprise is that the Greens as a smaller party associated with the government have been gaining support – that has been unusual since the first MMP parliament came in in 1996.

16 comments on “How far has National really fallen? ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    Love your assessment (of The Greens) lprent!

    I concur.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    Indeed a succinct overview that party strategists on all sides would benefit from. When I see the Nat leader preaching to the converted instead of swing-voters I interpret it as political advisors on holiday (at best) or complacency due to arrogance/entitlement.

    I wonder if the new TOP leader will pull a rabbit out of his hat? I'm surprised they still hold 2% of the electorate – a sign that not all blue-greens are within National.

    There's potential for ACT to operate as a significant handbrake on National now. Luxon has pulled back less than half those who shifted to ACT due to Seymour out-performing Collins, Muller & Bridges.

  3. tc 3

    A chunk of luxons honeymoon bounce will be because he's not Collins or a beltway trougher…..yet.

    It’s optics and not ability driven imo.

  4. tsmithfield 4

    As I pointed out another thread, there is only a six point gap now between the right block and the left block.

    So, only a three point swing required in the next 18 months to be on level pegging, which isn't a lot.

    The past three years National has lost its way after Key and English left which left a bit of a power vacuum that has taken awhile to resolve itself. And Labour has had all the oxygen with Covid. So it has been a bit hard for opposition parties to make much headway.

    But the next 18 months are going to be very interesting with inflation rocketing upwards and Omicron making people feel a bit less cosy.

  5. What leadership counts in our parliamentary system is if a party house leadership can weld their caucus together in common cause.

    Indeed. And noticeably absent over the past 3 or 4 years has been any major defections from the Labour caucus.

    Which suggests that Jacinda, for all she's only a woman (!!) has a remarkably tight rein on her fellow MPs.

    All a good sign – a united caucus.

  6. observer 6

    Unless a new party is formed or an old one returns (NZF? unlikely) then the next election will be the first under MMP with no "pivot party" in the mix i.e. one that could support either Labour or National.

    The Maori Party has been such a party in the past, and might keep their options open for maximum leverage. In theory the Greens could be too. But realistically, unless National under Luxon signal a major shift in their outlook (a big ask with the current ultra-conservative caucus), they aren't going to be acceptable to anyone except ACT.

    So Luxon's task is harder than any previous National leader. Unlike Key he can't credibly say "Vote for a National government, we'll be in charge, don't worry about the irrelevant add-ons".

    Luxon can't do this to ACT, for example:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/326503/Key-vetoes-Douglas-cabinet-post

    Well, he could try!

    • arkie 6.1

      I see the Greens as a pivot party, but the fulcrum isn't placed between Labour and National. If people vote strategically the pull to the left could be significant.

      • Dennis Frank 6.1.1

        the Greens as a pivot party

        Worth keeping in mind but the potential remains just that until suitable context arrives. National has hitherto been too stupid to factor that in. A culture shift within is the thing required to make it become feasible. Dunno if Luxon has what it takes.

        Nor his advisors. No sign of intelligence as yet. The bluegreen card remains unplayed. Neanderthals in all directions…

        • arkie 6.1.1.1

          One could argue the ‘bluegreen’ card is in Labour’s possession. That makes it difficult for the traditional right to let go of the ‘denialist voters’ card. Their only relevant criticism could be that Labour didn’t do eco-capitalism fast or hard enough.

        • Stuart Munro 6.1.1.2

          I think Nicola Willis looks intelligent. Not trustworthy. Not empathetic or sympathetic. Not charismatic. But in possession of a few working synapses. Puts her way ahead of the rest of her party – but without a plausible policy platform it may not do her or the party much good.

          • Dennis Frank 6.1.1.2.1

            Well it would impress me if she were to take the intiative in trying to improve their culture. Even just the initial shift out of stasis would suffice. Y'know how Thatcher took control off the guys in her party despite being in the heartland of the patriarchy? Just takes attitude, nerve, then being resolute.

            • Stuart Munro 6.1.1.2.1.1

              The example she needs might be Hercules, not Maggie. That there is an Augean stables.

  7. Pataua4life 7

    This is a shit analysis. The only date that counts is between election day 2020 and now, i.e a massive drop from the left, anything before that becomes mute because the public had its say and we start a fresh cycle. Trends are what is important

    Would have expected better

  8. tsmithfield 8

    I would agree. I wouldn't call the analysis as "shit" as it is accurate so far as it goes.

    But more recent trends are more relevant than historical trends. In fact some analysis models allow weightings for this.

    More relevant is the trend since July 2020. As Swordfish pointed out on the 27th in Daily Review, the left block has dropped from a lead of 21 to 6 in approx 18 months. A drop of 15. With about the same amount of time to run to the election, the trend would suggest the left block is in big trouble, if that trend continues.

  9. GreenBus 9

    The "Covid Election" narrative has all but disappeared of late. How strange with Omicron about to break out. The pandemic response could once again be the winning of the next election, if the incumbents maintain the kindness and caring they are likely to be rewarded again by an appreciative population. Even if it turns to custard for a while during the peak/s. The likely strategy of Nact to open up, with resulting sickness and death levels unacceptable and will not be forgotten.

  10. Corey Humm 10

    Iirc Cunliffe got a new leadership boost of around 36-37% , Luxton has had nothing but positive media coverage bordering on salivating. He hasn't actually said anything much about the economy other the word economy and media says "he's so good on economic matters", I'm shocked he's not at 35% but also he's not any different than previous leaders just insert "angry reaction about today's announcement"

    Luxtons biggest problem other than the fact he is an urban mp with an urban front bench trying to win back the regions is that he has to juggle regional, Urban, suburban, conservative, liberal, open everything up business wants with suburban and rural "shut the country down" wants, Pro vax , pro passport with anti vax anti passport, liberal conservatives with anti abortion religious conservatives.

    If he says one thing in favor on one of those groups the other groups will ditch him. If he comes out in favor of vax and passports the anti vax and anti passport people ditch him. He's actually stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    And if he does come out not too different from the govts position on vax and passports and Act goes all"freedumb" then centerists will take one look at act and go to labour. The greens may be annoying with their identity politics and woke madness but everyone knows labour won't really listen to them, Act the new incarnation is a different beast.

    From what I can tell apart from the angry antivax most of the anger comes from passports (which is reasonable, they can't be a long term solution) OR labours absolute failure on housing and inequality, people want more not less, I hear rich people say benefits should be higher, never thought I'd hear that, so I don't see how the people that are angry that labour hasn't been labour enough are going to go and vote for a guy who wants house prices to go higher cos he's made millions a year off the increases. If anything I can see them going lefter.

    I genuinely do wish there was more choice, I wish top and an alliance style party and even nzf were in parliament. Id rather those parties than act.

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