A reader sent us this graph. It plots President Bush’s approval rating and the price of petrol. (the price of petrol is upside-down, a fall in the price is a rise on the graph)
I’ve plotted the same graph for Labour’s support and petrol prices here.
The pattern is the same. While it is obviously far from only factor that influences poll numbers, populations’ growing discontent with the price of petrol is resulting in Bush, Labour, and every democratic government I’m aware of are losing support. That’s a major challenge for Labour as an incumbent government and a gift to National, despite the fact they have no ability to fix the problem.
The flipside of the message is simple: there are plenty of votes in easing voters’ petrol pain. National may look at doing so with some kind of tax cut on petrol Key isn’t keen on it but that wouldn’t stop him. But tax cuts can only offer temporary relief and opens up a hole in the infrastructure budget. The real solution is offering kiwis alternatives to buying petrol, by encouraging alternative fuels and investing in public transport.