Written By: - Date published: 8:42 pm, October 23rd, 2018 - 100 comments
Categories: act, greens, Judith Collins, labour, maori party, national, nz first, Simon Bridges - Tags: colmar brunton, polls, pollwatch
We return to Pollwatch for the first time this quarter with almost two months since our last political poll, and a major scandal on our hands. If you’d like the raw figures, head on over to One News for the text or video versions of their coverage, as we don’t have time to go over the raw numbers too much, other than to say the most likely government now shows us not needing New Zealand First for a left-wing coalition. If that’s a trend that continues to the next election, I predict a lot of hugging.
— Colmar Brunton (@ColmarBruntonNZ) October 23, 2018
So in a fit of terrific rounding from TVNZ that gives us 101%, we have a projected seatcount of between 61 and 73 seats out of 121 for the left wing bloc, making a right-wing government only possible at a snap election if this poll were a rogue, (odds similar to NZ First’s share of the vote) and a Labour-Green government the most likely outcome given my current coalition and electorate assumptions. Hardly surprising given there’s been a scandal for the opposition, but amazing that even with such a small shift from the National Party, (suggesting a shake in confidence but not a move in political support) they’re so roundly out of power, showing how weak they are in reality.
The shifts are likely National eating ACT’s residual vote, Labour eating most of National’s departed support and some minor party votes, or possibly some NZF support with NZF gaining roughly equal numbers of departed Nats, and the Greens gaining some of Labour’s former support and some residual minor party votes.
Obvious factors effecting this other than the scandal itself: a perception government parties are hard at work while the opposition is squabbling among itself, Labour shutting up during National’s scandal and putting its money where its mouth is on being slightly kinder and focusing on ordinary kiwis in a very Green Party-esque strategy, and New Zealand First looking like vindictive children.
Compare this to National’s previous lowpoint in MMP, it looks superficially quite good: They have 43% here vs 30.5% the first time Bill English ran, but you have to remember that the 43% represents virtually the entire center-to-right spectrum in New Zealand with NZF in coalition with Labour, arguably representing centre-left conservatives, and ACT all-but-gone, only 2005 pre-election polls were more disastrious than this, with a 37.5% poll for centre-right parties, and 9.6% for a New Zealand First party that wasn’t aligned with the then-Labour government. Even attributing a third of New Zealand First’s votes in 2002 to the left, the worst pre-election poll still gives a better poll for the right than this one- far from being in a position to be relieved it’s not so bad, as Bryce Edwards argues,1 Bridges has arguably just presided over the worst poll for the New Zealand right since MMP came in, as well as the second poll this year where they’ve been overtaken by Labour in the party vote, despite Labour having two electable allies and National having no significant backup. Looking at National’s consolidated result as a party that’s eaten up all the right-wing ideological space conceals that the Right is simply de-energized, more so than even during Bill English’s racist, Cadbury-parody of a first campaign.
Add to that only a 2% support for his handling of recent events, a result weaker than climate science denial, and his previous gains in Preferred Prime Minister being split with Judith Collins, and we have a National Party that’s desperately trying to look united and ready to cease back government, while showing obvious cracks and a leadership vacuum.
I would actually be surprised if National ever gets significantly below 40% without supporters having fled to some other perceived conservative or right-wing party, so there really isn’t so much further down to go before the united front shatters.
At this point, even a divisive and disastrous run by Collins for the leadership is looking attractive to the party base, although they’re obviously still cautious about changing leaders in opposition after seeing how poorly it served Labour pre-renewal. And even at the nadir of centre-right support in MMP politics, ACT still can’t drum up any significant party vote support.
Assumptions: ACT win Epsom, New Zealand First will coalesce/align with Labour if possible, Labour will ditch NZF in favour of the Greens as a coalition partner if possible, no overhang seats for National or Labour, no new parties or parties out of Parliament for more than one term are elected to Parliament.
1I suggest a new minimum standard for New Zealand political commentary on polls: the ability to add together blocs of political parties in your analysis. Perhaps show producers shouldn’t invite any commentator who engages in more superficial coverage than that?
The Greens were over threshold in 100% of simulated margins of error from this poll, NZF were only over threshold in 46.2% of them. (That number should be approach 50% as we increase the number of simulations with them on exactly 5%, so this is a bit of a run of bad luck for them.) There were no quirky Labour governing alone or hung parliament scenarios cropping up this time.
On reading graphs: The “seat variance” shows what assuming the extreme left- and right-wing variants of the margin of error delivers our political parties, (yeah, I keep categories open for parties that currently have no chance, as I needed them open in the past) currently placing NZF in the left bloc. The ” Government probability trend over time” graph on the right shows the shifting possibility of various parliamentary scenarios since I started simulating likely government results, with the distance from the previous line colour on the key indicating share of probability in each poll. (a lack of lines at the bottom indicates a probability of a National(-Act) government existing, the dark grey line dropping indicates an increasing chance of Labour-Green coalition or Labour minority government)