We are entering an interesting phase of the election campaign and a number of recent events may have a critical effect on the eventual outcome.
Firstly nothing is more important in politics than momentum. The latest Colmar Brunton poll result 1 suggests that Labour may be developing some of that most cherished of political assets, momentum in the polls.
Thankfully the slide in Labour’s support has reversed and there has been a healthy increase from poll results with Labour polling nearly 5% above the recent Roy Morgan and a previous Ipsos poll results. Expect however for the right to renew efforts to attack David Cunliffe in the next couple of weeks.
Secondly I attended the West Auckland launch of the local Labour campaigns last Saturday. The launch was well attended with over 150 people present. Enthusiasm was high and many of the attendees were attired in red scarfs as a gentle but obvious reminder to the media that its criticisms of David Cunliffe had reached the naff stage.
The event made me reflect how 15 years ago I attended a similar but smaller gathering of people wanting to get David Cunliffe elected as the MP for the then seat of Titirangi.
David was the new kid on the block making his first attempt at Parliament and trying to topple the incumbent who was a National Minister. He came out from nowhere, he initially knew practically no one in the area but after running a tremendous campaign with the help of some very dedicated activists he converted a National held seat into a safe Labour seat and has held it ever since.
He is now engaged in a comparable contest but this time the stakes are so much higher. Because in less than 2 months he could be Prime Minister.
If you need a reason to realise how vital it is that he succeeds how about
This time he is up against a formidable machine whose practice of the black art of propaganda is the most cynical I have seen. There are a bunch of people down in Wellington spending their working lives devising ways to attack him and then feed their ideas to the media.
I do expect David to give this campaign his all. And like Titirangi 15 years ago if he meets enough people and gets on a roll then he may succeed.
Thirdly National has announced its list. No matter which way the results go it looks like three quarters of its next caucus will be male. National is trying to say that this is a merit based selection process but it is a strange world where men are considered to be three times as likely to be of merit compared to women. I am sure this will start to resonate strongly and negatively with women voters.
Finally John Key is due to announce this afternoon who National is going to do deals with. It is clear that United Future and ACT will be given assistance. It also seems more and more likely that the Conservatives will not. Key announced this morning that Murray McCully will be standing in East Coast Bays and the only way I could see Craig winning the seat is if McCully is stood down.
Key must appreciate that either by doing a deal or by not doing a deal with Craig there will be damage to National’s chances. The Conservatives would be electoral poison to centrist voters if a deal was done and if a deal is not done the Conservative vote will be wasted and not count.
We live in interesting times …
1 This post has been written in a style which right wing commentators usually use. Of course Labour needs to get its polling up further, there is a danger in relying on a single result, or comparing results from different polls and of course the reliance on landlines even with adjusting for bias means that survey results should always be treated with some caution.