Goff lowering expectations for Mana

Andrea Vance at Stuff reports:

Labour leader has admitted National’s could win the by-election if turnout is low.

His press secretary, , is standing for the seat, traditionally seen as a Labour stronghold. But yesterday Mr Goff said a low turnout would “jeopardise Labour’s hold on the seat”.

Goff is trying to do two things here. The first is to motivate Labour supporters to turn out and vote. He is right – turnout is important.

The second is he is trying to make the seat sound marginal, so that if Labour’s majority is slashed, it does not reflect so badly on them.

Mana is one of their safest seats. It (and its predecessors) have never been held by National. Mana has a larger majority than Lianne Dalziel in Christchurch East, Trevor Mallard in Hutt South and Jim Anderton in Wigram.

A few people point to the party vote margin at 2,500 and say this means it is not safe for Labour. But they make a fatal mistake. The releveant comparison with the party vote is between right and left, as both right and left voters will vote tactically on the electorate candidate (many green voters vote for a labour candidate and many ACT voters vote for a National candidate).

So what was the party vote for the right in 2008 in Mana? 39%. And the left vote? 53%.

In the median electorates, the right is 8% ahead of the left on the 2008 party vote. In Mana the right is 14% behind the left on the party vote.

Now this does not mean Hekia can not win. She has been winning endorsements from some non traditional National voters. Even and have come out and said people should vote for her or (partly because they fronted up onto their radio show).

But the reality is that no Government has ever won a seat off an Opposition in a by-election. I’ve checked back over 90 years. If Hekia wins, or even comes close, it will be a seismic event.

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