The race to become the next government is effectively over, but there is intrigue in some of the secondary numbers
That’s a huge (but realistic) admission from someone who used to work for Helen Clark.
The headlines tend to concentrate on its head-to-head lead over Labour, which has climbed up to almost 24% in our poll of polls. But even more important is the lead that National and ACT together hold over the grouping of Labour and the Greens. That gap has grown steadily over the last year, from a low of around 10% in November 2010 up to its current level of over 17%. This translates into a seat advantage of around 21 seats, making a right-leaning government massively more likely than a left-leaning government
As remarkable as that kind of a lead is, it is nothing especially unusual. This has been the broad political situation in New Zealand since early 2009.
There has been a perhaps remarkable lack of volatility in the polls the last three years.
First, some commentators have been suggesting that ACT’s gambit when it took on Don Brash as its leader has already proven a failure, and there has been no improvement for ACT in the polls. That claim is false.
In April, we estimated ACT’s support at around 0.8%, whereas for the last two months we have estimated it hovering between 1.9% and 2.2%. The ACT vote has more than doubled since Don Brash became leader, and the rising trend has been fairly consistent. Of course, this is a far cry from what Dr Brash promised – I recall the number 15% crossing his lips in yet another ill-advised outburst – but it is not nothing.
That is correct, and in four of the five MMP elections ACT has got around 2% more actual vote than the polls were showing this far out.
Our Poll of Polls currently does not include the Fairfax polls, because they are new kids on the block. Including them, however, would make little difference to our predictions – less than 1% for each of the three largest parties, and substantially less than that for all the smaller parties.
I’ve included the Fairfax polls in the Curia average (there are slight difference in methodologies of weighting them) and I have National at 55.1% in the weighted average against 53.5% in the Pundit average. Also Labour at 27.5% vs 30.0% for Pundit. Curia has Greens at 9.4% vs 8.0% for Pundit.
The company that does Fairfax polls are Research International and they are not new. They used to be TNS which were TV3’s pollsters in 2008 – and they got closest to the actual election results.