Political opinion polls come so thick and fast during an election year it is tempting to pass over them with indifference.
The results of two announced at the weekend, though, were so contrary to conventional political wisdom that they demanded attention. …
A well-received Budget took the heat off last week, but the consensus was that the first opinion polls taken while those events were still fresh in voters’ minds would punish the Government.
The outcome was quite different – not only were National and the Prime Minister up and Labour, its leader David Cunliffe and most Opposition parties down, National would, if the results were translated into votes at the election, win sufficient seats not to need a support party.
The well-received Budget may explain part of it. One of the polls found that even two-thirds of those who identified themselves as Labour supporters backed it.
But another part of the explanation for the poll results may be that what transfixes those in the Wellington political bubble can often be less than earth-shattering in the wider world where most voters live.
I think that is right. I think Labour especially suffers from Wellingtonitis because so few of its MPs come from provincial areas. The test is what the mums are talking about at the school gates or what the chatter is in the smoko rooms. Almost none of them were talking Oravida.
The Herald editorial:
So much for Oravida, Judith Collins, Maurice Williamson. National’s troubles of the past two months have evaporated in two separate public opinion polls taken since the Budget. Colmar Brunton, for TVNZ, and Reid Research for TV3, both find more than half of their sample intending to vote National. This must be devastating for Labour, whose sustained barrage on Ms Collins in Parliament over the past two months does not appear to have moved any votes.
They have moved votes. From Labour to National.
Four months out from the election, Labour is the party in trouble. It ought to be polling well above 30 per cent by this stage to have much hope of success in September. If its result is not 10 or more points higher at the election, it must be doubted it could lead a credible government.
David Cunliffe said his aim is to poll higher than National – at a minimum get into the 40s. 116 days to go.
Labour leader David Cunliffe said of the latest polls, it is “still fairly early days” and they would “bounce right back again”. It is very late in the day. Most voters make up their minds well before the election campaign begins, though it is true that campaigns restore voters’ usual loyalties. Labour is likely to do better than 30 per cent, National will almost certainly fall short of 50 per cent.
But right now the prospects for Labour could hardly look worse. It has fired its best shots in the past two months and the voters are unmoved. The economy is growing, the Prime Minister is popular and so far there is no prevailing mood for change.
But as both editorial say, Labour might make it through a Labour-Greens-NZ First-Mana-Dotcom alliance.