McCarten on polls

Matt McCarten makes the very valid point that the most important gap is not the one between National and Labour, but between National and Labour/Greens which is only a single figure lead.

He is right.

National can not assume that any party except ACT will choose them over Labour. Well Future NZ will but their chances seem bleak with no electorate seat. A Labour/Green/Progressive/ coalition is quite likely and one may even have a Labour/Green//Maori/ grouping to overcome.

However the National Labour gap is not without some relevance and use. Take the example results below:

National 46% 55
Labour 30% 36
4% 5
ACT 2% 2
5% 7
United Future 2% 2
Green 10% 12
1% 1

Now in theory National might not get to form a Government. National/ACT/United Future is 59 seats. Labour could do Labour//NZ First/Green/ with 61 seats.

But think about the public reaction if the party on 30% gets to form a Government instead of the party on 46%. I would say there would be a huge backlash against MMP.

Parties like the Party or NZ First might prefer to do a deal with Labour, but may realise that the party with 14% more of the vote should get to form the Government and will support that party, even though not their first choice. It’s one thing to choose the smaller party when the gap is only 2% or even 6%, but if the gap is huge, it will have some effect.

So McCarten is right that the gap is between the centre-right and the centre-left. But the National/Labour gap also is of some importance.

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