The Spinoff reports:
Phil Goff has established a commanding lead in the Auckland mayoral race with less than four weeks until voting begins. The former Labour leader and Mt Roskill MP recorded 60.3% of decided voters in a new poll conducted by Survey Sampling International and commissioned by The Spinoff in association with Jennings Murphy. His closest challenger at this stage is former Xero executive Victoria Crone, on 15.5%.
Crone has almost double the current support of John Palino, who finished second to current mayor Len Brown in the last election. The news is dismal for the other candidate from the right, Mark Thomas, who has the support of only 3.3% of decided voters, trailing even leftwing firebrand Penny Bright, on 4.6%.
Even the combined backing for the three leading centre-right candidates – Crone, Palino and Thomas – at 26.7%, remains less than half that of Goff.
So Goff has a 45% margin. Massive.
While the leading candidates have nailed their colours to the mast of rates control, “reducing rates” ranked third when respondents were asked to select the top priority for a new Auckland Council. The leading issue, selected by 50.7% of people, was housing, followed by public transport on 33%, reducing rates on 29.5% and cutting bureaucracy on 19.2%. Picking up the rear was berms, which 1.2% selected as the top priority, while 3.2% said none of the above.
No surprise with the issues.
There was a largely grim report card, meanwhile, for Brown, who is standing down after serving two terms as the first mayor of the amalgamated Auckland, and will hope to be remembered more for the Central Rail Link and the Unitary Plan than the sex scandal that threw his mayoralty off course a few days into the second term. Just over 41% of those who answered rated his performance as “fairly bad” or “awful”; 36.7% said “average”; and 21.7% “excellent” or “fairly good”.
Only one in five voters say he has been a good Mayor.
UPDATE: The stories have glossed over almost 50% of the sample were undecided. So Goff has 60% of decided vote but 30% of total voters. Still a commanding lead but not a sure thing.