Fifteen years after Don Brash’s Orewa speech restored National’s fortunes and 12 years since the launch of John Key’s smiley-wavy alternative, the party continues to poll at 45 per cent, just a couple of points away from governing alone.
Such high polling over many years and three leadership changes is near miraculous. Whatever is said about the lost opportunities of Key’s Government, neither he nor Steven Joyce can be accused of leaving National’s brand in anything other than outstanding shape.
Neither Jacindamania nor Labour’s $20 billion Budget spend-up has dragged more than a vanishingly small number of voters across the crucial blue-red line.
National is polling almost exactly the same as before Ardern’s elevation in August. In polling terms, she has done nothing but cannibalise her left.
It is astonishing that National continues to poll so high, despite both a leadership change and going into Opposition.
Here’s what the major opposition party has been after around six months of a new Government under MMP:
- 2009 – Labour at 31%
- 2000 – National at 32%
Ardern will be as aware as anyone how vulnerable she is.
Modelling, published on the Labour-aligned The Standard of 2000 potential election results derived from this week’s polls, suggests she has no more than a 50 per cent probability of a second term.
Push through their catch and release policies for repeat violent offenders and it will be much less than 50%.
The Coalition’s measurable promises of a billion trees, $3 billion for the regions, a net 100,000 new houses and materially reducing child poverty as measured by the Children’s Commissioner are all set to fail. As it becomes impossible to hide the lack of progress on these fronts, expect ministers to cut corners and for scandals to arise.
And zero road deaths and zero suicides!