Luke Malpass writes:
At ACT’s party conference in late May, president Tim Jago set what sounded like an outlandish goal: ACT wanted to double its number of MPs in the next Parliament from 10 to 20.
After the 2017 election I (and many others) thought an outstanding result for ACT in 2020 would be more than three MPs. If they stayed at one, they were in trouble. If they went from one to two that would be just acceptable. If they got to three MPs that would be a pretty decent result. Four or five would be awesome. And then they went and got ten.
Now 20 MPs is definitely a stretch. But not impossible. If they get 15% of the vote (with 5% wasted) they would get 19 MPs.
Seymour talks about “ACT’s voting universe”, which, according to the party’s research, seen by Stuff, is the proportion of the voting population that would potentially vote for ACT in the right circumstances.
He explains that a few months before the party scored almost 8 per cent in last October’s general election that universe was 16 per cent of the population. Today, it is 33 per cent.
“So that’s why we think we can double,” he says.
The size of your voting universe is vital. 33% is pretty high for a minor party.
Seymour goes on to say that the ACT’s research shows that of all potential ACT voters, about a third are former Labour voters. Certainly ACT events out on the campaign trail skewed younger and appear more traditionally working class then the ACT of yesteryear.
Seymour also thinks that his party is best positioned to grow into a party that attracts and retains the votes of many immigrants, because, in his words, many are “natural entrepreneurs”.
“We are actually stronger amongst Indian and Chinese at the moment than we are amongst European New Zealanders.
A third of potential voters being former Labour voters is important. ACT taking votes off National helps ACT but doesn’t help change the Government. ACT taking votes off Labour does.