Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Opinion Polls punish Labour and its mates

Two political opinion polls released on Sunday night by the two major TV networks reveal how the public feels about having draconian new laws rail-roaded through Parliament, with little concern for public opinion.

Both the 3News-TNS poll and One News-Colmar Brunton polls put the National Party firmly ahead of Labour, and also showed crucial dips for Labour's coalition and support partners. The result was 51-31% in the 3News poll, and 54-35% in the One News survey.

National leader John Key pointed to the poll results as evidence that New Zealand people want a change of government. He says they perceive the current regime as "arrogant" and holding "no answers on the big issues such as improving people's wages and income."

Crucially for National, Labour's allies who have been towing the party line on the anti-free speech "Electoral Finance Bill" also saw their poll support eaten away.
Support for the Greens - previously the highest polling of Labour's friends - dipped below the vital 5% threshold in both opinion polls. The party doesn't have the backup security of an electorate seat, so would be turfed out of Parliament.

The Greens have been a willing "support partner" for Labour, and have staunchly backed (despite protests from some of their members) the moves by Hillin Cluck and co. to introduce a bill which even former Labour PM Mike Moore describes as "without precedent in the free world".

NZ First is also in danger of exiting Parliament in less than a year, after leader Winston Peters lost his previously safe seat of Tauranga to National's Bob Clarkson at the last election. (Peters is still to announce whether he'll try again in Tauranga, or try his luck elsewhere.)

Other minor parties are polling low, but ACT's Rodney Hide and United Future's Peter Dunne both have the relative security of electorate seats, so will be able to sell their parties as viable options for voters, given that a vote for them is unlikely to be a wasted vote (as could be the case with the Greens & NZ First).

However, the one party that still is being fully figured into the calculations by the major networks is the Maori Party. While it's only polling around the 2-3% mark, the party won 4 of the reserved Maori seats at the last election (creating an overhang in Parliament), and are tipped to win 5-7 of the seats next year.

New Zealand's 2005 election campaign was very presidential in style, which cost the minor parties a lot of support. Look for the smaller parties to try and bolster their stakes over the next six months or so, and seek out points of difference to attract voters back.

* NZ Herald: Government thrashed in two new polls

* NZ Herald: Moore continues attack on controversial Electoral Finance Bill

Posted in |