People on the left hoping Labour’s rise in recent polls was pointing to certain success in next year’s election will have been disappointed by the results of two polls released yesterday:
The Fairfax Media poll, showed Labour and National were both up a couple of points.
. . . Labour is up two percentage points to 33.6 per cent since the last Fairfax poll, completed in August before the leadership spill that saw Cunliffe replace David Shearer.
But National is also up two points and holds a huge 17 point lead over Labour, winning the backing of more than 50 per cent of committed voters. . . .
Most of Labour’s support appears to have come at the expense of the Green Party which does nothing for the left block.
The One News Colmar Brunton poll showed a gap of only 11 between National and Labour:
Support for Labour and its new leader has stalled in the latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll, with neither the party or David Cunliffe making any gains over the last few weeks. . .
But when it comes to preferred Prime Minister John Key still appears to have the golden touch, up one to 43%, while Mr Cunliffe hasn’t built on his strong start and is unchanged at 12. Winston Peters is steady on 4%.
In the Fairfax poll National had enough support to govern alone but that is very unlikely to be reflected by actual support in next year’s election.
Under MMP support for minor parties will determine which party governs.
In the second poll the right and left can both get to 60 but that’s not enough:
National has 58 seats and with one each from Act and United Future the centre right can muster 60.
But Labour’s 43 seats plus the Greens 16 and Mana’s 1 also gives the centre left 60.
The Maori Party with its three seats and New Zealand First could be the kingmakers.
This assumes NZ First doesn’t get over the 5% threshold and that Act and United Future both win a seat.
Before anyone gets too excited about the results, it’s only a couple of polls and the changes are in margin of error territory.
At best it shows that changing leaders hasn’t made much difference to Labour and if Cunliffe had a new leader’s honeymoon it’s over.
But we’ve more than a year until the next election.
Winning a third term was always going to be hard but not impossible for National and that hasn’t changed.