Labour’s poll support has slipped after an initial surge following David Cunliffe’s election as leader, the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey shows.
The Maori Party would hold the balance of power if the figures were translated to an election result.
With the left and right blocs fairly evenly split, it could be a close election next year.
Neither National nor Labour would be able to form a government without the Maori Party.
Labour has fallen 2.3 points in the survey to 35.4 per cent. In the September poll, it had a surge in support and could have formed a government with just the Greens and Mana.
National has risen 3.1 points and Prime Minister John Key has somewhat recovered in the preferred Prime Minister stakes, after taking a 9.4 point dive in the last poll.
He has jumped 6.1 points to 61.9 per cent, well ahead of Mr Cunliffe on 16.5 per cent.
This is a remarkable level of support for National, to be so close to the support it got at the last election when it’s at the end of its fifth year in government.
Labour will be very worried.
The party has climbed from its rock-bottom 2011 election result but hasn’t been able to dent National’s support and new leader David Cunliffe has failed to increase support for the party or himself.
. . . Mr Cunliffe was elected in September after the resignation of David Shearer in August.
Mr Shearer’s personal popularity in a Herald-DigiPoll survey peaked in March this year when he was preferred by 18.5 per cent, which Mr Cunliffe has yet to surpass, and the party vote at the time of 36.4 per cent was close to its current polling. . .
There’s at most 11 months to the next election.
That’s plenty of time for things to go wrong for a government but it’s not much time for the bigger opposition party to start looking like a government in waiting and convince the voters it’s ready and able to do a better job than the incumbent one.
It’s not helped by the retirements in National which are providing opportunities for renewal.
Labour provides a stark contrast, still stuck with much the same line up of tired, old faces who put New Zealand into recession before the rest of the world and doesn’t appear to have learned from their mistakes.
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