National’s three-point rise to 50% in the latest One News Colmar Brunton poll has come as a surprise to some commentators.
Labour’s four-point fall to 28% was probably not.
It is only one poll and anything could happen between now and the election but Kiwiblog shows where the two parties were at the same time in the last election cycle:
In April 2013 National was at 43% and Labour 36% – a 7% gap.
In April 2016 National is at 50% and Labour 28% – a 22% gap.
He points out that Labour leader Andrew Little is on only 7%, three points behind Winston Peters.
This isn’t a strong position from which to launch a winning election campaign.
In another post, Kiwiblog looks at party favourability:
. . . National is viewed favourably by 58% of NZers. That helps explain why 47% voted for them.
Labour is viewed favourably by just 35% of NZers. . .
National has the least unfavourable – only 28% of NZers dislike National. This will come as a surprise to hard left activists who live in a bubble where 100% of their friends dislike National. . .
Labour is on 41% for unfavourability.
National at +30% is the only party to have net favourability:
National’s continual popularity confounds its critics and many commentators.
There are several reasons for it and one of the biggest is that the government focuses on the basics while Labour gets distracted by sideshows.
That doesn’t mean everything the government does works well. I am tribal National and there are some things the government does I don’t like and some it doesn’t do I’d like it to, but those things don’t matter as much as the basics – the economy, education, health, welfare, and security.
And of course, one big reason National is doing so well is that Labour isn’t.
National can’t rely on that if it wants to win a fourth term, a viable government needs to be there for better reasons than a hopeless opponent but Labour’s continuing focus on side-shows and showing its incompetence in opposition keeps demonstrating it is not a viable government-in-waiting.