Colin James is doing a poll of the four most recent polls each week until the election.
The first one shows that the gap between a National-led government and a Labour-led one is just 4%:
National’s polling average may have peaked during July at 52.5% in the four polls up to mid-July. By end-July it was at 50.3%. That is still a very healthy figure under MMP but if National sheds only 4% by election day, it cannot count on a third term, even with help from ACT, United Future and the Maori Party.
At the comparable time before the last election National was averaging around 56%. It dropped 9 percentage points from there to 47.3% at the election.
(The POLL of POLLS is an arithmetical average of the four most recent major polls, and will appear as a special series of election columns every Saturday on radionz.co.nz until after the election on September 20.)
This isn’t all bad news.
National’s continued high polling could have led to complacency from supporters who thought they didn’t need to vote or could afford to play with their party vote and from people who want National to win but not too well.
Another important election pointer also looks to have gone through a peak in July: Roy Morgan’s measure of whether people think the country is going in the right direction or the right direction. Those saying “right direction” were at 60% in late July, down from measures ranging from 63.5%-65.5% through the previous two months.
But that is still a very high reading. In a first-past-the-post election it would point to an easy re-election for an incumbent government. It is one reason why National continues to poll so highly.
This isn’t an FPP election and while the positive view of the direction the country is heading in is good for national it isn’t good enough for complacency.
The contrast between a stable government led by a strong National Party and an unstable government led by a weak Labour Party which gives lots of bargaining power to the ill-assorted parties they’d need to have on board is stark.
But there is still a lot of work to do to convince enough voters to do the right thing – in all senses of the word.
It might help if more people realise that David Cunliffe’s yeah-nahing over whether or not Internet Mana will be in a government he leads is just words which don’t speak nearly as loudly as the actions of his candidates:
The marriage between Internet Mana and Labour which John Minto thinks is made in heaven would be hell for New Zealand.