The line only one poll counts is right but it doesn’t mean that those interested in politics don’t take notice of opinion polls between elections.
However, there are reliable polls and there are rogue ones and Kiwiblog has a very goodguide on how to distinguish between them.
It’s something the Sunday Star Times ought to have applied when reporting on the latest Horizon poll and to be kept in mind by anyone reading:
Two-thirds of voters polled last month by Horizon Research believe National will be able to govern after the election, expected to be held in November.
But when asked to reveal their personal voting intentions, the result makes the election too close to call. National is by far the single most popular party, with 40.4% of the 1718 people polled saying they will give it their party vote, compared to just 28.3% for Labour. But the poll also predicts 8.9% for both the Greens and New Zealand First, 2% for Act, 1.7% for the Maori Party, and 1.2% for United Future.
When those parties are taken into account, a Labour-Greens-New Zealand First alliance (46.1%) would be a whisker ahead of a National-Act-Maori Party-United Future coalition (45.3%).
In every other poll in the past year National is around, and often above 50%, Labour rarely gets above 33% and New Zealand First, thankfully is safely under 5%.
It isn’t impossible, but highly unlikely, that National will continue to keep enough support to govern alone as the election approaches. It’s not impossible that Labour could lead the next government and that NZ First would be part of it.
But as Whowouddathort shows this poll is so inconsistent with others it can’t be taken seriously.