The latest Roy Morgan poll makes for some interesting reading.
This particular poll has jumped all over the place in recent months. What that says about its reliability is anyone’s guess.
Anyway, Labour’s done well in the latest poll, though support for National remains solid. The Nats would probably be able to form the next government, but if Labour’s support holds up in the next poll or even improves, John Key may start to worry. National doesn’t have as many coalition options as Labour, because its support parties are struggling in the polls. It’s likely that unless John Banks wins Epsom ACT will be wiped out. Even if Banks wins that seat, he may only bring in one other ACT MP. Peter Dunne has a fight on his hands for his seat, and it’s not clear whether he’ll survive. Labour seems confident that they can win Ohariu if they run a good campaign. And the Maori Party may end up having at best two or three MPs.
If the Nats get say 45% of the popular vote, Dunne loses, and ACT and the Maori Party get between them say four seats, National could find itself agonisingly short of the numbers needed to govern.
But it’s not all good news for the left. The Greens have taken a hit in the poll, down from 10% to 6.5%. There’s a theory (I don’t know how reliable it is) that support for the Greens in the opinion polls is always higher than at the ballot box, because a lot of young people who don’t bother to vote on the day will tell the pollsters they support the Greens. If that is true, and if this latest poll is reliable, the Greens are not out of danger. On present numbers Labour will need the support of the Greens to form a government.
I wouldn’t read too much into the statement by the Greens during their annual conference that they might be able to work with National. In reality they’re poles apart on just about every issue. The statement was intended to make it clear to Labour that support for the Greens should not be taken for granted. And fair enough too.
It’s hard to know where NZ First will end up, but my suspicion is that they’ll fall short of the 5% mark. That’s not necessarily a disaster for the left, because Winston Peters is regarded by some as toxic, and if Peters does end up with say 4% of the vote they won’t all be coming from the left.
Anyway, as much fun as poll-gazing is, the Roy Morgan is just one measurement, and other polls may tell a different story.