the latest TVNZ poll is crap for Labour. What's more interesting to speculate is why.
I actually don't know why the poll is so dire. But I'm reluctant to put it all down to Labour's tax announcement. The poll closed the day before Labour's official policy release, and while the policy was being discussed for days before in the press, I'm not sure how much of it will have been noticed by the average voter.
And if the CGT has voters fleeing Labour, why is it that many of them seem to be leaving Labour for the Greens? The poll seems to indicate that most of the loss to Labour is being picked up by the Greens. That's not ideal from Labour's point of view, but if you have to lose votes to someone it's better that it's a party you intend to work with.
Still, the poll's a bit of a kick in the head for those of us out there doorknocking or delivering pamphlets, but it just means the party activists will have to work even harder.
You certainly meet some different folk when you go doorknocking. Most people are nice, even the people who vote for the Evil Ones. And you never do know what to expect when someone opens the door. A little old lady I spoke to today at one house was incensed by Labour's tax package and spent the next ten minutes berating me about the evils of Maori and Polynesian people. I had not until that moment considered the racial implications of the new tax policy, but I suspect that if I had been selling vacuum cleaners the old dear would have delivered much the same speech to me. I'd have got angry if she hadn't seemed like such a sad and lonely old woman.
But the good thing about knocking on doors is you get the chance to talk to a range of people from all walks of life. It's a good innoculation against the bombast and sneering that passes for political debate in many sections of the blogosphere. So the doorknocking will continue.
I wouldn't throw in the towel just yet over one poll, because only a couple of polls ago Labour was polling in the mid-30s. And I'd wait until the next couple of polls before judging whether what effect Labour's tax package has had.
This is not head-in-sand stuff. It's obvious that the poll isn't good news. But throwing in the towel won't help either, and one day (whether it's after this election or next), Labour will be back in government. So the fight will go on.