I hadn’t managed to comment on the most recent political poll until now, but it suggests that the November election could be a tight contest.
After the last Roy Morgan Poll David Farrar observed that National had dropped only 2% over the last three years, while support for Labour had increased by 3%. Farrar gleefully wrote:
If that rate continued it would not be until almost 2020 that Labour outpolled National.
Yet in last week’s Herald Digipoll the gap between the two main parties reduced from 21.7% to 15.1% in one month.
If that rate continues Labour will be outpolling National by October.
I’m not for a moment suggesting that such a thing will happen. It does illustrate, though, how erratic the polls can be.
Labour wouldn’t necessarily need to catch National in the polls to govern after the election, because it has more coalition options. If the Greens can get 8% of the vote and Labour can move up another 5-6% the election may come down to the wire. The common wisdom six months ago was that Labour had no show without Winston Peters. But since then ACT and the Maori Party have imploded. A Peters-less parliament could still have a Labour government by the end of 2011.
That really isn’t as unlikely as some people may think. The Greens are somewhere between 6-10% in most polls, and Labour’s recently been scoring in the mid-30s. A strong election campaign could see them pick up more support. They haven’t yet released any major policy, so if they can come up with good policies that are well-costed they could see their numbers moving up.
The Nats aren’t without options of their own, but none of them are sure things. The ACT brand is so tarnished that there’s no telling what the folk of Epsom might do, and the Maori Party is likely to take a pounding in November. Peter Dunne’s seat is marginal, and Labour will push hard to win it this year.
The biggest uncertainty is the Rugby World Cup and whether it will affect the political mood of the nation. Nobody knows yet.
The election promises to be a gripping contest, whatever happens.