A number of people are predicting that the “teapot” saga will harm National on election day.
It’s impossible to tell whether these predictions have any merit A series of polls have been released in the last day indicating that support for National is largely steady, while NZ First seems to be on the rise. Support for Labour appears to be hovering in the late 20s, which is probably a sign that all the media focus on the PM has taken some of the attention off Phil Goff and his party.
One thing to remember with all these polls is that they are not an instant snapshot, and that polling takes place over a number of days. The Herald DigiPoll, for example, was taken from last Thursday to this Wednesday. Much of the polling took place before details about what John Key and John Banks might have spoken about became public, and before Key’s ham-fisted efforts to shut the story down became front-page news.
In summary, then, we can't yet predict how these events might influence the final outcome.
But even if National manages to escape its poor handling of this matter and form the next government, that does not mean the party or John Key are unharmed. John Key’s relationship with the media may have been irreparably damaged, and he will no longer be regarded by many journalists as a “good guy” or a decent bloke.
John Key may regret his decision to get the police involved in a political matter, over something that has nothing to do with any moral principle. We may bitch and moan about the news media’s obsession with celebrity stories and fluff pieces, but if you want to get journalists really pissed off the thing to do is use heavy-handed tactics to prevent them doing their job.