Another round of polls is upon us, and the news is all good for National and dire for Labour and the Greens.
With the last Roy Morgan Poll also showing National up, it's fair to assume that public opinion has shifted once more in favour of National.
Why is this? Everyone will have their own theory, but I'm not particularly surprised that Labour are down. They haven't really done much in recent weeks to justify a rise in the polls, and their leader's performances to date have been tentative and unconvincing.
David Shearer may well grow into the leader's role, and I have previously written that he needs to be given at least a year to perform, so I'm not about to call for his replacement. On the other hand, it would be nice to hear him speak about something, anything, with a bit of conviction. When David Shearer gives one of his big speeches about how New Zealand could be like Finland or Denmark, he may as well be talking about Narnia. It means nothing to most traditional Labour voters.
Above all Labour must focus on the issues that influence voting decisions, if they wish to win in 2014. Most people hate asset sales, but they hated them in 2011 when National announced the asset sales policy. It's clear that most voters in the 2011 election weren't motivated by the issue of asset sales, because if they had been National would not have been returned to office. Labour's decision to focus most of its energy on forcing a referendum on asset sales, rather than on winning back the people who didn't bother voting for Labour last time, seems risky.
Labour Party strategists will be hoping the reality of the asset sales plan eventually dawns on voters, and that opposition to the plan results in a shift in support towards the centre-left. But many of the people who traditionally vote Labour but didn't in 2008 or 2011 will have more important things on their minds. Things like affordable housing, the rising cost of living, and unemployment. Those are the issues Labour must target relentlessly.
I don't subscribe to the view that Labour is ultimately doomed, but the party has lost its way and appears to be unable to clearly explain to voters what it stands for. What it needs now above all else is strong leadership, and a renewed focus on the things that matter to those traditional Labour supporters who didn't bother to vote in 2008 or 2011.