By Selwyn Manning - Scoop Co-Editor
A One News-Colmar Brunton poll now records Labour leading national in the popularity stakes. Labour has gained five points to 44 percent and National has dropped three points to settle on 40 percent.
Labour Overtakes National In Latest Colmar Brunton Poll
In the preferred Prime Minister stakes Helen Clark now has a 12-point lead with 37 percent. Don Brash has sunk seven points to 25 percent.
The poll shows Labour in the lead for the first time since February when recently elected National Party leader Don Brash lifted his party to a 17 percent lead after delivering a controversial race-orientated speech in Orewa in January.
At that time Labour was on the back-foot dealing with a no-win position over the foreshore and seabed issue and subsequent dissention within its ranks which eventually saw executive member Tariana Turia leave the party, form the Maori Party, and win a by-election.
Labour's upturn in the polls occurred after the public supported Prime Minister Helen Clark's handling of the Mossad spy diplomatic row with Israel. Clark took a no compromise stance and refused to interfere with New Zealand's judicial handling of the case as Israel had requested her to do.
Support for National has diluted after Roger Sowry announced his retirement from politics and Brash began to tinker with the positioning of his front-bench - his demotion of Simon Power to chief whip while cementing his pecking order at number three on the front-bench was described as bizarre.
Minor party positions appear to be adjusting making way for the Maori Party which has gathered in three percent support - the Green Party is on four percent down one percent, New Zealand First four percent, also down one percent, ACT is on two percent down one percent, and United Future is steady on two percent.
Labour 44 (+5 since last month)
National 40 (-3)
Green Party 4 (-1)
New Zealand First 4 (-1)
Maori Party 3 (+1)
Act 2 (-1)
United Future 2 (-)
If an election result mapped the poll, Labour would
have 57 MPs, seeking support from possibly four Maori Party
MPs to take power. National would have 51 MPs. The One
News-Colmar Brunton poll of 1000 voters, taken between
August 9-12, had a margin of error of 3.2 per cent.