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The More Things Change…

The latest Roy Morgan poll indicates the next Parliament will look much like the last and one of the striking impressions from the time series of the New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll is how little change there has been in the political landscape since 2011.

As some would say “Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose” as few voters seem in any mood for a change with today’s poll putting National on 46.5%, up 1.5 points since late August and seemingly with a number of options to form the next Government.

The most obvious candidate is NZ First which rises again 2 points to 8% almost mirroring its rise in the polls prior to 2011.

If National remains at the current level of support (and this would be a remarkable result) John Key might not even need Winston Peters depending on how his preferred allies ACT, United Future and the Maori Party go on Election Day.

Support for them has risen slightly overall with the Maori Party 1.5% (up 1 point), ACT 0.5% (down 0.5) and United Future 0.5% (up 0.5) and all appear to be in the hunt for an electorate seat.

The Conservatives could be another option for Key with them unchanged in the Roy Morgan poll at 3.5% and dependent on a lift in support in the dying days of the campaign to get past the 5% threshold.

Unless there is some seismic political event or the polls are massively underestimating left leaning voters it is difficult to see how the Labour/Greens bloc could form a Government of any sensible shape or form.

In the Roy Morgan poll the Labour/Greens alliance slumps to 37.5% (down 4.5 points - the lowest since November 2011). Support for both main opposition parties has slipped – Labour (24%, down 2 points) and the Greens (13.5%, down 2.5) less than a week before Saturday’s Election. The Internet-Mana Party alliance is at 1% (unchanged).

The polling period (September 1 to September 14) began just after the resignation of Judith Collins as Justice Minister, so there should have been time for voters to digest the implications of the “Dirty Politics” book and the subsequent fallout.

The Dotcom/Greenwald/Snowden “Moment of Truth” came after the poll closed and the other parties will be hoping this may eat into National’s support to take it below the 45% level where it is probable National would at least have to deal with NZ First.

It would take a large change to create the position where Labour and the Greens would be a workable option for Peters.

During the polling period there was a brief time where there was some debate on policy - Labour’s proposed capital gains tax was heavily attacked by National and National’s rather sketchy “statement of intent” about tax cuts policy was widely derided. There was also another Leaders Debate and Minor Leaders debate televised, though no one dealt any killer blows.

There was also a bit of flurry of coverage of the Greens saying how they could “work” with National. This was hyped up as them offering the possibility of helping National forming a Government, this was quickly knocked back as the Greens just saying they could work with National on policy issues in Opposition. Though of course this was read by some as a tacit admission Labour were doomed.

Aside from this almost all parties continue to be starved of publicity oxygen in the media as most coverage has been of Key defending himself, National and the Government against various attacks from third parties.

The other unknown in this campaign is the level of early voting running almost 3 times the level of 2011. The left have been pushing hard to get their “non-voters” to vote early and some have been surmising this is what is happening.

Whether this is the case will not be known until the votes are counted. In 2011 advanced votes favoured National ahead of its overall final result. There have been reports of heavy voting in advance university booths, whether these are voters who would have voted anyway is another unknown, but it would indicate some potential lift for left parties.

Countering this snow is forecast in the south and rain across the whole country on Election Day which never bodes well for turnout.

For the full poll results go to New Zealand Roy Morgan Polls

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