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Fitzsimons Edges Ahead in Latest Coromandel Poll

The latest TV One Colmar Brunton poll of the Coromandel seat shows Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons nosing ahead of encumbent National MP Murray McLean.

The poll shows a clear-cut two horse race with Fitzsimons on 39 per cent, three points ahead of McLean on 36 per cent. The next candidate is Labour’s Margaret Hawkeswood on 13 per cent followed by the Alliance’s Tony Bird on eight per cent.

ACT have decided to avoid splitting the right vote in the seat and have not fielded a candidate. The anti-National vote of the Greens, Labour and the Alliance combined is a clear majority of 60 per cent of the electorate vote, however the test will be whether that support is prepared to swing behind Fitzsimons to defeat McLean.

McLean won the seat last election as a result of vote splitting on the left and will be hoping it happens again.

The seat is crucial to the Greens who need Fitzsimons to win to have MPs in parliament without crossing the five per cent threshold. The Greens are currently polling around three per cent of the party vote which would secure them four MPs.

Not only is the seat crucial to the Greens, it could also prove essential to the ability of the left to form a new government. Most polling shows Labour and the Alliance would need Green support to have a majority in the House and Fitzsimons has categorically ruled out supporting a government of the right.

The pressure now swings onto Labour. Despite Helen Clark’s carefully coded messages to Labour supporters in the seat to vote for Fitzsimons, Hawkeswood’s support has remained surprisingly firm. It is too late for her name to be withdrawn from the ballot paper and both Clark and Hawkeswood will be aware that a much more explicit message to Labour supporters is now required if they wish to remove any element of chance of Fitzsimons taking the seat.

The Alliance’s Tony Bird will offer nothing, still angered by the Greens decision to split from the Alliance, and the party would probably have a coup on their hands if the Alliance hierarchy instructed Bird to endorse Fitzsimons.

Murray McLean however says he is still confident of winning the seat and there are still two and a half weeks of hard campaigning to go. Fitzsimon's lead is inside the margin of error and a crucial factor could well be the 15 per cent of undecided voters in the seat.

The Coromandel is still by far the most significant seat to watch this election. It is the single seat that alone could determine the shape of the next government.

ends

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