Opinion Poll Shows Nothing Between Major Parties
20th June 2005
New Opinion Poll Shows Nothing Between Major Parties
A major new opinion poll by Fairfax New Zealand and ACNielsen shows Labour and National neck and neck in the lead-up to the forthcoming General Election with tax set to be a defining issue for voters.
The first in what will be a series of comprehensive nationwide polls by ACNielsen for newspaper owner Fairfax reveals several key points which signal a closely contested election and also give an insight into the issues likely to influence voters in the coming months.
The poll is a group initiative driven by the editors of Fairfax New Zealand's daily newspapers and will be produced every month in the run-up to the election and also in the days immediately preceding it.
The group recognised the need for an authoritative poll that not only asked key political questions but shed light on other topical issues.
“The public is getting an important insight into the mood of voters through this poll,“ said Fairfax New Zealand group editor, John Crowley.
“The details of each poll will reach over 1,000,000 of our readers through nine daily papers.” (And what about Stuff?)
ACNielsen is a global leader in market research and analysis, with long experience in political polling around the world. Last year it accurately predicted the final result of Australia's federal and state elections to within one percentage point.
The sample of over 1,100 respondents for each poll is large enough to give an accurate snapshot of how the voting population is thinking and drill down into trends by regional, political and gender groupings. The size means the margin of error is reduced to 2.9%.
The first poll asked respondents key political questions about party support and preferred prime minister as well as questions on the current issues of income tax, immigration laws, drinking age and the rural economy.
The poll showed Labour leading the party vote with 40 per cent support to National's 38% and New Zealand First in a strong position to hold the balance of power with 9% support. The Greens are the only other party to breach the 5% threshold,
Prime Minister Helen Clark retains her clear lead as preferred Prime Minister on 39% with Don Brash sitting on 24%. Winston Peters is the preferred leader of 9% of voters.
The poll also showed the large majority of voters (68%) believe political parties should state their coalition preferences before an election.
Respondents were also asked their views on income tax, immigration, the drinking age and the rural economy.
The poll revealed strong support (75%) for immediate income tax cuts. More worrying for the Government was the finding that 68% of Labour voters wanted tax cuts now. Support for tax cuts dropped slightly to 64% if they meant a cut in government spending.
Just over half of respondents (52%) thought New Zealand immigration laws were ``not tough enough``, although that figure jumped to 78% of New Zealand First voters.
Almost three-quarters of voters thought the legal drinking age should be raised back to 20 years old. Not surprisingly, those aged 18-24 were more likely to oppose raising the age (40%).
Respondents also displayed optimism about the rural economy with 57% believing it would ``stay the same`` over the next six months and 24% expecting it to grow.
The next poll will be carried out in July and will repeat the baseline political questions while adding further questions on outside issues.
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