National should be starting to get worried about the poll trends.
Before the election National was consistently in the 50s in the polls. This eased back to a 47.31% election result, showing an expected reluctance of the electorate to give one party all the power. National was quite happy with this, it was a record high vote and a record high percent.
Now we have settled in to the new term the poll results are starting to confirm a trend that will be a concern for National. The last three poll results:
- Tv3/Reid Research 45.8% (2-7 June)
- One News/Colmar Brunton 47% (26-30 May)
- Roy Morgan 44% (14-27 May)
All those results are down on previous polls. The TV3/Reid result released yesterday was down 4% from it’s previous poll. On it’s own it’s possible to be not too worried about that (if you’re a National supporter). The poll was taken after the budget, in the middle of the Parata/class size debacle and before the retraction of the policy.
David Farrar illustrated this:
Being just 2% down from the election night result, for a poll taken during the week of non stop headlines about class sizes is not that bad a result. Imagine what they could do, if they get their game together!
The problem is National is not getting their game together. They are dropping the ball, throwing forward passes, offending in the ruck and missing goal. National are looking like the party of Blues.
One of the most important perceptions that won National a second term was one of competence. Voters thought National were the party most likley to manage the economy competently and safely.
Now it’s hard to avoid seeing an aura of incompetence. And arrogance of power.
Last term John Key was cut some slack on some surprising stances, superannuation being a notable one. His categorical “no change” position could have been seen as decisive leadership.
This term a reiteration of that same stance is starting to look like pigheaded and blind to reality intransigence. Signs of losing his touch and looking out of touch.
And that’s not the only instance of instant refusal to listen to many voices. He seems to have some sympathy towards marriage equality but he doesn’t think it’s important. It may not be important to him, but it’s a very important human rights principle.
And it’s not just the Key that is unlocking. Parata is another obvious example, and at the same time her policy unraveled Paula Bennett raised some oddly extreme suggestions on trying to control who could become a parent.
Last term National got away with being busy doing their job of running the country.
This term they are starting to look remote and out of touch. if they want to stop their slide they need to stop slipping up, but they also need to get onside with the people, they need to be seen to listen and take notice. Not just when forced to by an uprising against an embarrassingly poorly thought through bit of education policy.
National have been careless with knives and scratched last term’s teflon. Egg is starting to stick to the pan – and to the face of National.
Steady as she goes won’t cut it any more. National have to win back the confidence of the electorate.
And the first place to start must surely be an inquiry into the management, culture, privacy and direction of ACC.