A number of recent polls have given pointers to where the parties stand with less than two months to go until the election.
National have been polling in the high forties through to mid fifties but are expected to drop back a few percent in the final count. They are aware of this and are trying to minimise that drop by playing as safe a game as possible.
They have had some hiccups with embarrassments through Claudia Hauiti (now withdrawn from candidacy) and Gerry Brownlee’s airport security slip-up. Hauiti was National’s lowest ranked MP so she won’t be a loss, and Brownlee has front footed the damage control with what appears to be genuine contriteness.
National have just announced their list with no real surprises. They will say this week what other parties they will be prepared to work with and give a nod to some potential support parties in electorates.
They have yet to reveal much about policies. There main plank seems to be more of the same, steady sensible management of the economy.
That will be enough to win the most seats by far but they are not expected to get enough to rule on their own so their fortunes may be dictated by small parties. They will be hoping Winston Peters isn’t the main dictator.
Likely result range 45-50%.
The polls have not been good for Labour with the last twelve results being in the twenties, as low as 23%.
David Cunliffe continues to fail to impress as leader. He says his string of apologies are behind him but he is dropping in preferred Prime Minister polls, the latest having him on 8%. Some hope he will show his mettle in leader’s debates but it’s unlikely he will do enough to shine over the seasoned Key.
Media are writing Labour off and talking more about how low they might go instead of how much they might get. There’s good reason for this, they look divided and disorganised.
Labour’s best hope seems to limit the damage and not get any lower than their record low in 2011 of 27.28%. A more common hope is probably that their vote doesn’t collapse.
Likely result range 20-29%.
The Greens bounce around in the polls, usually in the 10-15% range.
They look to be the best organised party by a long shot, and seem determined to finally get into Government. They deserve it on their own efforts but they are relying on Labour who will be worrying and disappointing them.
Without Labour improving substantially Greens look like at best competing for attention and influence amongst a mish mash coalition but more likely being denied by Labour’s failure.
Many voters are happy to see Greens in the mix but one negative is there is a wariness (and in some cases fear) of Greens getting to much influence, especially on economic matters. Some Green good, too much Green scary is a common sentiment.
Likely result range 10-15%.
NZ First have been polling from a bit under to a bit over the magic 5%.
Most expect them to lift a bit in the run up to voting as happened last year but National will be taking as much care as possible not to hand Winston Peters another opportunity like the cup of tea debacle.
Peters is a seasoned campaigner and the media help his cause because he is good for stories, but time will tell whether there is too much seasoning in the old warrior and too little substance in the rest of the party as the other MPs have failed to impress.
One thing that may make it harder is direct competition for attention and votes with the Conservative Party.
Likely result range 4-6%.
Poll results have been low for the Maori Party. That doesn’t usually matter because in all elections they have contested so far they have got more electorate seats than their party vote would give them so it has been unnecessary. Last election they got 1.43%.
It’s tougher for them in electorates this time with Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia retiring. It will be challenging for them to retain their current three seats, with some suggesting they might lose most or all of them.
There will be strong competition from the Dotcom financed MANA Party, but they may be helped by Labour’s woes.
For the first time the party vote may matter to the Maori Party, especially if they only hold one electorate seat.
Likely result range 1-2%.
Polls have been in the 1-3% range. It’s now looking unlikely National will help Colin Craig in an electorate so they may have to get 5% to make it. That will be difficult, especially if Winston Peters competes openly with them.
Formed just before the last election the Conservatives got 2.65% and hope to improve on that. They have had much more exposure but that may have lost as much support as it has gained. Craig still seems politically naive. He has tried to turn the ‘Crazy Colin’ meme to his advantage but that’s a risky strategy.
Conservative fortunes are relying on National’s decision this week but it’s not looking positive for them.
UPDATE: John Key has just stated that National won’t help Craig in East Coast Bays so Conservatives only hope is getting 5%, which looks a big hurdle.
Likely result range 2-3%.
Act has been polling poorly, often under 1%.
Act were in turmoil last election with a very Brash takeover and installing John Banks as Epsom candidate. Banks won to save Act but has had a troubled term.
Act have made a concerted effort to rebuild over two elections. They have split responsibilities between Jamie Whyte as party leader and David Seymour in Epsom. Seymour looks a good bet in Epsom but the political jury is still out on Whyte and Act.
Much could come down to how Whyte looks in the minor party debates. He is intelligent and has good political knowledge but can look to serious and too polite – he hasn’t been forceful enough in interviews.
Act may benefit from being an alternative to giving National sole charge.
Likely result range 1-3%.
UnitedFuture has been languishing in polls, as often on 0% as slightly above.
More than ever UF hopes seem to rest solely on Peter Dunne in Ohariu. His chances are reasonable there. He has held the seat for thirty years so is very well known. He hasn’t had the best of terms but seems determined to rebuild his credibility.
Dunne looks to have been helped by all the major parties:
- National have a new candidate who looks likely to campaign for the aprty vote only and has been given an almost certain list position.
- Labour’s Charles Chauvel resigned mid term and has been replaced by a relative unknown.
- Green’s Gareth Hughes has withdrawn from the electorate to promote youth and party vote and has been replaced by someone.
Like last election voters are likely to return Dunne and ignore the party. The party seems to be virtually ignoring the party.
Likely result range 0.3-0.7%.
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party
ALCP rarely feature in opinion polls, but they manage to get votes in elections. In 2011 they got 0.52%.
They are under new management this time and are likely to get some stoner and protest votes but 5% is just too high a hurdle for the influential media to pay them any attention.
Likely result range 0.4-0.8%.
Internet Mana Party
As a newly formed combo IMP have been polling 1-2%. They have a huge budget so will feature in the attention seeking stakes.
And while Kim Dotcom can’t stand as a candidate his attention seeking will keep him to the forefront of party success or failure.
Dotcom is promising a town hall circus five days before election day – he thinks this will destroy John Key and National but it could just as easily backfire.
His personal crusade is to oust the National Government. He is more likley to fracture the left wing vote and scare people off a Labour let government.
IMP’s monetary might will gain them some party votes but may fail in the ultimate aim.
Likely result range 2-4%.
IMP could be pivotal in the final result but it looks most likely to be a failure for them and a win for National with a few small allies.