Labour were down 27.3% in the 3 News/Reid Research poll this week, a drop of 2.2%. Former Labour Party president Mike Williams said yesterday “I think the Labour Party won’t be terribly unhappy with that result”.
Really? They should be horrified.
This follows 28% in a Roy Morgan poll and 23% in a Fairfax/IPSOS poll last week, both trending down.
Labour sunk to a record low of 27.48% last election. That they are polling at a similar level now, less than three months out from this year’s election looks terrible for them.
Poll results leading into the last election:
They should be very unhappy.
Williams was interviewed by Guyon Espiner on Radio NZ yesterday in Another poll brings more bad news for Labour:
Espiner: When you and I spoke about this last time you said that if polls continued to show Labour in the earlier to mid twenties then people would start to worry that they could lose their seats, and their could be some issues for the leader. Are we there yet?
Williams: No. No, twenty seven is almost exactly what Labour scored in the last election, so no seats are under threat and the caucus will be relatively quiet. Um, it’s not a great number, but it’s, I think they’ll be breathing a sigh of relief Guyon, because they had a poll, the IPSOS Stuff poll earlier in the week that said they were on twenty three.
Now that is a very dangerous number because then your vote can collapse but twenty seven, twenty eight, I think they’ll be happy about that, particularly given that the capture period was during the Donghau Liu scandal…
There is quite a bit of talk about the risk of Labour’s support collapsing. Polling in the twenties is very risky territory, and some sitting MPs will be getting very uneasy.
Espiner: Really? I mean, I know you’re a glass half full guy on this stuff…
Williams: …you have to be…
Espiner: …but really Mike, I put it to you that twenty seven percent effectively means you can’t lead a government. I mean would it be credible to be the leading partner in a government on that sort of number, even if you could stack it up with all your mates?
Williams: Well it depends on what all the other parties get of course. Then you’ve got to remember that Labour scored twenty seven percent in the last election and were ten thousand votes away from leading the government, so anything’s possible. This is MMP.
Only if Greens, Mana, NZ First, United Future and the Maori Party made governing agreements with Labour. They would have needed substantially more votes to actually have been able to form a workable government.
Espiner: Yeah, but don’t you think these trends, um, I mean you compare it to the Fairfax poll, but if you look at TV3’s last poll, they were at twenty nine I think, and now down to twenty seven, the trend looks to be one way doesn’t it.
Williams: Well, you could also explain that by the capture period, and the capture period appears to be at the worst of the Donghau Liu allegations which of course have all been swept aside now and turned out to be fabrications [they haven't], so honestly overall I think the Labour Party won’t be terribly unhappy with that result, and look upon it as something to build on.
Two days earlier David Cunliffe was talking up Labour’s chances after the release of their party list.
Cunliffe confident Labour will poll in 30s
Labour leader David Cunliffe says his party has “every expectation” of polling well on election day and bringing new MPs into parliament.
Labour unveiled its party list on Monday, but questions have been raised about how many of its candidates would make it in as list MPs, based on current polling.
Support for Labour has been sitting just under 30 per cent across most recent polls.
If current levels of support carry through to the election, Kelvin Davis – ranked number 18 on the list – would just scrape in as a list MP, if he fails to take Te Tai Tokerau from Mana leader Hone Harawira.
None of the party’s new candidates would make it into parliament.
But Mr Cunliffe is confident Labour will poll “well into the 30s” on election day.
The morning after the poll Jacinda Ardern wasn’t looking or sounding terribly happy on Firstline.
Jacinda, those poll ratings are not looking great. Why are they in decline, and can you reverse them, have you got the time?
Ardern: Yeah I mean it’s fair to say we’ve had a rough couple of weeks and I’m not going to argue that those polls are good, we do need to do better, um but I would say that eighty days is still a very long time in politics, and it doesn’t feel to me as if we haven’t had as much time to talk about some of the policies we’ve announced even in recent times, our new tax plan for instance which was only announced this week.
Once we start talking to voters about some of the plans that we have to improve the New Zealand economy, reduce inequality, those are the kinds of ideas that I think will make people start to consider their options.
The problem is Labour has been trying to talk to voters for months. According to some analysts the negative polls are largely due to people moving from ‘Labour’ to ‘undecided’.
Polls could change and trend the other way, but for that to happen Cunliffe and Labour need to be seen to change significantly. What they are doing now is clearly not enthusing voters.
Labour should be terribly unhappy with poll results of 23%, 28% and 27%. And they should be doing something about reversing them. Same old parrot points won’t do it. They have to somehow look competent.
At least one thing may have worked in their favour this week – after political point scoring turned against them they seem to have come to the same realisation as Claire Trevett that Pointscoring politics in danger of boring voters.
These four in particular need to stop boring voters and significantly step up their credibility quotient.