Green election prospects

In a Public Address discussion on polls and party positions – Hard News: Meanwhile back at the polls – the election chances of the Greens came up.

(Roy) Morgan has National up seven points to 52.5% support, and Labour and the Greens both down to a combined 38%. The Greens shed 4.5 points to slump to 9% support, their lowest level since 2011.

That’s a significant slip for the Greens at a time when they haven’t seemed to have done anything controversial.

But a friend put another interpretation to me on Friday: that the public has had a look at Internet-Mana and decided a potential centre-left coalition is really not to its taste.

That’s quite likely although the appointment of Laila Harre as Internet Party leader and the arrangement with MANA happened more than half way through the polling period.

It could also be accumulated wariness of the chances of too much Green influence in the next Government.

Bart Jansen commented:

As a point of anecdata, I had a conversation with an in-law who used to vote Labour but wouldn’t this time because he thought The Greens would then get to control the country.

That could be quite common, I’ve heard similar sentiments expressed.

It isn’t the first time I have heard that. It’s an interesting and frustrating situation for both The Greens and Labour. What’s weird is people don’t seem to apply the same fear and distrust to the influence of The Maori Party and ACT over National.

Greens have fourteen MPs and are pushing for more. That would be a significantly more influential number in a coalition than ACT’s current one/zero and the Maori Party’s three.

I think there is something strange going on out there particularly in the older (voting) public. It seems that there is very little acceptance that The Greens have shed their more extreme views and are now a much more serious party and hence more reasonable.

They are promoting themselves as more serious and more reasonable, but they are still widely seen as much bigger spenders if they get into Government, and there is a sizeable resistance to moving more towards a handout mentality that the Greens are linked to.

I don’t think Labour distancing themselves from The Greens will solve the problem, I suspect that what needs to happen is for both the parties to establish what the coalition will look like and just how much influence each party will have on overall policy. But I doubt anyone is keen to do that.

Greens seem to have been keen on doing that but Labour opted out.

Greens have fluctuated between 9% and 15% in polls, often through give and take with Labour’s results. Greens have benefited from Labour’s weaknesses and look a good bet to at least maintain last election’s improved result (but they have tended to poll better than they achieve in elections).

The next few polls should give us an idea of the impact of Internet-MANA who could take some Green support, but they also make the Greens look comparatively less scary – to many floating voters Labour+Greens doesn’t look as risky as Labour+Greens+MANA+Internet.

I think Greens have always had fairly widespread partial support, with many people being happy with a healthy Green voice in Parliament – but those some partial supporters are wary of too much Green say, especially on economic matters. As far as Greens are seen, environmentalist good, economist bad. So Greens through Norman pushing for wider credentials and especially promoting financial ambitions may attract some but it scares a lot more.

What Greens might benefit most from is if the Labour vote collapses as it did for National in 2002. But that won’t help the chances of a left leaning coalition.

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  1. Politics Daily | Homepaddock

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