100 days until the election

Most New Zealanders won’t be anywhere near the edge of their seats in anticipation, but it is 100 days until the election, or just over 3 months.

Election day is 23 September, but an increasing number of people vote early advance voting opens on 11 September.

If the polls and media dreams are correct then we may not know what our next government will look like for a week or two, especially if Winston Peters is an essential part of the coalition negotiations.

Tracy Watkins writes:  100 day countdown to the election – are you ready?

Most of us don’t need to be ready until September.

It’s 100 days till the election but you wouldn’t know it. The Government seems stuck on cruise control. And the Opposition is stuck in the poll doldrums.

The pollsters failed to see events like Brexit and Donald Trump coming. And everybody thought British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn was unelectable. Could the ground be shifting beneath National and no one know it? Or are we immune from the forces that polarised voters in Britain and the US?

The political and social situations have been quite different in those country’s elections.

Note that France elected a moderate centrist president, Emmanuel Macron: French elections: Macron’s party buoyant but turnout slumps

Emmanuel Macron’s fledging centrist party La République En Marche has launched a drive to get voters out in the second round of the French parliamentary elections after its very strong first round showing was marred by a record low turnout.

Less than half of voters cast their ballots, however, raising fears that the president’s mandate could be weakened by a lack of participation.

French voters have been relatively uncontroversial and uninspired.

Stuff:

Duncan has crunched the numbers on a staggering 40,000 responses to a joint Stuff.co.nz/Massey Survey which, while not scientific, has thrown up findings that should be a must read for any political strategist.

‘Not scientific’. And indication only.

The survey asked questions that aren’t usually asked by traditional political polling and dug deep into the mood of the country.

Duncan says 43 per cent of those who responded think of us as discontented – and there is a big disconnect between young and old. The older you are, the more likely you are to be content.

Is this any different to the past? Without knowing trends this may not mean much. And ‘43% discontented’ doesn’t men discontented enough to vote based on that discontent.

The surprise underlying those findings was the make up of the survey itself; it leaned heavily toward men, and National voters. Yet, revealingly…

One should be cautious about what assumptions are made about a non-scientific survey that is not representative of the population.

…two thirds of them agreed that inequality is too high and or growing fast, while 72 per cent agreed there was a major housing crisis in New Zealand right now.

What would be revealing is which party people think is best to deal with these issues, but that isn’t apparent.

But a majority of voters in New Zealand thought New Zealand was headed in the right direction, according to polls, compared with voters in the US and Britain who had been strongly negative for many years.

So while there is discontent and there are recognised issues most voters are happy with where New Zealand is headed. The US and UK votes were anti-status quo – but here there is not much policy difference between the major parties and even the Greens are trying to appear as not too radical.

The end of August is when the campaign proper will get underway, and there won’t be any escaping it once the politicians hit the campaign trail.

That’s the words of a political journalist. Most people manage to avoid politics and politicians most of the time.

But the biggest lesson from overseas – and even from our own recent elections – is to expect the unexpected. We could be in for a bumpy landing after all.

I’m sure the media would like plenty of the unexpected, but they could be disappointed. It will be hard to be more controversial than the last election when ‘Dirty Politics’ and Kim Dotcom/Internet Party/Mana Party created a lot of headlines but barely moved the voters.

There could be a few bumps after the election amongst coalition competitors but life is likely to go on much the same for most of us.

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