Voters want change, but not that change

Voter ‘ardour’ is mostly very laid back at best. Trying to inspire voters and emulate shifts in support like in the US and UK are going to be very difficult in New Zealand.

Vernon Small:  Labour may have tacked too close to National to spark voter ardour

Look at any of the recent polls, including this week’s TVNZ Colmar Brunton one, and the message is clear. The electorate is roughly divided between the Government and the Opposition parties. But with NZ First “floating” in the middle that gives Labour and the Greens a less than even playing field. heading into September 23, against National in the mid-40s.

The polls also show that while punters are not exactly falling over themselves in favour of Bill English as preferred prime minister – down 3 points at 26 per cent in the TVNZ poll – he is streets ahead of his rivals including a fourth-placed Andrew Little on 5 per cent.

Little has been insisting all week that the people he meets around the traps tell a very different story; that they want change. Attitudinal surveys by Ipsos MORI and Massey University/Stuff support that view – with the added sense that many are looking for a strong leader..

Bu there’s no real contradiction there.

It may just be that he and Labour are not offering change that is significant enough to energise them – and that Little doesn’t personify the change they want.

I think that a lot of floating voters would consider a change from National, who have looked increasingly arrogant and have potentially been discredited and damaged by the Barclay story timed suspiciously like a campaign hit job.

But change to Andrew Little and change to Labour is not inspiring any sort of ardour.

The Green attack this week suggests there has been little interest in a rush to vote for them either.

At the moment most of the ‘change’ support has been going to NZ First, but also with a bit to the Maori party and to TOP.

But I suspect there is a lot of voter uncertainty over what change might be palatable, or whether the status quo may be the least worst option.

There could be a big move in party support late in the campaign. This won’t prove polls wrong, it will just prove that a significant number of voters make up their minds in the last weeks leading into a campaign.

National support could hold up as the safe option, or it could just as easily collapse.

Labour looks unlikely to suddenly ignite interest, so their support could hold at a poor high twenties or it could collapse.

Greens seem likely to hold about the same or could get a bit higher, they don’t seem to be able to make a big step forward.

NZ First could jump – 20% has been talked of as possible – but voters could just as easily be deterred by the Green-NZ First bickering and decide that Winston Peters is too unpredictable and too big a risk.

TOP need a miracle.

The rest will struggle to improve.

Voters want a change to better but that doesn’t seem to be on offer,


  1. Ray

     /  July 13, 2017

    I wonder if the Greens moves to diss NZ First or black mail the electorate if they don’t get into power might blow up in their face and really drop their vote to under 10% .
    If those voters want stability National might really be the winner, if so the gnashing of the Lefts teeth will be wondrous to behold

  2. Ray

     /  July 13, 2017

    PS Is Blazer off duty?
    Been moved up to Bomber place?
    Haven’t seen him around for days

    • Brown

       /  July 13, 2017

      Shut up for goodness sake. You are tempting the gods by mentioning his name.

  3. alloytoo

     /  July 13, 2017

    Maybe voters want a change from Andrew Little?

  4. Stability will win – middle class voters actually turn out and vote. National will run the all the parties in the opposition row boat ad again – and it will clearly show what you would get with a weakly lead Labour party-centric coalition. Those in the middle who decide elections won’t want a bar of the chaos that will ensue if Labour some how cobble together the numbers

    National will be the first cab off the rank to form a government.

    Gracinda know there best chance is not trying to hard this time around and then rolling Andy – because 2020 should be a walk in the park as a 4th term National government expires of natural causes [i.e. infighting and leadership fatigue]

    From a National strategic viewpoint it would be better to throw this election adn allow the Left to form a government – it wouldn’t last long and then another 3 term ministry for National would beckon…

  5. Corky

     /  July 13, 2017

    Beggars can’t be choosers. But it does show voters how stuffed up the Left of politics is, no matter which way the sums are done. Thinking of the Left in power is a no-go at present.

    Right is best, under the steady leadership of PM, Billy English.

  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 13, 2017

    Sad Andy, not Angry Andy. Vernon lost his compass. National has tacked on top of Labour, not the reverse, and left Labour nothing to get angry about with their strategy of doing nothing to scare the horses and covering off every storm in the teacup.

    And in fact that is the opposite of the arrogance PG claims to detect. Labour is left proposing exaggerated solutions which would most likely make problems worse and requiring political partners who cannot work together.

  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 13, 2017

    Farrar has data on how Labour has lost the working class vote to National since 1999:

    Hardly surprising when Labour has favoured the non-worker and university student over the workers.

    • Corky

       /  July 13, 2017

      Blue Collar is a dirty word in Labour…mainly because they don’t know what a blue collar worker is. Contrast that to Billy English in a singlet, shearing. Can’t see Andy doing that. Or Cindy doing rousy work.

      • Gezza

         /  July 13, 2017


      • PDB

         /  July 13, 2017

        “Or Cindy doing rousy work”

        • Corky

           /  July 13, 2017

          That’s one fine rousy. I was wrong..damn wrong. Plus she’s on a David Brown..damn fine, too.

          • Gezza

             /  July 13, 2017

            Mud all up her boots & on her work trous. Looks the real deal alright. 👍