State of the polls

We are getting towards the business end of the campaign, with advance voting starting in a week and less then three weeks until election day.

After years of Paddys and others breathlessly claiming ‘if an election was held today’ the polls are finally starting to really matter – although not as much as Gower’s breathless typical overstatement when announcing last night’s poll result.

  • “The election is on an absolute knife-edge” – it currently looks to be a blunt knife, with no clear winner in the current numbers.
  • “Enter the king-maker…” – Gower and others have been promoting someone as a ‘king maker’ for years, inaccurately as it turns out in the last election which did actually end up quite close, as our MMP elections tend to be.
  • “Mr Peters would face a hard decision here…” – playing off Baubledum over Baubledee shouldn’t be too difficult for the veteran.
  • “Here comes what might be the closest election New Zealand has ever seen…” since the last election.
  • “It is suddenly a showdown…” between parties standing for election, like just about every election.
  • “Every vote counts.” Amazing analysis.
  • “The stakes simply could not be higher ahead of Monday’s debate. My political analysis is this: it’s going to be massive”. Last Thursday’s debate was talked up as yuge, but it ended up disappointing a number of pundits for being too tame – in other words, it provided insufficient controversy for over the top headlines.

The actual state of the polls

Four polls over the last couple of weeks have had quite similar results – two public polls (Colmar Brunton and Reid Research) and two internal party polls (Curia-National and UMR – Labour).

I’m usually very wary of internal polls because all the details are not revealed and trends can’t easily be determined, but last weeks reported results were much in line with the public polls.

  • Colmar Brunton had Labour slightly ahead of National and the other three had National holding on to a slim lead – this may be just poll variances, or it could be that Colmar Brunton measured a peak surge from Labour that has since settled back a bit.
  • Greens seem to have recovered a bit from their sub-threshold plunge, and look good odds to survive, but probably not by much.
  • NZ First support has virtually halved in the last few weeks. Not long ago Winston Peters seemed hopeful of beating Labour for second spot, now he must be nervous about trends downwards.
  • The rest of the small parts are fighting for crumbs. Maori may or may not get a second seat off the list, ACT are struggling to grow back to being more than a one MP party, and TOP look like coming up well short.

It has come down to mainly a two horse race between National and Labour.

With Greens and NZ First not far from the threshold and smaller parties struggling for attention and support it’s possible that NZ First, Greens, ACT and the Maori Party could all be dumped from Parliament, and with United Future effectively gone that would leave just the two large parties. However I think most of them at least are likely to remain.

Voters are uncertain

What I’m detecting though is that there is still quite a lot of voter uncertainty. A few wee swings late in the campaign could make a big difference.

The polls at the moment show that neither National nor Labour could clearly form a coalition.

I think that the election will come down to whether swing voters decide that it’s time for a change and Jacinda Ardern is worth a punt, versus playing it safe and remaining with Bill English and National.

National are certainly vulnerable and have some issues of concern but they have a fairly good record in government and English is fairly well respected.

Labour has Ardern but the jury is out on whether she is ready to step up to the top job, there are concerns about the weakness of the Labour lineup, and there will be concerns about how a Labour+Green or Labour+NZ First coalition would be, and especially how a Labour+Greens+NZ First coalition would be.

A National+NZ First combination will also be a concern to some.

The recent polls give us a good indication of approximately where support is at right now, but some voters will use this information to make their final decision, and others will just choose who to vote give their vote to for a variety of rational or gut feeling reasons.

Remember that polls are just indicators of support at some time in the past. No one can guess which way the final swings will go. That’s why we have elections – to let the voters decide.

Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. Gezza

     /  4th September 2017

    My predictions:
    1. Any coalition givernment that includes Winston Peters is doomed. He has jinxed all 3 governments he been part of. He has achieved the Gold Card for the old folk who never anticipated their future might hold penury in store, & should now simply retire – to save himself, his party & the country from embarrassment.
    2. As folk begin to worry at night about what Labour’s being opaquely transparent about some things might actually end up costing them, National will end up managing to cobble together some kind of coalition & struggle through another term, or
    3. I could be wrong & just enuf people will take a punt to put Jacinda into the top job, following which a massive amount of emigration of wealthy & outraged property-for-rent humble hovel owners will not occur.

    • Patu

       /  4th September 2017

      I’m going to play devils advocate here G, and put $1 on a NZF/Green coalition

      • PDB

         /  4th September 2017

        To be fair that is just as likely as NZL First getting 20%………

        • Patu

           /  4th September 2017

          Anything is possible Pants. Its entirely possible that a Green MP could win a Maori electorate seat, for reasons similar to why Winston won Northland…

          • PDB

             /  4th September 2017

            Won’t happen Patu – electorate seats in a general election are a totally different proposition than one-off by-elections which get focused, extensive MSM coverage and can be used to ‘send a message’ to the govt.

            • Patu

               /  4th September 2017

              Actually Pants, Maori electorates are very different to general electorates, in that they have a far more effective ‘bush telegraph’…

            • PDB

               /  4th September 2017

              So effective the Greens want to roll out ‘bush telegraph’ nationwide!

  2. Zedd

     /  4th September 2017

    I think its time, commentators like Hosking & Gower were gagged, until 24/9. their comments likely influencing some swing voters ?
    People should be able to listen to the policies of the parties, rather than all the anti-Left negative rhetoric spewing from their mouths ! 😦

    btw; even H Barry & D Garner are starting to show their colours too, rather than just report the news..

    • Trevors_elbow

       /  4th September 2017

      I don’t like your speech so you should be gagged seems to be your message zedd… how very Green of you. Totalitarian to the core a true watermelon… red under the skin all the way to the core

      Does the same rule apply to John Campbell and all of the RNZ crew? No didn’t think so…

      Suck it up princess it’s call freedom of speech…

  1. State of the polls — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s