A hard to ignore leaked poll: Labour 55%, National 29%

The bottom line for a UMR poll (warning – leaked private poll) conducted between 21-27 April as we approached the end of the Level 4 lockdown:

  • Labour 55%
  • National 29%
  • NZ First 6%
  • Greens 5%
  • ACT 3%

(But RNZ have NZF and Greens swapped: “It has polled the Green Party at 6%, New Zealand First on 5%”)

With NZ First and Greens on similar levels to other recent polls this suggests a big chunk of ex-national supporters have swung to Labour, but at the same time ACT has improved.

This looks grim for National, and it’s no wonder the talk of Simon Bridges and leadership has ramped up lately.

There’s a lot that can happen before the election with Covid and the economy, but it’s a big challenge for National to turn this around without changing their approach or their leader.

Also Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 65%
  • Simon Bridges 7%
  • Judith Collins 7%
  • Winston Peters 3%

If a Labour activist could make up a poll result that was sort of credible but great for Labour and terrible for National it would look something like this, but all they have had to do is leak their actual poll. There have been similar numbers mentioned over the past couple of weeks.

NZ Herald: A leaked poll shows National has dropped below 30 per cent, and Labour at 55 per cent

But speaking to the Herald, Bridges rubbished the poll.

“UMR are Labour’s pollsters and are consistently, badly wrong.”

He added that Labour “should be focused on getting New Zealand back to work, not leaking dodgy numbers”.

But this is a big pig of a revelation for National, and Bridges is rough at applying lipstick.

Polling under 30 per cent is a huge psychological barrier for National and means many of their current list MPs would lose their jobs at this year’s election.

It wasn’t long ago that 40% would have been seen as pretty bad for National.

And perhaps more good news for the Government – the poll shows that 78 per cent of New Zealanders believe the country is heading in the right direction.

The number of people saying New Zealand is on the right track hasn’t been this high on a UMR poll since 1991.

“This can again only be attributed to a rallying around in a national crisis and a related current confidence in the government steps taken to combat Covid-19,” UMR said in its commentary.”

Again, things could change, but I expect this poll will be in a post at The Standard very quickly and not so fast at Kiwiblog.


  1. As far as it’s possible to determine I think that Labour’s internal polls conducted by UMR have tended to favour Labour.
  2. Leaked polls should always be viewed with some suspicion but more details seem to have been made available this time to media.
  3. At a time of crisis with a Government generally seen to be managing things well it is going to benefit, and the Opposition is likely to not benefit

UPDATE: The Standard posted on this an hour and a half ago – UMR’s bombshell poll result

By my count National have 39 electorate MPs and 18 list MPs. If they got 29% in the election they would not get enough MPs to get any list MPs, there would be an overhang of a few MPs.

I can imagine a few list MPs will be getting a bit nervous about their futures – like Paul Goldsmith, Michael Woodhouse, Alfred Ngaro, Melissa Lee, Juan Yang, Brett Hudson, Nicola Willis etc

More polls

Yesterday the Colmar Brunton poll had Labour ahead of National for the first time in over twelve years, by 43% to 41% – see 1 News/Colmar Brunton – Labour lead.

Both Labour and National internal polling is reported as being similar but with Labour not ahead.

In last night’s debate Bill English said that National’s internal poll was “a bit better than 41%”.  And from Stuff:  Labour internal polls don’t have them ahead of National

…it’s understood Nationals’ internal polling has them still in the lead but with Labour closing.

And Jacinda Ardern says their internal polling does not have Labour ahead:

On Friday, speaking in her home electorate of Mt Albert, Ardern confirmed Labour’s internal polls did not have her party ahead of National.

It’s understood Labour’s internal tracking polling has both parties neck and neck both slightly above 40 per cent.

Colmar Brunton asked another question in their poll:

‘Would you be comfortable with the leader of NZ First, Winston Peters, taking a senior Cabinet position in the next Government, such as Finance Minister or Deputy Prime Minister?’

  • Yes 40%
  • No 51%
  • Don’t know 9%

That doesn’t really mean very much. I think it would depend on what role he was given, and how many votes NZ First gets.

I think he would struggle with all the travel involved in Foreign Affairs or Trade, and wouldn’t be a good match for Minister for Women or for Children, but there’s a few roles he could probably fill ok.

When asked about the poll Peters just grumped and asked what relevance it had.

Ardern was asked about it too and she said that she had ruled out having Peters as Deputy Prime Minister or Minister of Finance, but wouldn’t go further than that at this stage.

Labour’s internal poll differences

Reports on Labour’s internal poll results have been disputed by Labour.

On Thursday Claire Trevett claimed in Collins soap opera gives Labour breathing space:

Last week, things were so fragile he might have been in with a chance. List MPs were doing the numbers as internal polling showed them diving into the low to mid-20s and Cunliffe with stratospherically high negative ratings. One poll was reported to have Labour only five or six points ahead of the Greens.

Labour insider Rob Salmond disputes this in a post on his Polity blog – Trevett wrong on polls:

Not very many people see any party’s internal polling. I am one of those who do within Labour, which is why I know Claire’s sources are wrong. Here’s where our polling says we stand:

  • No poll taken since David Cunliffe became the leader had showed Labour below 30% support.
  • No poll taken since David Cunliffe became the leader had showed Labour support at anything less than double the Greens’ support.
  • Our latest poll, which was taken before the extent of National’s horror period became apparent, shows the combination of Labour and the Greens more or less tied with National. This polling was not quite as positive for the left as the recent Roy Morgan, but I’ll await with interest how the next set of these come out.
  • Our latest poll has New Zealand First comfortably over the 5% threshold, and effectively in a position to choose the Prime Minister. This is consistent with Roy Morgan’s findings.

I don’t think there’s any good reason to doubt this. A couple of polls have dipped Labour just under 30% before coming back into the thirties, including one Roy Morgan poll, but it doesn’t sound as if Labour poll frequently so it would be easy for them to miss those dip periods or have a variation in a poll within normal margins of error.

So where did Trevett get this information? I don’t think she would have made up anything like that, a journalist simple wouldn’t.

I’ve been informed of Labour polling being in the twenties too from supposedly Labour sources. And I’ve been informed that National’s internal polling has Labour “stuck in the twenties”.

Salmond has disputed this and blames his opposition:

Journalists need to be aware that one of National’s strategies for the election is to talk up the Greens’ role in a centre-left government. Evidently, that now involves making up Labour’s internal numbers, in order to seed the false belief that voters’ choice will be between “National” and “Green/Labour.”

That’s possible, but I think that Trevett would have to have been informed by sources with clear Labour links on the polling and on other aspects of her story. Once again I don’t see how a journalist could report on anything as she did by taking the word of opposing party ‘informants’.

A Labour activist makes a bigger claim about dirty tricks collusion between ‘media’ and National. Anne at The Standard:

They are part of the oft mentioned Nat. Party dirty tricks brigade – the media delivery end of it. A quid pro quo kind of situation exists where you print out made up claims as if they’re facts and we’ll see you get the real stuff first.

How I will laugh and laugh if we have a Lab/Green/NZ First govt by year’s end. Their life of journalistic privilege will be over.

And ‘NZJester’ also commented at The Standard:

Claire Trevett’s sources are obviously National Party stooges pretending to be Labour Party insiders.
Either she is very easily tricked or she is putting on blinkers to the truth so she can report what she wants to hear.
The National Party for years now has employed the most highly rated international dirty tricks company in the business that knows how to fudge the truth and lead sympathetic Journalists by the nose.

NZJester is not a regular commenter mixing it at The Standard and seems to have popped up occasionally, this time apparently to push this meme, although they have criticised National working with the media before, and another of their total of eight comments starting a little over a month ago was also on a Polity thread -NZJester: Comment:Polity: Maori Party / Key fundraiser .

Coincidentally ex Labour president Mike Williams made an incorrect claim about a poll in his column in the Herald today – see Mike Williams wrong on Ohariu.

Just about anything is possible in politics but this sounds most likely to be deliberate misinformation coming from within Labour ranks.

Who would do that, and why?