A two-party voting-bloc has been a winning-formula for Australia’s Liberal/Nationals right parties in Federal General Elections (and looks likely to do so again) – So can it work for New Zealand’s centre-left? The latest Roy Morgan Poll suggests yes it can.
This week Gary Morgan of the Aussie-based Roy Morgan polling outfit said the latest poll result suggests: “… a clear boost to Opposition Leader David Shearer and comes as National faces a number of challenges that appear to have dented its support — the axing of 140 jobs by the Department of Conservation, the ongoing Novopay Payroll Issues, the bungled handling of the Kim Dotcom ‘affair’ and serious breaches of privacy by both the Ministry of Education and the Earthquake Commission.”
Polls are polarising and it’s debatable as to whether they are a true test of what the nation’s voters are truly thinking. But what is important are the trends.
The current New Zealand political trend is what concerns the right’s Matthew Hooton, David Farrar and others who can see that under MMP National’s hold on power is deminishing.
For the record this week’s Roy Morgan Poll shows, “a substantial fall in support” for Prime Minister John Key’s National Party to 40.5% (down 3.5% since March 11-24, 2013). Support for Key’s Coalition partners shows the Maori Party 2% (down 0.5%), ACT NZ 0.5% (unchanged) and United Future 0.5% (down 0.5%).
Here is the trend-graph that provides a feel for where things are heading.
In my view, National is suffering from a huge dent to its credibility armour, most recently and significantly due to the Prime Minister John Key’s ridiculous and unsustainable handling of the GCSB illegalities and his reticence to accept responsibility for the very agency he is paid to be responsible for. Right/conservative pundits take note: This is not just a beltway issue nor a media beat-up, and you know it.
The pollsters summarise the findings as: “If a National Election were held today this New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows that the Labour Party with minor party support would win an Election if held now.”
But centre-left supporters shouldn’t get too excited yet as the pollsters do not take into account the role New Zealand First would play should it achieve an above-the-threshold result in the 2014 General Election. Nor do these polls show any potential increase in support for the Conservative Party, especially should National’s decline become rapid.
For the Labour-Green voting bloc to establish itself as the Cabinet-In-Waiting it will need to achieve and sustain a solid voter-support-base of say 53 percent with Labour on par with (or above) National. On current trends that is possible.
In short, the Labour-Green bloc needs to exclude New Zealand First from the 50%+ option, and Labour needs to be on parity (or above) with National to counter New Zealand First’s potential claim that it doesn’t have a popular vote mandate to govern.
It is worth noting the views of the centrist social conservatives. In this morning’s New Zealand Herald, John Armstrong writes that:
“Labour and the Greens discovered one thing yesterday. The power of two (excuse the pun) is exponentially better than the power of one.”
I couldn’t agree more. He was of course writing about the encouraging Labour/Green power policy – for a great read on this check out Chris Trotter’s piece on The Daily Blog.
If the Labour-Green bloc is to win in 2014, it needs to present itself as the Australian right does, as a two-part coalition. Voters over the ditch know what they will get when they vote for that bloc. Kiwi voters should also have that assurance. And once Kiwi voters accept and embrace this, it exhausts the centre-centre-right’s argument that Labour’s only chance at government is by being propped up by a rag-tag bunch of opposition wannabies.
A true Labour-Green bloc will leverage off each other not erode into each other’s support-base. Once that is established, the voters will likely gravitate toward the party with the best solutions in ever-increasing numbers. So, it follows, the party with the best policy, that responds with relevance to sectorial and electorate needs, will make the best gains. That’s progressive politics. Any hint of negative jabs from either party would likely turn voters off. So Labour’s whips, and the Greens’ musterers have a big job ahead of them.
Back to the polls.
For number crunchers Roy Morgan states: “Support for Labour is 35.5% (up 1%); Greens are 13.5% (up 0.5%), New Zealand First 5% (up 2%), Mana Party 0.5% (unchanged), Conservative Party of NZ 1.5% (up 0.5%) and Others 0.5% (up 0.5%).”
Also, the National-led Government has suffered in the confidence ratings.
It would be very interesting if Roy Morgan checked voters’s views on the Prime Minister’s performance. It doesn’t which is a pity. For that we will need to evaluate other polls.
But, on the government confidence rating, this latest NZ Roy Morgan poll shows voter confidence down 3.5pts to 116 with 51.5% (down 2%) of New Zealanders saying New Zealand is ‘heading in the right direction’ compared to 35.5% (up 1.5%) that say NZ is ‘heading in the wrong direction’.