Good trends

As you may have noticed, Labour have been doing rather well in recent polls. Tony Milne has written a useful piece pointing out the trend that is emerging, which he has since updated to cover last week’s One News poll, and this evening’s 3 News poll.

(Side point: tonight’s poll has National on 45.8% and John Key’s personal popularity plunging to 40.5% – not good for Mr Key)

Of course, I’m quite satisfied with how this trend is emerging. There is one minor issue though which hasn’t had much (if any?) coverage.

Both Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples are on record saying that they won’t contest the next election. Fair enough, and all the best to them.

This does however create problems for pollsters who traditionally calculate how many seats there would be in Parliament by assuming the number of electorate seats each party holds will stay static, and then extrapolating their poll results out for the party vote.

In a situation where two electorate MPs are going to retire, this does create an interesting situation.

Being the partisan hack I am, I re-ran the numbers from tonight’s poll, using the scenario whereby Turia and Sharples retire in 2014 and Labour retakes those electorate seats. I realise that is a very subjective assumption, and might be something I write about in future, and I certainly hope Morgan Godfery writes about.

Anyway. Here are the numbers according to tonight’s 3 News poll:

Party Poll % Electorate Seats Total Seats
ACT 0.5 1 1
Greens 14.4 0 18
Labour 33.2 22 42
Mana 0.3 1 1
Maori 1.4 3 3
National 45.8 42 57
United Future 0 1 1
123

As Duncan Garner pointed out and David Farrar was happy to re-iterate, on these numbers, the Maori Party would have the balance of power. National + ACT + UF + Maori would have 63 seats (the exact number needed to govern in a 123 seat Parliament), on the other side, Labour + Greens + Maori would also have 63 seats, and they could possibly also get Hone on side. We could speculate until the cows come home who would get to form the government, but lets take another look, assuming that Labour pick up Tamaki Makaurau and Te Tai Hauauru.

Party Poll % Electorate Seats Total Seats
ACT 0.5 1 1
Greens 14.4 0 18
Labour 33.2 24 42
Mana 0.3 1 1
Maori 1.4 1 2
National 45.8 42 57
United Future 0 1 1
122

With the Maori Party reduced to one electorate seat, their 1.4% of the party vote is just enough for them to bring in a list MP (I’d assume that Te Ururoa Flavell would be joined by Rahui Katene). Labour’s total number of seats of course does not change, but the size of Parliament reduces by one seat, meaning you could pass a budget with 62 votes rather than 63.

This dramatically changes things. National + ACT + UF + Maori would now only muster 61 seats, and simply would not be able to form a government. Labour + Green + Maori would have their requisite 62 seats, and as before could take that to 63.

It does show quite clearly just how close things are at the moment. If National lose just a few more percentage points to Labour, then John Key would have absolutely no way of forming a government.

One final thing: never write Winston off.

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3 Comments on “Good trends”

  1. Morgan Godfery says:

    Hi Patrick,

    I think it’s a safe assumption to say that Labour will retake at least one seat, assumig ceteris paribus. Trends appear to indicate a swing towards Labour and, I would assume, that the swing would be more pronounced among Maori roll voters.

    • Patrick Leyland says:

      True. Any idea if the Maori media will be polling anytime soon?

      • Morgan Godfery says:

        Not that I know of. Maori TV doesn’t tend to poll unless there’s an election/byelection. TVNZ (Marae and Te Karere) usually polls a couple times p/year.


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