So, the first poll since the Northland by-election has come out. The latest Colmar-Brunton Poll, released by One News shows National is unscathed on 49%, Labour is on 31%, the Greens are on 9% and New Zealand First is on 7%.
Despite what their authors will tell you, these polls are hugely biased. The numbers are probably more along the lines of National being on about 43%, Labour on about 37%, and New Zealand First and the Greens both up 1% each. The remaining support would largely go to the Conservative Party outside of Parliament. Outside of their electorate strongholds of Ohariu-Belmont and Epsom respectively there is hardly any support for United Future or A.C.T.
However, Colmar-Brunton are not the only market research company which releases political polls via media outlets in New Zealand. Others include Stuff-Ipsos which release polls via Fairfax newspapers, the New Zealand Herald Digi Poll and the 3 News Reid Research poll. A poll generally covers about 1000 voters, and has to reach across the entire age spectrum. It also has to cover a geographic cross section. Because of these limitations and the time taken compiling the reasons, the potential to get an accurate picture of what New Zealand really thinks is always going to be severely limited.
A good example of the bias is shown in the Stuff-Ipsos polls, which even when every other poll in the run up to the 20 September 2014 election showed National in decline it showed them unchanged and sometimes even having improved. It made predictions that ignored the nature of M.M.P. politics where voters are less likely to allow any one party to form an absolute majority Government. In one poll on 15 August 2014 National was shown to be running on 55% support, which – if true would have given it nearly 70 seats in Parliament. Such wild polling earnt Stuff-Ipsos considerable derision on social media.
New Zealanders are starting to wake up to issues such as the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, which will cost jobs and sovereignty whilst rewarding corporate interests that care not one jot about New Zealand or New Zealanders. They are starting to see the over investment in dairy, whose product prices are falling and which is peaking due to mounting environmental costs, especially with regards to fresh water. And the Christchurch rebuild is very close to stalling because of a mixture of City Council ineptitude and poor central government planning.
Those puffy clouds on the political horizon that appear to be going straight up are the start of a potentially severe economic thunderstorm.