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Chance of National-Act Govt slipping away in Herald’s Poll of Polls

Author
Adam Pearse, Claire Trevett, Chris Knox, and Derek Cheng,
Publish Date
Sat, 7 Oct 2023, 9:21am
National leader Christopher Luxon (centre) and Act Party leader David Seymour (right) are less likely to be able to form a government together according to the Herald's Poll of Polls. Photo / Tania Whyte
National leader Christopher Luxon (centre) and Act Party leader David Seymour (right) are less likely to be able to form a government together according to the Herald's Poll of Polls. Photo / Tania Whyte

Chance of National-Act Govt slipping away in Herald’s Poll of Polls

Author
Adam Pearse, Claire Trevett, Chris Knox, and Derek Cheng,
Publish Date
Sat, 7 Oct 2023, 9:21am

A week out from election day, National leader Christopher Luxon’s hopes of getting a clear National-Act win are diminishing - the Herald’s Poll of Polls shows NZ First’s rise means there is now only a 13 per cent chance. 

The Poll of Polls now has National at 35.8 per cent and Act at 10.6 per cent. Labour is on 26.8 per cent, the Greens are on 12.3 per cent and Te Pāti Māori is at 2.8 per cent. NZ First is now on 5.7 per cent – its vote could fall between 4.9 and 6.4 per cent. 

That means National and Act would need NZ First to form a government if it gets over the 5 per cent mark. 

However, the margins remain narrow. If NZ First just misses out on hitting 5 per cent, Act and National would comfortably form a government. If the result is close, voters may not find out who the government will be until after the final vote count on November 3. 

Possible coalitions for an election now 

Distribution of the number of seats available to potential coalitions based on 8000 simulations of an election this Saturday. The vertical line indicates the 61 seat threshold needed to form a government. 


It is assumed that Te Pāti Māori will win an electorate seat. Based on model predictions on 6 October 2023.
 

A mere 31,000 votes could be the difference in National and Act getting there alone. 

Despite a small uptick for Labour in some polls, with just a week to go Labour’s only apparent chance at reclaiming the government benches would also require NZ First. 

In the poll of polls, there is now zero probability of Labour, the Greens and Te Pāti Māori being able to form a government on election night – but a 63.5 per cent chance once NZ First is added. 

However, that would require willingness – it is something both Labour leader Chris Hipkins and NZ First leader Winston Peters have ruled out again this week. 

The updated poll of polls includes this week’s three polls: a 1News Verian poll showed the parties holding fairly steady compared to last week, while the monthly NZ Insights Talbot Mills poll and the Taxpayers’ Union Curia poll showed Act falling and NZ First rising since last month. 

The results indicate National Party leader Christopher Luxon’s plea to voters to deliver a clear result by voting for National has so far fallen on deaf ears and possibly backfired. National’s predicted vote in the poll of polls has dropped a bit since September – from 36.1 to 35.8 per cent. 

Possible coalitions on election night 

Distribution of the number of seats available to potential coalitions based on 8000 simulations election night (14 October). The vertical line indicates the 61 seat threshold needed to form a government. 


It is assumed that Te Pāti Māori will win an electorate seat. Based on model predictions on 6 October 2023. 

Since Luxon said in September that he would pick up the phone to Peters if he had to, National’s support has dipped a bit and NZ First’s support has strengthened at the expense of Act. 

Luxon has repeatedly stated that he does not want to work with NZ First and his preference is for a National–Act Government. This week, National also brought in Sir John Key to make a similar plea. 

It could mean the election outcome comes down to the special votes. 

The official count for both the 2017 and 2020 elections has resulted in National having two fewer seats than expected based on just the election night count. In 2017, one seat shifted to Labour and one to the Greens, in 2020 Labour picked up one seat and so did Te Pāti Māori. 

With one week of voting left, Luxon said he would be travelling around the country to reach as many people as possible in the coming week. 

“We have many, many towns and cities to go to across New Zealand. 

“Even over the last few months, we’ve just been in full-on campaign mode. We have many, many places to visit that we want to take our message to.” 

Voting intention in the 2017, 2020, and 2023 elections 

Vertical lines indicate elections, points show poll results. Shaded area indicates the estimated voting intention for a party. 

This chart shows the relationship between a party's poll results and the model's predicted party votes. The charts estimating the number of seats parties will win are intended for comparing electoral outcomes. 


Based on model predictions on 6 October 2023. 

He said he didn’t read much into recent polling that had the party dipping down towards the mid-30s after hitting the early 40s in one poll three and a half weeks ago. 

“We are making our case strongly. Polls bounce around, as you’ve seen. But I think our polling has been pretty consistent and stable.” 

It’s understood National’s strategy for the last days of voting would centre on encouraging people to consider the uncertainty of the election result if they didn’t vote for National. 

The party was seeking to target voters who might believe a change of government is ensured and therefore their vote, whether they cast it or not, doesn’t matter. 

National employed former PM Sir John Key to promote that message during the week. It was expected more former National identities would do the same in the coming days. 

It’s a tactic similar to what Labour will use. Hipkins yesterday said people could expect to see more “familiar faces” endorsing Labour next week. 

Former PM Jacinda Ardern could be one of the "familiar faces" Chris Hipkins referred to on Friday. Photo / Mark MitchellFormer PM Jacinda Ardern could be one of the "familiar faces" Chris Hipkins referred to on Friday. Photo / Mark Mitchell 

That could be a reference to former PM Jacinda Ardern, who hasn’t been as visible in her support of Labour as some might have expected. 

Labour will be looking to add to its record phone-calling and door-knocking efforts today after sending a mass email to supporters during the week, encouraging them to volunteer. 

It’s understood Labour will spend its final days attempting to shore up its vote in large urban areas. A key message it hoped to convey was the risk it saw in a coalition between National, Act and NZ First, while touching on what Labour could offer on its core issues like poverty and climate change. 

Act’s David Seymour told the Herald his party’s campaign would continue as normal for the final week, unshaken by a recent dip in some polls. 

The latest Taxpayers’ Union-Curia poll had Act dropping 5.2 percentage points to 9.1 per cent. A Newshub-Reid Research Poll from last month put Act on 8.8 per cent. 

While reluctant to interpret polls, Seymour believed those results could be due to his party’s stance on “telling hard truths”, while others had been “over-promising”. 

“When the Budget figures didn’t look good, we put out an alternative budget saying we can’t afford to give big tax cuts,” he said. 

“We’re going to have to go hard on ways to balance the budget and I don’t think it makes you popular to come out and tell people what you see as the truth, but unfortunately, that’s the only way that we can be. 

“We know that that is what New Zealand needs and we’re not going to shy away from that real change message.” 

Act leader David Seymour with his second plane gifted for use during the campaign by a generous party supporter, seen here at Rangiora Airfield in Canterbury. Photo / George HeardAct leader David Seymour with his second plane gifted for use during the campaign by a generous party supporter, seen here at Rangiora Airfield in Canterbury. Photo / George Heard 

In 2020, Act got 7.6 per cent of the party vote and brought 10 MPs into Parliament. In recent months, Seymour has been confident Act could double its party vote this election. 

Asked whether that result was likely, Seymour said it was a possibility, noting it was “not uncommon for polls to be out by five points”. 

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