Kate Hawkesby: Winners and losers in latest poll and debate

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Sep 2020, 10:10AM
Act Party leader David Seymour.
Act Party leader David Seymour.

Kate Hawkesby: Winners and losers in latest poll and debate

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Wed, 23 Sep 2020, 10:10AM

Twenty-five days to go until we vote and the campaign's first poll shows a tightening of the gap between the two main parties.

Both are down. Labour down 5 per cent to 48, National down 1 to 32.

On those numbers, Labour can still govern alone. They will, and should, be feeling buoyant.

Although Jacinda didn't look that buoyant in the debate last night, she looked flat, unenthused, even a bit tired, I thought.

Whereas Judith looked full of beans, relishing it, seizing the opportunity.

The Greens edged up 1 to 6 per cent in the poll, taking them over that critical 5 per cent threshold, which means if they're back in the game, then it's a Labour Greens government for the next three years. Together they'd have 70 seats in parliament, they're home and hosed.

No one's happier about that than James Shaw, who - remarkably - has suffered zero fallout from the private green school funding debacle. I thought that would damage them, but clearly Greens supporters are not bothered by it. Which is a huge bonus for a party that deserved to take a hit on that hypocrisy and shambles.

The big story in the poll though is Act.

It had its best result in 17 years and that's down to the sheer hard work, determination and fighting spirit of David Seymour.

No one's worked harder than that guy. He's single handedly held the Government to account, held himself together at a time voters have watched National flounder.

Act has cannibalised the Nats vote, those disillusioned with National's move to the centre, and its softer more insipid campaign has clearly driven supporters to Seymour. And you can't get away from the fact that he's provided a sharp alternative. His quick, slick, savvy, smart approach, has clearly captured the minds and votes of those sick to the back teeth of "team of 5 million" talk, lockdowns and lack of delivery.

But a stagnant National party means with just 41 seats - even when you add Act's 9 - it's still not enough to form a government.

The Nats say they're happy with these numbers, but I don't know how they can be.

Judith's been two months in the job and she's down 2 points in the preferred leader numbers to 18 per cent, Jacinda still dominates at 54 per cent. Will last night's strong performance from Judith change things? Who knows.

But the poll shows, despite a second wave of Covid and a second lockdown for Auckland, people still clearly feel positive about Labour. We may still be being driven by fear and wrapped up in the "stay safe", "be kind", "hunker down" mantras, and not yet ready to look beyond that.

But elections are won or lost with the undecideds, and there were 14 per cent of those.

And how that 14 per cent choose to vote will decide the next government.

;