Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

National gains, Labour loses, but Goff's edging up

Get Adobe Flash player Digipoll October 2011
Phil Goff. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Phil Goff. Photo / Mark Mitchell

National consolidated its commanding lead in the final weeks of the Rugby World Cup, a Herald-DigiPoll survey has found.

In the first of a series of weekly polls before the November 26 election, Labour's support slipped slightly but ratings for leader Phil Goff went up, just as strategists admit he has been left off party billboards.

Support for the Greens remains high and Act has barely moved.

If the poll figures were translated to votes, National would comfortably govern on its own with 53.5 per cent of decided voters, up 1.5 percentage points on the previous poll, in August.

DigiPoll general manager Nandan Modak said National had gained support among males, young people and Aucklanders.

"This could be the result of the feel-good factor from the World Cup victory."

But Prime Minister John Key is likely to warn party faithful at National's campaign in Auckland tomorrow not to be complacent.

"This a long, long way away from being a done deal," he told the Weekend Herald. "A lot can change and, like world cups, elections are immensely difficult to win, even if they look easy from the outside."

He said there was no question the success of the Rugby World Cup and the Auckland waterfront developments would be seen as the Government and the city council "getting the job done, doing the job well, getting the job right".

A spokesman for Mr Goff said the Labour Party was working hard for every vote.

"We don't take our support for granted. We believe we are making the tough decisions needed to turn this country round and secure a prosperous future for all Kiwis."

The number of voters who believe the Government is moving in the right direction is virtually unchanged from the previous poll, at 59 per cent yes and 32.9 per cent no.

Labour has 30.3 per cent support (down 1.2), the Greens 9.5 (down 0.3), Act 1.5 (up 0.3), Maori Party 1.2 (down 0.5), New Zealand First 2.8 (up 0.4), Mana Party 0.1 (down 0.1) and United Future 0.1 (no change).

As well as the Rugby World Cup, events leading up to the polling included the Rena oil spill off Tauranga, a downgrade for New Zealand by two credit rating agencies, and accusations that Mr Key misled the House when he claimed Standard & Poor's had said another credit downgrade would be more likely if Labour became the Government.

But Mr Key's ratings remain extremely high at 70.6 per cent, which is where he has rated for about a year.

He gained support among males, young voters and Aucklanders.

Support for Mr Goff rose from 11.5 per cent to 13.7 per cent and support for New Zealand First leader Winston Peters fell from 5.2 per cent to 3.5.

National's support is now more skewed to males - 56.8 per cent of men support the party, against 50.1 per cent of women.

Conversely, more women than men support Labour - 35.5 per cent of female voters back Mr Goff's team compared with 25 per cent of men.

National has gained strongly in Auckland - 58.2 per cent of voters there back it. In the rest of New Zealand, 50.8 per cent do. In August, 47.3 per cent of Auckland and 54.6 per cent elsewhere supported National.

The poll of 750 respondents was taken between October 20 and 27.

Party-vote figures are of decided voters only; 10.6 per cent were undecided.

Seats in Parliament

Based on this poll result:

National: 67

Labour: 38

Greens: 12

Act: 2

Maori Party: 4

United Future: 1

Mana: 1

* Assuming Act, United and Mana win one seat and the Maori Party four.

- NZ Herald

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