Audrey Young

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

Election 2011: Key to win despite teatape actions - voters

The majority say that John Key shouldn't have gone to police over the recording of the Epsom meeting. Photo / Richard Robinson
The majority say that John Key shouldn't have gone to police over the recording of the Epsom meeting. Photo / Richard Robinson

An overwhelming majority of voters believe National will be the winner after tomorrow's election, the final pre-election Herald-DigiPoll survey shows.

This is despite the same poll showing the majority of people did not think National leader John Key should have gone to police over the teapot tape.

Voters were asked who they thought would win, regardless of how they voted; 81.3 per cent said National, 11.2 per cent backed Labour.

Even a majority of Labour supporters, 61 per cent, believed National would win.

Most National supporters, 94.6 per cent, believed that National would win with a few undecided or refusing to say.

Among Green Party voters, 82.4 per cent believed National would win compared with 12.1 per cent who thought Labour would.

Of New Zealand First supporters, 75.8 per cent believed National would win against 6.1 per cent who thought Labour would.

Twice as many voters, 60.3 per cent, believe National would be best at running the economy compared with 30.4 per cent for Labour.

But the percentage who believe the Government is moving in the right direction has fallen in the past week, to 54.4 per cent from 58 per cent.

And the percentage who do not believe it is moving in the right direction has risen from 34.8 per cent to 36.7 per cent.

As parties' campaigns end today, a majority of voters have bucked the view of most pundits and believe National ran the most impressive campaign over the past four weeks - 35.2 per cent think it was best.

Only 18.4 per cent thought Labour ran the best campaign and 14.8 per cent liked the Greens' campaign best.

Prime Minister John Key will spend the last day travelling from Taupo to Auckland in a bus, ending up at Helensville.

Labour leader Phil Goff will travel in a campaign bus from Rotorua to Auckland, finishing the day with a barbecue.

Voters are split over whether Mr Key should have complained to the police about his cafe conversation with Epsom Act candidate John Banks that was caught on tape.

But more, 50.2 per cent, believe he should not have complained against 38.7 per cent who believe he should have done so.

When the answers are broken into party preferences, a third of National supporters, 32.9 per cent, disapproved of his actions and 54.8 per cent supported them.

Many more Labour supporters, 70.8 per cent, thought he was wrong to complain, but 19.3 per cent believed he was right.

Mr Key complained to police on November 14 and refused to comment on any aspect of his conversation with Mr Banks, citing as the reason that it was a matter under police investigation and giving details it would be rewarding News of the World-type behaviour.

He also said police had spare time on their hands to investigate his complaint because the crime rate had dropped under National.

From news reports, the conversation appears to have included a conversation about list candidate No 2, Catherine Isaac, replacing Don Brash as leader of Act, and a comment about New Zealand First supporters dying off.

Mr Key alleges the conversation was deliberately taped by freelance cameraman Bradley Ambrose and he has questioned the role of the Herald on Sunday.

Ambrose says it was taped inadvertently in the media melee that accompanied the photo opportunity - designed to encourage Epsom voters to support Mr Banks.

The Herald on Sunday denies any wrongdoing. It sought the consent of Mr Key and Mr Banks to publish a transcript and when consent was withheld, it did not do so.

The police served search warrants on four news organisations to obtain material relevant to their investigation. But the complaint to the police fuelled the story rather than killing it, and it dominated the third week of the four-week election campaign, particularly on broadcast media.

* The poll of 850 voters was taken between November 17 and November 23 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 per cent.

- NZ Herald

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