Audrey Young

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

Conservative Party lifted by gay issue

Only 2.5 points to reach Parliament if threshold reduced to 4 per cent.

Conservative Party leader Colin Craig. Photo / Natalie Slade
Conservative Party leader Colin Craig. Photo / Natalie Slade

The Conservative Party has had a bump in the polls following Parliament's passing of the first reading of a bill to legalise gay marriage, the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey shows.

CLICK HERE FOR OUR INFOGRAPHIC ON THE LATEST DIGI-POLL RESULTS

The Conservatives would not make it to Parliament on its 1.5 per cent rating (up from 0.5), but if the threshold of the party vote is lowered from its current 5 per cent to 4 per cent under reforms to MMP before the next election, it has to rise only 2.5 percentage points to make it into Parliament with several MPs.

Albany-based leader Colin Craig does not register at all in the preferred Prime Minister stakes.

The party launched only last year, polled 2.65 per cent at the election, then pretty much dropped away until recently.

Under the lowered threshold it would have to do only 1.35 percentage points better than last time to get into Parliament.

Mr Craig has been leading the opposition outside Parliament against Louisa Wall's private member's bill to legalise same-sex marriage.

The Herald Digi-Poll survey of 750 people was taken between August 20 and 31 and has a margin of error of 3.6 per cent.

Labour's support and that of its leader, David Shearer, has slipped a little since the last poll two months ago but the parliamentary parties in the opposition bloc are still almost neck and neck with the Government bloc.

The Government bloc of parties is fractionally ahead.

If the results were translated to parliamentary seats, the situation is so fluid that just one or two seats either way would make a difference.

The Maori Party would hold the balance of power. National would not be able to form a Government without it unless it attracted the support of New Zealand First or the Greens.

Labour would not be able to form a Government without it, even if it attracted the support of United Future as well.

The party vote shows little change for National in the face of the Waitangi Tribunal hearings and report on water.

It has gone up fractionally and Prime Minister John Key has improved his rating by 2.1 points to 65.6 per cent.

Mr Shearer is some distance away on 12.9 per cent as preferred Prime Minister and his support has dropped by 1.3 points.

Former Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark rates as the fourth most popular New Zealand politician, even though she is no longer a New Zealand politician.

The number of people who think the Government is moving in the right direction has fallen 1.6 points to 48.1 per cent but so too has the number who don't think it is moving in the right direction, down 1.4 to 42.7. The number who don't know or who refused increased 2.9 to 9 per cent.

The party vote support of decided voters is National 47.9 per cent (up 0.4); Labour 32 (down 2); Greens 10.7 (up 1.6); NZ First 5.5 (up 1.1); Maori Party 1.5 (up 0.2); Mana 0.3 (down 1.4); United future 0.3 (down 0.2); Act 0.2 (down 0.3).

The Conservatives at 1.4 per cent (up 0.9) are the highest polling non-parliamentary.

- NZ Herald

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