Voters ponder coalition choices (+graphics)

By Audrey Young

Political editor Audrey Young takes a closer look at the numbers.
Click on the View Photos link beneath the image to view a set of Herald graphics detailing the poll results

PARTY VOTE

Auckland v Rest of NZ: There is very little difference between the polling for National and Labour overall and that within Auckland. In total polling the gap between the two main parties is 18 points. Among Aucklanders polled, the gap was 18.5 points, and for the rest of New Zealand, National polled a little less, putting the gap at 17.7 points.

The Greens are disproportionately less popular in Auckland, polling 3.4 per cent there, compared with 4.4 per cent overall.

Gender: The poll shows Labour and National maintaining their gender bias - men for National and women for Labour - but much less so for Labour than a month ago.

Across both genders National polled 54.5 per cent, but 56.9 per cent of men supported National compared with 52.1 per cent women.

Labour's overall rating was 36.5 per cent, but 39.9 per cent of women supported Labour and 33.4 per cent of men.

In the January DigiPoll survey the difference was more marked: 45.5 per cent of women supported Labour compared to 38.7 per cent overall.

There is a more pronounced gender bias in the preferred Prime Minister ratings (see below).

Age: Labour has a major deficit of support among the elderly when the DigiPoll party vote polling is distributed through seven age groups. The elderly support is going disproportionately to National and New Zealand First - though the sample size of the categories means the results should read as indicative.

Of respondents aged over 60, the percentage supporting National is 65.8 per cent; only 28.1 per cent support Labour. New Zealand First was supported by 6.2 per cent of the 60s and over, much higher than the 2.1 it scored nationally.

The poll shows the Green Party has large, disproportionate support among 18- to 24-year-olds - 11.8 per cent, compared with its overall rating of 4.4 per cent.

PREFERRED PRIME MINISTER

Auckland v Rest of New Zealand: The figures suggest that Auckland's support patterns are virtually the same as the rest of the country's when it comes to preferred Prime Minister. National leader John Key received 46.3 per cent throughout the country. Aucklanders preferring him were 46.6 per cent; of the respondents from outside Auckland 46.1 preferred Mr Key.

Similarly, there was little variation for Prime Minister Helen Clark: 44.3 per cent nationwide preferred her. Of all respondents from Auckland, 43.4 per cent preferred her, and of the rest of New Zealand 44.7 per cent preferred her.

Gender: The gender bias - men for National and women for Labour - is most pronounced in the poll's leadership questions. Asked who was preferred Prime Minister, National leader John Key moved slightly ahead of Helen Clark, 46.3 per cent to 44.3 per cent respectively. But 51 per cent of men support Mr Key and 50 per cent of women support Helen Clark.

Of male respondents, 38 per cent support Helen Clark. Of female respondents, 41 per cent support Mr Key.

Winston Peters is preferred by a fairly even number of men and women - 3.3 per cent overall - and by 3.1 per cent of men and 3.4 per cent of women.

COALITION PREFERENCES

After determining which party each respondent supported, they were asked which party they would prefer to partner with to form a Government. And the Maori Party is not a favourite among National supporters.

More National supporters backed a deal with New Zealand First, 30.2 per cent, over other parties. Next preferred was United Future with 21.8 per cent, and even 17.8 per cent of National supporters preferred a deal with the Greens, who are more natural allies of Labour. Only 11.4 per cent of National supporters preferred a deal with the Maori Party.

More Labour supporters backed the Greens, 42 per cent, over any other party for Labour to deal with, but 34.6 per cent preferred New Zealand First, Labour's present confidence and supply partner.

Even fewer Labour supporters than National wanted to deal with the Maori Party, 8.8 per cent.

The results from respondents from small parties should be seen as indicative only because of the small sample size.

New Zealand First supporters overwhelmingly think the party should form a government with National, 90.9 per cent, compared with 9.1 per cent who prefer Labour.

A large majority of Green Party supporters would prefer to deal with Labour, 69 per cent; but almost a quarter, 24.1 per cent, favour a deal with National.

A majority of Maori Party supporters would prefer to deal with Labour rather than National, but the split is less pronounced: 57.1 per cent favour Labour and 42.9 per cent favour National.

All of Act and United Future's supporters would prefer a deal with National.

- NZ Herald

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