No wonder Bill English was looking so happy in the Albany sheds, where he was photographed next to All Black captain Kieran Read.

Associating your brand with a successful star is the oldest advertising trick in the book. But in this case, there is a lot more to it.

The Prime Minister has got his timing perfect, the most staggering of All Black victories - over the once mighty Springboks - coming a week before the main polling day.

Labour's Jacinda Ardern has made a brilliant burst down the rails since taking the reins from Andrew Little, but research says the All Blacks' scarcely believable 57 - 0 victory on Saturday night will do her no favours.

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Rugby success of this magnitude soothes the national mood - there is virtually no room for any sort of rugby uprising after that annihilation. This sense of satisfaction favours the incumbent in an election.

Seta Tamanivalu - All Blacks discard should have the option to play for Fiji. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Seta Tamanivalu - All Blacks discard should have the option to play for Fiji. Photo / Brett Phibbs

The shift towards advanced voting will also help the Government this week, because the most comprehensive study on this subject reveals the more recent the hometown sports victory, the greater the influence on voting patterns.

All Black...and blue, in other words.

All those niggling doubts about the All Blacks, including the stone-in-the-shoe draw against the British and Irish Lions, were swept away by a black tide on Saturday night.

South Africa were so bad, they hardly rated as a sand castle.

But forget about the Springboks' incompetence - this will go down as one of the greatest international sports performances in history, and another tick for Steve Hansen as the best All Black coach ever despite the Lions series disappointment.

There are also major historical implications elsewhere.

In what appears to be a fairly tight election race the All Black stampede is great news for English and his National Party, and this is not just a hunch.

One widely-quoted study out of the Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and Stanford University business school analysed sports results and elections over a 44 year period, and found incumbents could be helped by over two percentage points when a home team had a consistent run of success.

It also found a 0.8 lift when the local team won within 10 days of an election, while there was no discoverable effect if the game was played two weeks before the poll.

In analysing the report, the Washington Post quoted a political science professor saying: "Elections are basically about how satisfied people are."

Bottom line: Sports results are among a number of things which influence elections, even though they probably shouldn't.

What a rabble - so have the useless Springboks played a part in our election? Photo / Brett Phibbs
What a rabble - so have the useless Springboks played a part in our election? Photo / Brett Phibbs

In a tight election, the feel-good factor can only be a good thing for the ruling National Party while Team New Zealand had already laid some significant sports-uplifting foundations with an emphatic victory in Bermuda.

Or put it this way: imagine if TNZ had lost and the Springboks won 57 -0 on Saturday night. Now translate that to an election mood.

Being a small country with a sporting obsession, there is a decent chance that our national election is particularly susceptible to being influenced by the dominant representative team, one with an extraordinary grip on the nation's heart.

Ardern might tackle her task better than the Springboks did theirs, but the Boks' capitulation is a problem for her.

In the interests of democracy, we should be picking a few holes in the All Blacks, suggesting all is not as well as it might seem.

After Saturday night, this is impossible. The All Blacks were truly exceptional. Imagine that lot, with Joe Moody, Ben Smith and maybe Vaea Fifita on board. Scary, scary, scary.

However, the election/sports research also showed that the spell is fragile, and can be broken by pointing the effect out.

So I'll leave the final word to the Washington Post.

"If you can make people aware of the reasons for their state of mind, the influence of irrelevant events becomes weaker - all the more reason to do research like this in the first place," it stated.

Which is what this column is attempting to do.

A crusade for Samoa, Tonga and Fiji

Seta Tamanivalu - All Blacks discard should have the option to play for Fiji. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Seta Tamanivalu - All Blacks discard should have the option to play for Fiji. Photo / Brett Phibbs

World rugby needs to be more competitive, and here is my formula to help the Pacific Islands countries in particular, to make them more competitive.

Financially weak Samoa, Tonga and Fiji are disadvantaged when their players are snared by the main players, particularly New Zealand.

I believe the one-player-one-nation rule needs looking at again to prevent someone like the Fiji-born and raised Crusaders back Seta Tamanivalu being sidelined from test rugby because the All Blacks tried and discarded him.

The formula.-
1) To protect the World Cup integrity, players can only represent one country at the world tournament. So once you play at the World Cup, you are tied to that country.

2) Otherwise, players can opt to switch national allegiance, but only from a tier one country to a tier two country. They can only make this switch once.

3) World Rugby might consider a cap on this move - in other words, a player can only make the move if he has played 10 tests or less for the tier one country.

At the very least, World Rugby should be debating this situation.