National is way ahead in the electorate of Ilam, according to a Taxpayers’ Union-Curia poll.
The poll showed the National candidate, Hamish Campbell, on 33 per cent, followed by Labour’s Sarah Pallett on 15 per cent, and TOP’s Raf Manji on 14 per cent.
Eighteen per cent of voters were undecided.
Illam is an important electorate this election, and will determine whether TOP (The Opportunities Party) will make it into Parliament, with that party’s leader, Manji, hinging its fortunes on winning the seat.
TOP has not polled above 5 per cent in any poll, usually polling half that.
Manji represented the local ward in council and contested the seat as an independent in 2017, when he won an impressive 23.3 per cent of the vote, finishing second.
Excluding undecided voters, Campbell would get 43 per cent of the vote, Pallett 20 per cent, and Manji 18 per cent.
The poll approached 400 respondents on August 23 this year. The margin of error was 4.5 per cent at the 95 per cent confidence interval.
The race is considered wide open. Longstanding MP Gerry Brownlee, who lost the seat to Labour in the 2020 red wave, is not contesting the electorate this time around, having opted to run on the list only.
National has selected Campbell, a newcomer, to run in the seat. He is ranked 63, meaning he will need to win the seat to enter Parliament. Labour’s Pallet is ranked 51, so she too would have to win the seat to stay in Parliament.
A leaked survey from the Manji campaign showed a very different result.
Campbell was still ahead on 27.2 per cent, followed more closely by Manji on 23.4 per cent.
Pallett was a distant third on 17.7 per cent.
That survey picked random addresses in the electorate from the 2020 electoral roll, and interviewed 2591 voters (1339 male and 1252 female) between August 9-18.
The Taxpayers’ Union-Curia Poll was released ahead of a debate in that electorate later this evening.
Thomas Coughlan is Deputy Political Editor and covers politics from Parliament. He has worked for the Herald since 2021 and has worked in the press gallery since 2018.