July 10, 2007

a big hill to climb

Given how far National is ahead in the polls, it may seem that it is a given that they will win the next election, and form the next government. Sadly, not so.

Why sadly? Well, I remember Muldoon winning the 1981 election and how annoyed people were that he could stay as prime minister, when the majority of people had voted for Rowling to be prime minister. It was partly that memory which caused us to vote in MMP. Well now, there is a chance that Clark will win the 2008 election despite the majority of people voting for Key.

The chance is due to the possible evaporation of ACT, United Future and New Zealand First. Hide appears to be taking ACT beyond even Douglas's depths of obscurity. He may make it back in on the Epsom vote, but he'll be an overhang just by himself based on current polling. Peters might produce some magic in Tauranga off the back of his statesman performance as Minister of Foreign Affairs, but is seems unlikely to me. Like Hide, the improved Peters appears to have lost his traction with the great unwashed. Dunne may well repeat his performance from last time, but Key is likely to occupy a fair bit of the territory he has been attempting to make his own.

On the left, however, the three parties look like they are going to get in again quite sweetly. The Maori and Alliance have healthy safe seats to get themselves in on, and the Greens are doing nicely out of global warming and voters who are looking for an alternative to Clark's tired government.

The upshot of these factors is that National is going to have to win around 47% of the vote in order to pull together a government of natural National partners. To win with less, they'll have to find a way of getting the Greens and/or the Maori party to support them. This will be a challenge, as both parties will know the damage that can be done to their support if their voters think they are 'doing a deal with the devil'.

But (bless them) that is what Key and English are attempting to do. Roll on the polls next year.

Note (National have been polling over 50% recently, but I expect that to fall away as the real contest starts).

Posted by carla at July 10, 2007 05:53 PM
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