22 Feb 2017

Poll of Polls: Labour regains support, National strong

6:03 am on 22 February 2017

Labour has edged back out of the trough into which it slid through the second half of 2016. But National remains ahead of the combined Labour and Greens poll support - so far.

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Labour has regained some support in the latest Poll of Polls but National remains ahead of the combined Labour-Greens. Photo: RNZ

RNZ's latest Poll of Polls up to mid-February gave Labour an average of 28.5% through January and the first half of February, with just seven months to run until the election. This was 2 points up on its late-2016 average of 26.4%.

But it is well below its 32.5% average at this time in the 2014 election year, from which it dropped to 25.1% in the election.

The Greens latest average is 11.5%. That gives a combined Labour and Greens score of 40%.

Set that against National's latest average of 46.7%, close to where it was in November before a 2-point boost after the smooth changeover in December from John Key to Bill English - and very close to its 2014 election score.

That puts National still comfortably ahead of the Labour and Greens "coalition-in-waiting", even if down a bit from the late-2016 peak.

National is hoping for a boost from the Maori party-Mana deal but the current combined Maori-Mana party vote average of 2.4% would give the combination only three seats unless it could win three electorate seats off Labour to add to Te Ururoa's lone Waiariki seat and even if did that, one would likely be Hone Harawira, who is opposed to National.

So, if National drops a point or two from its latest average to the election, it would need Winston Peters to govern, especially if Labour, with help from a Green candidate abstention in Ohariu, ousted Peter Dunne.

Winston Peters' New Zealand First party's latest average was 9.7%, twice where it was this time in 2014. If New Zealand First repeats its usual election-year upward climb, it could expect to be a few points at least above 10%, and thus a completely different support-party proposition from the tiny parties now supporting National. It would be nearer the level it had when it was last in (shaky) coalition with National from 1996 to 1998.

Looked at through a possible Labour-led coalition lens, New Zealand First could well also be a bigger party than the Greens.

Act and United Future are sitting close to the tiny votes they got in the 2014 election.

*The poll of polls is an arithmetical average of the four most recent major polls from among: TV1 Colmar Brunton, TV3 Reid Research, NZ Herald DigiPoll (discontinued since late 2015), Roy Morgan New Zealand and the unpublished UMR Research and Curia. The latest average is from, in chronological order, Morgan, Curia, UMR and TV1. The first point on the charts is the actual 2014 election result. Only Roy Morgan and UMR have polled in every month since the election, so the average in most months is overweighted with those two. Curia does poll continuously but has been included only since September. A new Roy Morgan poll is expected soon.

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