The ACT Party's survival in Parliament could now rely on how strongly the National Party and its leader John Key wants it to happen.
A UMR Research poll commissioned by the National Business Review has National's Epsom candidate Paul Goldsmith on 37%, with ACT candidate John Banks trailing on 24%.[image:3429:third:right]
Without Epsom, ACT is unlikely to return to Parliament after the general election on 26 November.
ACT leader Don Brash says he is optimistic that the party will be able to retain the seat, but says it is up to National to make its intentions in the Auckland electorate clearer. He believes support for Mr Banks will rise closer to the election.
Some 35% of Mr Goldsmith's supporters in the survey said they would switch to Mr Banks if Mr Key indicated that he wanted ACT to win Epsom.
Mr Banks says under the MMP system, National needs friends in Parliament and he wants to make sure voters understand their position.
Mr Goldsmith says he is continuing to concentrate on the party vote and it is up to the people of Epsom to decide who they will give their electorate vote to.
The poll of 400 voters was conducted on 7-8 October and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9%.