Poll: Minor parties surge as Labour sinks lower

New Zealand First, the Conservatives and Internet Mana are on the move up and Labour is still slipping, in the latest Herald DigiPoll survey.

That will be unwelcome news to Labour leader David Cunliffe as he prepares for his first face-off against Prime Minister John Key in the election campaign, at 7 pm tonight on One.

National is up fractionally and could still govern alone with 64 seats.

Mr Key's personal popularity is up 3 points to 67.8 per cent.

Last weekend's campaign launch by National and its first-home buyers package has seen the first real break in saturation coverage of fallout from Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics book.

New Zealand First has broken the 5 per cent threshold and leader Winston Peters has leapt up the preferred Prime Minister stakes by 3.1 points to within striking distance of Mr Cunliffe, who is down 2.8 to 11.6 per cent.

Colin Craig's Conservatives have risen 0.7 of a point to 3.3 per cent and would not have MPs in Parliament at that level.

In yesterday's TV3 poll the Conservatives were on 4.6 and would not have seats in Parliament either, but the clear trend is upwards for both the Conservatives and New Zealand First.

But the big mover in the DigiPoll survey is Internet Mana which is up by 1.3 to 3.4 per cent.

That would bring Laila Harre, Annette Sykes and John Minto into Parliament, assuming that leader Hone Harawira keeps his Te Tai Tokerau seat.

The Greens have fallen 2.3 point to 11.4 per cent although their support commonly fluctuates.

Labour appears to be on a steady decline from 30.5 per cent in June, 26.5 in July, 25.2 last week and to 24.1 in today's poll.

If Labour mustered the support of New Zealand First, the Greens and Internet Mana, combined they would have 55 seats.

National and its current support partners the Maori Party, Act and United Future would have 67 seats, assuming that the support partners each kept an electorate seat.

But the party vote support for Act and United Future is so small that they would create an overhang.

That is when parties are able to keep any electorate seat won and extend Parliament beyond 120 seats if the Party Vote entitlement is less than electorates actually won.

That is one of the reasons it made sense for National to back Act and United Future even though they were polling less than 1 per cent, because any overhang would be extra seats for the centre-right.

The Herald DigiPoll survey will run weekly during the campaign.


The full party vote results compared with last week's:

National 50.7 (up 0.7)
Labour 24.1 (down 1.1)
Greens 11.4 (down 2.3)
NZ First 5 (up 0.7)
Maori Party 1 (up 0.3)
Internet Mana 3.4 (up 1.3)
Conservatives 3.3 (up 0.7)
Act 0.3 (down 0.3)
United Future 0.2 (down 0.2)

PREFERRED PRIME MINISTER (compared with last week)

John Key 67.8 (up 3)
David Cunliffe 11.6 (down 2.8)
Winston Peters 8.2 (up 3.1)
Russel Norman 3.8 (up 0.3)

• The poll of 750 eligible voters was conducted between August 21 and 27. The Party vote is of decided voters only and 7.9 per cent were undecided compared to 12.5 per cent last week.