Poll shows Nats back on track

John Key: 'After four weeks of Dirty Politics, it is quite clear there is a huge fatigue factor and it is not a voter driver.'
John Key: 'After four weeks of Dirty Politics, it is quite clear there is a huge fatigue factor and it is not a voter driver.'
National's polling has barely flickered in the three weeks since the Dirty Politics book was launched and the party could still govern alone on 50.1 per cent in the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey.

Prime Minister John Key told the Herald the results reflected "a huge fatigue factor" with Dirty Politics.

Labour continues a slow decline, now at 23.8 per cent, and its support among males has fallen to 18.4 per cent.

New Zealand First continues a slow rise to 6 per cent, up 1 point, and would bring in seven MPs - one less than it has now. The Conservatives have risen by 0.5 to 3.8 per cent but unless they cross the 5 per cent threshold, or win a seat, they won't make it.

The Greens are unchanged on 11.4. Internet Mana is up fractionally and would still bring in four MPs if its leader, Hone Harawira keeps Te Tai Tokerau.

The Maori Party is down to 0.4, Act is on 0.4 as well, and United Future is on 0.3. The popularity of Mr Key has gone up a little in the past week.

David Cunliffe's ratings as preferred PM actually went up even more than Mr Key's, the likely result of greater exposure he is getting in the election campaign and a capable performance in the first televised leaders debate.

National would need 61 seats to govern and the poll result would deliver it 63. With current support partners Act, United Future and Maori Party it would have 66. Labour, the Greens, Internet Mana and New Zealand First would have 55.

The common wisdom is the party in government takes a hit in an election campaign as other parties get greater publicity. But other parties haven't got much exposure this campaign. It has only been in the past few days that the issues related to the book, based on emails of Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, have not dominated the political agenda.

The close association between former Justice Minister Judith Collins and Mr Slater was laid bare in the book. She resigned from Cabinet last week. In the Herald-DigiPoll survey that began the week Nicky Hager's book was published, National was on 50 per cent; the following week it was 50.7 per cent and this week it is on 50.1 per cent.

Mr Key said last night that "after four weeks of Dirty Politics, it is quite clear there is a huge fatigue factor and it is not a voter driver."

He said he believed the capital gains tax was a "massive vote loser" for Labour because it was fraught with complexity and voters did not understand how it would work.

 

Untrustworthy?

Sv3nno, you say "Cunliffe has often said one thing and then says or does the opposite. He has consistently been inconsistent and therefore seems untrustworthy" and imply this had resulted in his being given a tougher time than Key. But them why hasn't Key suffered similarly? He's at least as bad. He's been caught out apparently making up numbers to suit his position several times. He's the master of "I don't remember that" or "I don't recall", but each time he makes a mistake very minimal coverage is given of them, or how some one below him was at fault but he's not responsible. See here

Think of all the gaffes the two have made recently and the seriousness of each of them, and the amount of coverage of each one, and then tell me there's no media bias. I'll give you a recent example, Cunliff can't remember one little fact from a huge document. He wrote and refused to lie and want time to confirm his answer. But there's a bare mention of the fact that our elected leader with all the responsibilities, power and resouces that his office conveys him outright lied to NZers at the same time in order to mislead them.[Abridged]

There is a difference

Key had real questions to answer, real questions of trust and accountability and sharp practices.

Cunliffe got hauled over the coals about a completely innocuous form letter sent out from his office  and, to quote Key, "hundreds of thousands of dollars" of unrecorded donations to Labour from a Chinese businessman.  Those nothing items got weeks of coverage in the media and was the genesis of the ongoing media attacks.  When the donation story turned out to be completely unfounded the media didn't go to Key and demand that he reveal his source. 

As for the Selwyn and Rangitata electorates, I don't know whether Key personally selects the candidates for National (maybe he does), but Cunliffe certainly doesn't select the Labour ones. 

Blaming is losing

As you point out the media has given Cunliffe a hard time, but it's his own making (and you may recall the media spending the last two or three weeks giving John Key a hard time). If you are blaming the media you are losing the argument. The reasons the media give him a hard time are even more numerous than Judith Collins mistakes. Cunliffe is up against John Key, who is a more polished performer (because performance and perception are indeed important, as is policy). Cunliffe has often said one thing and then says or does the opposite. He has consistently been inconsistent and therefore seems untrustworthy. He has just openly relinquished two seats to National through being unable to find even halfway competent candidates (Selwyn and, more importantly Rangitata, which could have been won after boundary changes). John Key is just helping Cunliffe along in the same way Cunliffe helped Key along with the fallout from the Whale Oil hacking. It's distraction politics, difference is that Key doesn't pretend it's a positive campaign.

Media and the election

I agree treeleaper. I think the media used to function when they relied on subscription rather than advertising. However, as most (particular online media) have moved to an advertising model they are now largely dependent on business funding for survival. That effectively mutes any tendency for the press to be critical of business or government policies that are not low-tax and business friendly. You can get away with some, but being perceived as an 'anti-business' media outlet would be financial suicide. 

Hager uses an alternative model that enables him to be critical but that has to be done from outside the advertising funded media (book sales). In comparison, Slater shows the full force of an advertising funded media where he basically makes up the news because as long as people read it and it's pro-business people will keep funding him. That's where we are headed - like the US. In either case, Labour knows what it has to do to get a fair go in the NZ media. Adopt National's policies.

Fair suck of the sav

No matter which way you look at it you can't possibily agree that Cunliffe has had a fair suck of the sav from the media.  The media effectively hounded him from the moment he was elected to the position and they still hound him.  Take the latest case in point - he hesitated over a detail in a major piece of policy and the media were right on him, yet again.  Sure, they looked at the fact that Key had got a number wrong but pretty well skated over it. 

I read in the Christchurch Press this morning that Key said referring to the rebuild during the Press debate, "Christchurch is nearly full."  Anyone that has been in Christchurch CBD lately would know that it is actually nearly empty.  I would hazard that if Cunliffe had made that remark the media would have been all over it.

Go back to the so-called "hundreds of thousands of dollars" that  Key alluded to that Labour supposedly received from that Chinese businessman who has been so generous to National.  The media rode that story into the ground and in the end it turned out to be nothing.  Key and his mates would have known at the time that they were looking at a slow erosion of confidence in Cunliffe.

Is this the way we want politics to be in this country?  Wouldn't it be great if the media stuck to known facts? But I guess when it is all said and done, the people running the media are businessmen and as such would see themselves as having a natural affinity to National and as such would fight tooth and nail to make sure a capital gains tax did not take root in this country.  We know for sure that the business community left no stone unturned to get that one stopped, albeit to no avail.

Two sides to the coin

Treeleaper: Don't put it all on the voters. The other side of the story is the weak opposition to the Govt. If Cunliffe is not able to sort himself out he will never sort out his caucus, the rest of the party, Russel Norman, Metiria Turei, John Minto, Hone Harawira, Laila Harre, et al.

People get the government they deserve

Joseph de Maistre once said; "Every nation gets the government it deserves."

I wonder about the electorate in this country, here we have a government that sold assets in the face of a great deal of popular opposition and on the face of it either perpetrated or had perpetrated on its behalf actions that go against what underpins our democracy.

The same government cannot put together anything that remotely looks like solving the housing crisis and is presiding over a shambles of an education system.

The same government kneecapped the unions which were the only means by which workers could effectively bargain with their employers.

And yet here is that same government still buoyed by good poll results.

In the event that National are re-elected we wil have fulfilled Monsieur Maistre's prophecy.