National flying high in poll

National Party leader, Prime Minister John Key.
National Party leader, Prime Minister John Key.
The Internet-Mana Party would get two seats in Parliament based on the first major poll since the two parties cut a deal to stand together.

But, three months shy of the election, Labour is still struggling and the left bloc is well adrift from National, which could easily govern alone based on the Herald-DigiPoll survey.

The results for the Mana Party, Internet Party and Internet-Mana Party totalled 1.4 per cent in the survey - a modest start for the newly launched party which was the centre of attention in the lead-up to the polling period.

That is enough to get new Internet Party leader Laila Harre into Parliament if Mana leader Hone Harawira holds his Te Tai Tokerau electorate.

But the votes appear to have been at the expense of the Green Party which dropped to 11 per cent, down 2.5 points since the last Herald-DigiPoll survey in March.

That will worry the Greens, especially if Internet-Mana, bankrolled with $3 million from Kim Dotcom, starts to pick up more momentum.

Polling began on June 6, soon after Mana and Internet agreed to stand as a joint force to try to maximise the number of MPs Mr Harawira could take into Parliament under the "coat-tailing" provisions of MMP.

Although the deal was criticised by many commentators and rival political parties, 39 per cent of those polled said the Internet-Mana arrangement was a legitimate use of MMP while 43 per cent said it was an unprincipled rort.

With a party vote based on the poll of 50.4 per cent, National maintains a strong lead and is 20 points ahead of Labour which is up one to 30.5 per cent. National would have 64 seats, enough to govern without any support partners and 10 more seats than the left bloc of Labour, the Greens and Internet-Mana.

Labour leader David Cunliffe has rallied slightly, although Labour's efforts to beat the anti-immigration drum just before the poll began do not appear to have had much traction. Labour inched back over the 30 per cent mark and Mr Cunliffe's personal ratings as preferred Prime Minister have nudged up from 11 to 13 per cent since March.

He is still adrift of his high of 17 per cent immediately after his election last September and continues to poll lower than former leader David Shearer did. NZ First was steady on 3.6 per cent - not enough to return to Parliament though its support tends to lift during the campaign.

The poll indicates Prime Minister John Key has escaped the fallout from the trial and resignation of former Act MP John Banks, which broke the day before the poll began. Mr Key held steady at 66 per cent as preferred Prime Minister. Those who believed the Government was heading in the right direction lifted to 56 per cent - the highest since just before the 2011 election.

The poll of 750 eligible voters was taken from June 6 to June 15 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 per cent. There were 12.2 per cent undecided voters on the party vote.

Voters don't mind rule

Labour and the Internet-Mana Party want to abolish the coat-tailing rule used in seats such as Epsom, but almost half of those polled in the Herald-DigiPoll survey say they have no objection to the provision.

Asked for their views on the rule, which allows an electorate MP to bring others from their party into Parliament without having to reach 5 per cent, half of those polled said they had no objection compared with 36 per cent who said they would prefer to see it replaced by a 4 per cent threshold.

The National Party's support partners Act and United Future have benefited from the provision, although they were not able to bring in a second MP in 2011.

Prime Minister John Key plans to announce which electorates National will ask its voters to support a potential coalition partner's candidate in before the election. He is likely to give the go-ahead in both Epsom and Ohariu to help get Act and United Future back into Parliament. He will also reveal whether National will do a deal with the Conservative Party.

The current poll shows Conservative leader Colin Craig could bring one other MP with him to Parliament if National gifts him an electorate seat. On this survey, those two Conservative seats would mean National and the Green Party would each lose one.

Herald-DigiPoll results:

The poll has National on 50.4 per cent (down 0.4), Labour on 30.5 (up 1), and the Green Party on 10.7 (down 2.4).

Of the smaller parties, NZ First is on 3.6 (no change), the Conservative Party 1.5 (up 0.2), Maori Party 0.8 (up 0.6) and Act on 0.7 (down 0.1). United Future is on 0.1 (up from zero).

Internet Mana got 1.4 - the combined total of 0.5% for Mana, the 0.2% for Internet Party and the 0.7% who said Internet Mana.

There were 12.2 per cent undecided voters.

 

Herald-DigiPoll survey

How, and where are these polls conducted? Being a frequent reader of online newspapers I must have it, and a few others that the Herald has done. 

Don't do it John

I hope John Key doesn't commit political suicide by joining up with Colin Craig. National can't possibly lose this election. However, in three year's time it will be election year again. If they go with him, Colin Craig will be the albatross around National's neck. The whole country is nervously awaiting John Key's decision. National may well get my vote if it doesn't mean letting Craig in and gives us a strong government. However, with Craig my vote and a lot of other people's votes will go somewhere else.

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