An unusual election campaign

Tommorow, the only poll that counts during the 2014 election will take place.

It has been a most unusual campaign, with the early period dominated by ''Dirty Politics'', and, after a spell of relative normality, the so-called ''Moment of Truth'' holding centre stage.

In both cases, either directly or via his associations, ministers and staff, the guns have been aimed at Prime Minister and National leader John Key.

The tactic and hope of opposition parties for years has been to get dirt to stick to ''Teflon John''.

They know he has been the key to National's continuing success. It seems, though, with Labour continuing to languish in the opinion polls, the main beneficiaries of the accusations might well be the ''minor'' parties of Winston Peters and New Zealand First, and Colin Craig and the Conservatives.

The Conservatives might break the 5% barrier (although that was more unlikely as of last night's opinion polls) while - as we have long predicted in this column - New Zealand First appears to be climbing significantly beyond that level.

It seems, too, that the accusations and denials are not shifting the views of many voters.

Those who cannot stand John Key are all the more certain in their appraisal of him, while Mr Key's supporters will always trust him ahead of his political opponents.

Many voters find all the detail too much to take on board. Complexity dulls the responses. Others believe dirty politics is simply the name of the game and is to be expected.

Similarly, extensive spying, one way or another, is just what goes on and it is necessary for safety and security and protection from evil-doers.

If the revelations do not ''prove'' Mr Key is a blatant liar, then what is all the fuss about, they ask.

Labour and its leader, David Cunliffe, must be frustrated, having been left out of the main picture during the hullabaloos.

Labour does not appear to have benefited as might have been expected from National under attack.

The days of two-party dominance are long gone, with voters able to register a wider range of choices.

Although both National and Labour are basically centrist parties, there has been more of a divergence this time from Labour, one the electorate probably has not had sufficient opportunity to engage with.

Labour has tilted more towards policies of intervening in the economy.

Mr Key, meanwhile, continues to frustrate the right of his party with his unashamed pragmatism and forays into Labour territory.

Voters do, nevertheless, have choices and several policies will make a difference, especially so if coalition parties can successfully influence further policy.

The Green Party, for its part, is endeavouring to paint itself as fiscally responsible. Alongside its environmental policies, it is economically left of Labour.

Throw in the minor parties, and the election is not just a tick for Tweedledum or Tweedledee.

There are, as well, differences in approaches between the two largest parties to Dunedin issues.

Labour has made it clear it will keep Invermay open and healthy and has plans for the Hillside workshops and the hospital, while National sells its economic governance record as benefiting everywhere.

Some idea of the limited sway of Dunedin is revealed, however, when it is realised the city's two electorates spread well past city boundaries while South Auckland alone has eight electorate seats.

Turnouts have trended downwards from 90.26% in 1960 to under 75% in 2011.

It is a moot point whether the apparent added interest, and notably the arrival of Internet Mana and its pitch to younger voters and its popular election meetings, will halt the slide this year.

When push comes to shove, when voters step up to mark their ballot papers, it might well be that the two big ''disclosures'' of this bizarre campaign have little impact.

What still makes the underlying difference for many is effect on back pockets. For many, it will come down to which policies affect me personally - and which party will best help the country, and therefore me and my family and community, prosper the most?

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