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Poll: Labour, National and the crucial 8%

Prime Minister Bill English and Labour leader Jacinda Ardern at the Leaders Debate. Photo/Getty Images

Labour’s support has almost doubled since May, yet National’s is virtually unchanged, according to our latest poll.

Labour is leading National in the latest Bauer Media Insights IQ poll, with 37% against National’s 34%. Next is New Zealand First on 7%, followed by the Greens on 6%, The Opportunities Party on 2% and Act and Maori on 1%. The poll canvassed 1528 New Zealanders aged 18-plus who are planning to vote in this year’s election and was taken from September 1-5.

While National has almost held its own since the previous Insights IQ poll in May, down one percentage point from 35%, Labour has almost doubled its support, up 18 points from 19%. The Greens are the biggest losers, down seven points, and the don’t knows are on 10%, down from 18%.

However, a crucial 8% of undecided voters said either their party vote was very likely to change before the election (2%) or that they had no idea who they would vote for (6%). A further 16% said their party vote may change before the election.

When respondents were asked whether they expected New Zealand polls to prove more accurate than those ahead of the US presidential election and the Brexit vote in the UK, 17% said yes, 52% said maybe, 15% said no and 15% didn’t know.

In the preferred prime minister stakes, Labour’s Jacinda Ardern on 46% is well ahead of National’s Bill English on 36%. But the results were reversed when it came to which leader was most capable of managing the economy: English on 47% soundly beat Ardern on 29%. The age of those polled made a big difference to beliefs about managing the economy: under-forties rated the two leaders equally at 35%, while those aged 60-plus scored English 58% and Ardern just 21%.

In the attitude questions, 84% think we do incredibly well for a small country at the bottom of the world, and 76% believe, given the current state of the world, there is no better country to live in. Fifty-three per cent think New Zealand is heading in the right direction, 23% think we’re on the wrong track and 24% don’t know.

Respondents were also asked about the biggest issues capturing their attention during the election campaign. Housing, with 413 unprompted mentions, topped the list, followed by health (218), education (210), tax (188) and water (116).

Election-year barometer

This is the final Election Time Barometer of our election-year research. The results are weighted by age, gender and region, and the margin of error at the 95% confidence level is ±2.5%.

This article was first published in the September 16, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.