Home > The Body Politic > Labour’s collapse in the polls – why?

Labour’s collapse in the polls – why?


Red Arrow Down


In recent months, successive polls have not favoured the Labour Party and the Left Bloc.

A TV3 Reid Research Poll in mid/late May gave a  shock result for Labour;

National:  50.3% (+ 4.4%)

Labour: 29.5% (- 1.7%)

Greens: 10.2% (- 1%)

NZ First: 5.6% (+ 0.7%)

A Roy Morgan poll in late May/early June – one of the more accurate of polls – fared no better;

National: 52.5%  (+ 7%)

Labour:  29% (- 1.5%)

Greens:  9% (- 4.5%)

NZ First:  4.5% (- 1.5%)

A mid-June Herald Digipoll presented similar results;

National: 50.4% (- 0.4%)

Labour:  30.5% (+ 1%)

Greens:  10.7% (- 2.4%)

NZ First:  3.6% (n/c)

The most recent stats,  from a June  Fairfax/Ipsos poll, was even worse;

National: 56.5 (+ 8.9%)

Labour:  23.2% (-6.3%)

Greens:  11.9% (- 0.8%)

NZ First:  3.2% (- 0.5%)

Though National’s 56.5% is in pure la-la land (they scored only 47.31% in the 2011 General Election), the overall pattern seems fairly clear; National is rising, whilst the Labour-Green bloc is falling, and – on face value – close to collapse. (I also do not believe that NZ First will not cross the 5% threshold.)

I put National’s rise and the Left’s fall down to three significant factors;

1. National’s May 15 Budget which took a lurch to the left with extra social spending; removing tariffs (temporarily) on building materials; and the promise of a budget ‘surplus‘.

It was a typical electioneering budget, increasing spending on social areas that had been  been previously starved of funding in recent years. Even the so-called “surplus” was questioned by the Opposition.

2. Increasing economic activity, predicated mainly on three factors;

3. Infighting between Labour and it’s potential coalition partners.

On 7 June, I blogged on the issue of Labour’s unprovoked and negative attacks on it’s potential allies. I wrote;

Going by recent public comments made by Labour MPs and candidates, it seems that the Labour Party is either planning to sit this election out – or some of it’s higher-ranking public individuals are out of control.

How else to explain recent statements made in the mainstream and social media by Labour people, attacking others on the Left?

Being “principled” and attacking potential allies will result in looking weak and fractured, in the eyes of the public.

Being “principled” and attacking potential allies smacks of dis-unity. Dis-unity, in the eyes of the public, is not a Government-in-waiting. It is Labour unable to set aside self-interest and party-politics for the good of the nation.

If the public perceive that Labour is more interested in attacking it’s own potential allies – and here is the nub of the problem – then why should people vote for such a fractious party that appears unable to work alongside said potential allies?

National – polling in high 40s and low 50s – cultivates potential allies.

Labour – polling in high 20s and low 30s – undermines, attacks, and marginalises it’s own potential allies.


How many times have we heard the public say, “why can’t they work together for the good of the country?”.

Well, National’s strategists have understood and implemented this very simple truism; the public do not like seeing squabbling politicians. The public want political parties to work together, collegially to solve pressing problems.

That is why Key keeps repeating his mantra,

“We’ve shown we can deliver strong and stable government and can work with other parties for the good of the country blah blah blah..”

That is why National is high up in the polls.

That is why Labour is floundering and losing support. And respect.

Not only do I not resile from the above comments I wrote on 7 June, but I reassert that recent polling has more than proven my point.

We on the Left can do very little about National’s fudging of Budget figures, nor economic  growth created by demands from an earthquake-ravaged city; a housing bubble; and Chinese consumption.

We can, however, get our own house in order when it comes to inter-party relationships.

If Labour wants to portray itself as a credible government-in-waiting, it must demonstrate that it is capable of working across all sectors in society.

If they cannot work collegially with other Left-leaning parties – then why on Earth should the public believe that Labour could  work with other sector-groups? The ‘signals’ that various Labour MPs (Hipkins, Nash, Goff, Shane Jones, Davis, et al) are sending is one of fractious in-fighting; of “greedy little little children grabbing all the toys in the cot, and not prepared to share and play together”.

This is not a political party demonstrating readiness to be a government. It is a party showing  desperation to grab votes at any expense.

Unless Labour is looking forward to sitting on the Opposition benches for the next ten years, it must change it’s internal culture. We talk about the “Police culture” needing change – I submit that Labour itself needs to look deep within itself and understand why the public are not responding to their policies and messages.

Why is  the public turned off  from Labour?

How does the public view Labour’s bitter attacks on the Greens and Mana-Internet?

What  does the public want?

Ask those three questions at the next focus groups, Ms Coatsworth, and you may start to understand why it is that Labour is not connecting with voters.




TV3 Reid Research: 3 News Reid Research Poll

Roy Morgan: National (52.5%) surges to election winning lead while Labour/ Greens (38%) slump to lowest

NZ Herald: National flies high as new party nibbles into Greens

Fairfax media: Ipsos June 2014 Poll – The Party Vote

Wikipedia: New Zealand general election, 2011

NZ Herald: Budget 2014 – Bigger surplus unveiled, doctor visits for kids

Interest.co.nz: Government to temporarily remove duties and tariffs on building materials

Dominion Post: Wellington rape centre forced to cut hours

Fairfax media: Rape crisis line forced to cut staff

Fairfax media:  Budget 2014: Surplus real, says English

NBR: Auckland house prices continue their relentless rise

NZ Herald: Big resurgence in NZ house-building

Stats NZ: Dairy product exports grow for 20 years

Stats NZ: Logs to China drive our forestry export growth

Daily Blog:  The secret of National’s success – revealed

Previous related blogposts

Letter to the Editor: playing politics with rape victims, National-style

Budget 2014 – How has National exposed itself in Election Year?







Why I am a Leftie

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 19 June 2014.



= fs =

  1. John Ellis
  2. Priss
    25 June 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I agree Frank. Labour’s attacks on the Greens and Mana-Internet is not a good look and all the public can see is infighting amongst Labour and it’s coalition partners on the Left. Even I’m wondering if Labour are ready to govern, and I’m a rock solid leftwing voter!!!

    Until Labour sorts out their own house, people are not going to see them as a government in waiting.

  3. 26 June 2014 at 5:47 pm

    I’m a swing voter, I’ll vote left when I think the policies of the left are best for the country, I’ll vote right when I think the policies of the right are best for the country. In this upcoming election I don’t know what I’ll vote, the steady as she goes national approach is not enough, more is needed to spread the wealth in the country, but all the left seems to be doing is picking personal fights. I don’t vote on party lists, and gender equality in a party is no guarantee of good policies or that they have the capacity to make a good government. It’s about time we heard some policies from all parties. How are they going to pop the housing bubble without killing the economy. How are they going to increase jobs, wages, reduce the benefit burden etc etc etc. it’s time to stop picking personal attacks on other parties MPs of any political leaning, that just makes your party look small minded. It’s most definitely time to stop acting surprised when they are thrown back at you, that makes you look incompetent

    • 26 June 2014 at 7:25 pm

      Welcome to my blog, Damian.

      Appreciate your views. I’m hearing similar views from others in my travels…

  1. 14 August 2014 at 8:01 am
  2. 7 November 2015 at 10:08 am
  3. 10 November 2015 at 8:00 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: