Colmar Brunton: NZ Labour leads National by 48-31

Three-and-a-half weeks before the October 17 New Zealand election, the first media poll since late July has Labour still well ahead.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

A New Zealand Colmar Brunton poll, conducted September 17-21 from a sample of 1,008, gave Labour 48% (down five since late July), National 31% (down one), the right-wing ACT 7% (up two), the Greens 6% (up one) and NZ First 2% (steady).  Labour PM Jacinda Ardern led Opposition Leader Judith Collins by 54-18 as better PM (54-20 in July).

Under New Zealand’s proportional representation system, parties must either win a single-member seat or clear the 5% threshold to be represented in parliament. NZ First, which is currently a Labour coalition partner, is unlikely to return to parliament.

Even though the Greens have 6% in this poll, they should be anxious about clearing the 5% threshold. In the past, NZ polls have overstated the Greens. ACT is far better placed as their leader holds the single-member seat of Epsom.

If these poll results were the outcome on October 17, Labour would win 62 of the 120 seats, just enough for a majority. National would win 41 seats, ACT nine and the Greens eight.

There have been two other relatively recent NZ polls. A privately conducted late August to early September UMR poll gave Labour 53%, National 29%, ACT 6.2%, NZ First 3.9% and the Greens 3.2%. A Morgan poll, conducted in August, gave Labour 48%, National 28.5%, the Greens 11.5%, ACT 6% and NZ First 2.5%.

A concern for Labour is that their vote could continue to fall. If Labour’s election vote is under 45%, they may need the Greens to clear the 5% threshold to form a Labour/Green government.

17 comments on “Colmar Brunton: NZ Labour leads National by 48-31”

  1. Plenty of that drop in Labour’s vote seems to be to microparties (7% of them, give or take a bit of rounding error), and that’s helpful to them – they just need half of the 92% worth of parties that actually get seats allocated, so 46%. If the Greens miss the cut, that number drops further. Considering Labour would pick up at least some of that disappearing Green vote (like that 53% Labor / 3.2% Green poll), they shouldn’t need to worry too much.

    Where’s ACT’s vote coming from? They’ve been polling in the 6-7% range for a while, which would be their best result since the early 2000’s when MMP was still sorting itself out. Last few elections they’ve got 1% or less.

  2. Also, Winston Peters seems to be turning into a real grumpy old man. 75 years old, and watching his party not survive him after almost 30 years.

    [ Winston Peters again described the poll as “rubbish” – adding: “If you want to go on making yourself look stupid, that’s your problem.” ]

  3. NZ First also dropped bellow the threshold, with Peters also loosing his seat, dropping out of Parliament in 2008 and returned to parliament in 2011. However that was with 4% of the 2008 vote, not 2%.

  4. ACT is on the right so presumably some of its vote is disaffected National voters.

    Collins is a far right candidate from within National, so she was put in as leader to stabilise the situation and hang onto the National base. Her ability To broaden their appeal or win undecided middle voters is limited.

  5. Here’s another thought for the MMP geeks. Say National get absolutely splattered. How bad would their vote have to be before they start getting overhang seats, and therefore enlarging parliament? Given that there’s electorate seats they can’t lose (the NZ version of Maranoa or Wentworth), it’s a vague possibility. It’s unlikely, but it might be a weird way Labour don’t get to have a majority (by getting 61 seats out of what ends up being more than 120).

  6. “A concern for Labour is that their vote could continue to fall. “…..

    What’s the ground for such a concern?

    17-21 September…. Labour 48%
    Early September…. Labour 53%
    August…………………. Labour 48%

    So, parsimoniously, we may say that the Labour vote has been around 48% since August and therefore “If these poll results were the outcome on October 17, Labour would win 62 of the 120 seats, just enough for a majority”…

  7. Westpac has announced it will pay a $1.3 billion fine, the largest in Australian corporate history, for breaching anti-money laundering laws and for failing to stop child exploitation payments..

    Chief executive Peter King apologised for the bank’s failings as the settlement with the financial crimes regulator, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), was announced.

    “We are committed to fixing the issues to ensure that these mistakes do not happen again. This has been my number one priority. We have also closed down relevant products and reported all relevant historical transactions.”

    The penalty surpasses Commonwealth Bank’s $700 million settlement, also with AUSTRAC, in 2018. CBA was fined for facilitating money laundering linked to arms and drugs dealers through its ATMs. That fine dwarfed the previous record, of $45 million paid by Tabcorp to settle its money-laundering case with AUSTRAC in 2017.

  8. Labour don’t need to be over 45%, they just need to be bigger than National and ACT combined. This poll has them 10% ahead of National/ACT

  9. New Newshub/Reid Research poll:

    Party Vote
    Lab 50.1 (-10.8)
    Nat 29.6 (+4.5)
    Grn 6.5 (+0.8)
    ACT 6.3 (+3.0)
    NZ First-1.9 (-0.1)

    Est Seats
    Lab 65 (-12)
    Nat 39 (+7)
    Grn 8 (+1)
    ACT 8 (+4)

    Date of Survey: 16-23 September 2020
    N=1000 (700 by phone, 300 by internet panel)
    Change is from 16–24 Jul 2020 Newshub/Reid Research poll


  10. In the video at the link for the Newshub Poll, a breakdown by 2017 vote was reported.

    In summary (all figures are %)

    2017 Lab voters: Lab 83 Nat 5 Grn 5

    2017 Nat voters: Nat 63 Lab 21 ACT 9

    2017 Grn voters: Lab 40 (no other figures reported)

    2017 NZF voters: Lab 43 (no other figures reported)

    Intending 2020 ACT voters party vote in 2017: Nat 37 Maori 10 Lab 10

  11. Another Colmar Brunton poll released today:

    Labour is still well ahead in the latest TVNZ-Colmar Brunton poll, which shows the party on 47 per cent, down one point from last week’s poll, and giving it 59 seats.

    National has managed to climb to 33 per cent, up 2 points on last week’s poll.

    The big news is this is the first recent poll to show Labour needing help to form a government. It wouldn’t be able to govern alone.

    The Greens, on 7 per cent, up 1 point, would be obvious coalition partners for Labour.

    ACT is a strong mover in Monday’s poll, scoring 8 per cent, enough to bring 10 MPs to Parliament.

    NZ First would be out of Parliament on 1 per cent.

  12. Hmmm. I’ve got a feeling that Labour will end up with a bare majority, but will likely keep the Greens in the tent as a junior coalition partner. The NZ Greens don’t seem as (self) destructive of the progressive plurality as (most of) their Australian and American counterparts. They seem to behave like ACT Greens and I suspect that the political attitudes and values of voters that form the broad NZ progressive bloc would align more closely to Canberrans than say Queenslanders for instance.

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