No friend of the Nats, Gordon Campbell joins Camp Cunliffe…
Few New Zealanders would be feeling over the moon right now about the situation being reflected in the political opinion polls.
The latest Roy Morgan poll, for example, indicates that support for the government has risen slightly and that support for Labour has plunged to below 30 per cent – yet even so, a coalition of the Greens, Labour and New Zealand First would still finish ahead of National and its current allies if an election was held today.
Overall, there’s probably something in that poll to dismay just about everyone.
What the polls indicate is that most New Zealanders appear to want John Key as Prime Minister. However, they would narrowly prefer his current opponents to be running the country, while leaving the ultimate decision on that score to New Zealand First leader Winston Peters. Strange, but true.
As things stand, Peters would be able to either install Labour leader David Shearer as the next Prime Minister – or alternatively, he could choose to keep the current government in power. He could virtually name his own price either way.
There would be very few New Zealanders (beyond the former member for Tauranga and his fan club) overjoyed at that prospect, but it is what the polls are currently projecting.
More than anything, the latest Morgan poll is bad news for Labour, and its leader.
All year, David Shearer’s strategists have been claiming that as New Zealanders gradually get to know him, they will come to like what they see.
Instead, what seems to be happening is that voters are going through periodic fits of disenchantment with the government and then looking more closely at the alternative, only to rebound in alarm.
So far, Shearer has simply failed to make the case that he could lead a credible alternative government.