Ignoring the party faithful, the true battlefield for votes lies with the voters that change their minds.
They are fickle. They are single issue voters. They are emotional. They are… idiots.
Analysis of why this is so hasn’t been clearer than the case study we have before us over the last few months.
I’ve often said that money can’t buy you results. And that is true to an extent in the sense that many aspiring politicians, like Colin Craig, think that the money can buy him votes. Money is certainly a necessity – but what you really need is relentless exposure.
This is mostly why, in the run-up to the election, the likes of Peters and Dunne seem to make disproportionate gains. The rules around election coverage and “fairness” means they get a disproportionate amount of media exposure.
It all comes down to recognition. Name recognition. This is an Absolute Truth at local body elections, and it also works at national level.
We’ve seen a very good example of it when Labour had their 3 week free nightly media coverage during the Labour Leader election “primary”. The polls taken after Cunliffe was made Lord of the Flies didn’t reflect a new hope – a tectonic shift – a saviour appearing to fill a void.
Instead it reflected 3 weeks of relentless publicity.
And as that focus on Cunliffe has disappeared, so have the “votes”.
To drive the point home, Russel Norman was squeezed out of the limelight, Winston has been more active with his usual scare tactics, and as a result the Greens’ media exposure has plummeted.
Result? Poll is down.
It is also interesting to note that this apparent support “for Labour” was as long lived as it took for people to get distracted again.
The election will still be close. For National to take out a 3rd term with a clear majority would be amazing. But it shows why the battle for the 2 or 3% of of voting nut cases is so intense.
It is the people that go “oh, he’s a supportive Dad” or is seen with the All Blacks or other solid reasons why to pick your next government are going to decide our futures.
Sadly, for Labour and David Cunliffe, the change of the Captain of the Titanic doesn’t make the ice berg any smaller.