Chris Trotter has called the election all but over.
UNLESS SOMETHING HUGELY DRAMATIC HAPPENSÂ between now and polling day, 20 September, the General Election of 2014 is all but over. The National-led government of Prime Minister, John Key, looks set to be returned for a third term by a margin that may surprise many of those currently insisting that the result will be very close. What may also surprise is the sheer scale and comprehensiveness of the Leftâ€™s (especially Labourâ€™s) electoral humiliation.
By which dark paths must one travel to reach these gloomy (for the Left!) conclusions? Simply stated, one has only to follow the basic precepts of psephology (the study of elections and electors).
No matter whether you approach the forthcoming election from the perspective of the socio-economic context of the contest; contrasting styles of political leadership; the policies of the major players; the partiesâ€™ organisational heft and their respective financial resources; or the many factors influencing turnout; the advantage lies decisively with the National Party.
Ominous and dark are those words from Trotter. But as is usual he backs them up with salient facts and observations.
With most opinion pollsters recording three-fifths to two-thirds of voters saying the country is â€śheading in the right directionâ€ť it is clear that the run of generally positive news stories about the New Zealand economy are rebounding to Nationalâ€™s advantage. To those with secure paid employment and/or comfortable incomes, these reports offer no compelling reason for a change of government.
Yes, of course, there are 285,000 children living in poverty and 150,000 people out of work, but by and large these are the most socially marginalised and politically inert members of New Zealand society. They are consequently also the most likely to stay at home on election day. In the absence of the â€śhugely dramaticâ€ť intervention alluded to above â€“ something big enough to propel them back into the electoral process â€“ poor Kiwis simply wonâ€™t be counted.Â Read more »