Chris Trotter explains why David Cunliffe has pushed the toxic Greens out into the cold.
The answer, I believe, is to be found in the voters Labourâs campaign strategists (most particularly the political scientist and polling specialist, Rob Salmond) have identified as the primary target of Labourâs election campaign. These are not the legendary âmissing millionâ who declined to cast a ballot three years ago, but a much more manageable group of around 300,000 men and women who have voted for Labour in the past (2005, 2008) but who, for a whole host of reasons, sat out the General Election of 2011.
Salmondâs argument is that these voters can be readily âre-activatedâ if Labour presents them with a plausible pitch for their support. The key-word there is âplausibleâ, and outside Labour-held electorates in the main centres there is every reason to believe that the phrase âLabour/Greens governmentâ does not pass the plausibility test.
The evidence for this comes, paradoxically, from the National Party. Simon Bridgesâ ridiculous comments about the 50-odd mining permits issued on Russel Normanâs watch is only the most extreme example of what is obviously an agreed Government strategy to conflate Labour and the Greens into a single, politically extreme, electoral bogeyman. David Farrarâs polls and Crosby-Textorâs focus-groups have clearly thrown up a powerful negative reaction to the idea of Labour joining forces with the Greens. So much so that National is doing everything within its power to imbed the idea deep in the electorateâs psyche.
And, if Nationalâs voter research is picking up this negative anti-Green vibe, how long can it be before Labourâs own pollster, UMR, and its focus-group convenors start detecting similar sentiments in their own samplings? And if they do, is it really credible to suggest that Labour should simply ignore them? If the partyâs whole electoral strategy is based on persuading those 300,000 former Labour voters to return to the fold, and the Labour/Greens proposition is going to make that less likely, then what possible motive would Labour have for accepting the Greensâ invitation?Â Read more »