What Goff’s bad poll numbers mean — Part two

Following on from yesterdays post about the total caucus size, it would pay to look at the ten most marginal seats held by Labour.

Rank

Seat

Labour MP

National Candidate

National EV

Labour Ev

Margin

1

Waimakariri

COSGROVE

WILKINSON

15,970

16,360

-390

2

Rimutaka

HIPKINS

WHITESIDE

12,982

13,735

-753

3

Christchurch Central

BURNS

WAGNER

13,143

14,078

-935

4

Palmerston North

LEES-GALLOWAY

PLIMMER

14,860

15,977

-1,117

5

Mana

FAAFOI

PARATA

9,574

10,980

-1,406

6

Wellington Central

ROBERTSON

FRANKS

15,142

17,046

-1,904

7

Port Hills

DYSON

HEFFERNAN

13,382

16,834

-3,452

8

New Lynn

CUNLIFFE

GROSER

13,306

17,331

-4,025

9

Hutt South

MALLARD

QUINN

12,604

16,690

-4,086

Making some assumptions about the polling numbers and some rough guess work about total electorate size we can look at which seats will be under threat.

  1. There was a gap of 11% in 2008 between National and Labour.
  2. Current Polls put that gap at between 20-25%
  3. The total vote of an electorate is about 35000.
  4. 1% equals 350 votes.
  5. To be conservative the table below shows the number of votes if the gap between National and Labour is between 11% and 25%.

Poll Gap

Number of Votes to National

11%

0

12%

350

13%

700

14%

1050

15%

1400

16%

1750

17%

2100

18%

2450

19%

2800

20%

3150

21%

3500

22%

3850

23%

4200

24%

4550

25%

4900

It is pretty safe to predict that National wont get 55% of the vote because it would be totally without precedent. Labour’s vote might fall well below 29% if Labour voters decide not to turn out, and there is a precedent, 2002 when Mr 21% killed off a good number of Nationals caucus.

If the gap between the parties goes to 14% and is extrapolated across seats National will take Waimakariri, Rimutaka and Christchurch Central. If the gap expands to 17% National will pick up Palmerston North and Mana. This may not happen if Labour has a popular incumbent, with Clayton Cosgrove being a likely hold despite Crusher handing him his head in the house as he does a good job in the blue seat of Waimakariri.

What does all this means for Labour?

At current poll ratings Labour might as well not bother wasting resources on marginal National held seats. They won’t win any of them, and if they waste resources trying all they are doing is gifting National seats like Rimutaka, Palmerston North and Mana. The battle ground for this election is going to be the Lower North Island, the last marginal area in the country to fall to National. Hekia Parata’s stunning by election result makes it highly likely she will win Mana, if given proper support by the National Party. The chances in the other seats depends on getting candidates of the calibre of Hekia.

What it also means is there could be another five Labour MPs wanting a safe list position, meaning under 35. This just increases the potential for an epic internal battle for list places. As everyone in politics knows the bloodiest scraps are those between factions in the left when they forget who the real enemy is. Goff’s poll numbers will turn a feral bunch of troughers into survivalists, and a Darwinian battle is likely to follow.

Maybe Goff can do some fundraising by making this Pay Per View as it will be a lot more interesting than MMA. Nothing beats watching rats gnaw each other to death for a blood sport.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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