Labour's at risk seats

Back in January I blogged this, given Labour’s parlous poll ratings and 6 more months of appalling results it is pertinent to blog it again with some modifications. So following on from yesterdays post about the Labour list MPs, 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 won’t 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 National’s 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. However all bets are off if ACT does a deal with the Nats where they choose not to stand candidates in seats like Waimakiriri as a quid pro quo for the Nats standing aside in Epsom. If this happens then Clayton Cosgrove is a goner.

We must also consider the impact of the earthquakes on Christchurch electorates. Christchurch East could be intersting with estimates of up to 4000 red zone Labour voters disappearing.

What 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.

My next post will be a compare and contrast of List MPs vs Losing Constituent MPs.


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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.  And 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.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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