10 reasons why National remains high in the polls

John Armstrong has listed his 10 reasons why National continues to remain high in the polls.

1. John Key’s sky-high rating as most preferred Prime Minister

The first factor is Key’s sky-high rating as most preferred Prime Minister. This is crucial in drawing many tens of thousands of uncommitted voters plus those with weak attachments to other parties to tick National. The “brain fades” and other lapses of last year, a horror year for him and National, seem to have had little, if any, effect on Key’s personal rating.

Which shows why Labour are deluded in thinking continued attacks on John Key will get them across the line. It has failed for 6 years straight, you’d think they had learned by now.

2. Key’s moderate conservatism – not sure I’d call John a conservative.
3. Key is unashamedly pragmatic 

a word that used to be anathema to purists who stood four-square behind Sir Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson in the 1980s and early 1990s. No longer. Ideology takes a back seat with Key. There is no lecturing of the public as to the kind of policy prescription that ought to be swallowed. There is instead a “no surprises” approach, by and large. And the Government does what it says it will do.

Labour were astonished when Key firstly set the election date months in advance, and then further astonished when he said he’s campaign on asset sales. Labour are more comfortable with duplicity preferring instead to hoodwink voters whereas John Key just tells them straight.

4. Neutralising of troublesome issues rather than allowing them to linger and fester.

John Key uses three ministers to sort out problems. Judith Collins, Stephen Joyce and Tony Ryall.

5. A majority of voters view National as the better manager of the economy.

Labour’s recent private polling has confirmed a majority of voters view National as the better manager of the economy. They are likely to continue to do so in uncertain economic times. Why? Because Key and Bill English have a proven track record in handling crises, like the Christchurch earthquakes, in a calm and unflustered fashion.

This is assisted by the fact that Labour’s necessary partner wants to get the printing presses fired up and David Cunliffe thinks companies should be taxed on turnover rather than profit.

6. Good at maintaining momentum
7. National is still largely defining what the arguments are about in most policy areas

Labour are still trying to fight on the basis that they believe John Key is slippery. Their main attack though has been destroyed by the mubling and forgetful David Shearer.

8. Opposition parties are instead still devoting considerable time and effort to fighting battles they have lost

such as partial privatisations. Or trying to land hits on National by raking over the coals of history – Solid Energy being the prime example.

Asset sales was campaigned on in the election, National won. Solid Energy may well become an own goal after the release of numerous documents on Friday that people are still wading through. If my name was Trevor Mallard I wouldn’t be too happy with cabinet papers from 2007.

9. Public getting acclimatised to the rather chaotic nature of minority government

This is helped by the fact that National is such a large bloc in the government and the other parties are very minor. The same cannot be said for the other crowd. For them to win there will be larger bloc of the Green taliban and Labour, plus Winston, plus a few hangers on…possibly Maori to get over the line. If voters think the curent government is chaotic wait till they get the other side in charge.

10. Few, if any, issues that are seriously divisive and on which National finds itself stranded on the wrong side of the argument for ideological reasons

Voters may be more tolerant, if not forgiving, of politicians’ occasional lapses. Hekia Parata had to get an awful lot wrong before she lost the public’s confidence.

Crucially, there’s no mood for change, the real government-killer, or even much hint of such a mood developing. National may still lose next year’s election, but only because of an absence of coalition partners. Its real enemy is MMP mathematics. It can’t do much about that.

Well they could actually try for 50%.


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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.

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 who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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