Rob Hosking on the Roy Morgan Comedy Show

National’s support jumped 10% in the Roy Morgan poll, which closed in the final week of the school holidays, and there was a small explosion among political junkies over the weekend as a result.It is wise to be dubious about any political poll which jumps 10% in any direction in the space of one month.

And, of course, the Roy Morgan poll, when it comes to volatility, makes the New Zealand exchange rate look about as stable as a steam roller.

The jump puts National at 53% support – and that is what has caused a lot of fizzing from activists.

The presumption had been that if there would be any movement, it would be against the government, mostly due to rising concerns, and certainly a lot of publicity,  about house prices and home affordability.

The Roy Morgan organisation itself attributed the jump to the government’s announcement of a $1 billion infrastructure package aimed at supporting house construction in Auckland.

While this is possible, it seems unlikely – and the pollster has not produced any evidence from its own polls linking the jump with that announcement.

Nah.  In fact, the only thing we have to respect Roy Morgan for is not taking a leaf out of NIWA’s books and cooking the results to get the outcome they want. 

Anecdotally, there is a lot of disquiet with the government even – or over some issues, especially – among the National Party’s support base.But that disquiet is not translating into a shift in votes. Most people are capable of holding more than one idea in their heads at the same time, even if all too many political activists do not give people credit for being able to do this.

And it is quite possible to still signal you will vote for a party even if you’re not particularly happy with it at the moment.

As noted in this column in the past, National under John Key has been an extraordinarily popular government by historical standards. It has, over the past year or so, shifted to becoming a less popular government.

New Zealanders have re-elected unpopular governments in the past – in fact, if you have a look at history, this is more the norm than the exception.

The dissatisfaction with National has been clearly outlined on Whaleoil for some time, with the resulting squeamishness of some our readers preferring to let sleeping dogs lie.

But the alternative isn’t a Labour/Green government.

2017 will be the year when ACT and NZ First will experience a huge resurgence.   The aim:  to keep National in power, but pulled to the right so that true National voters can get more than “not a Labour government” as a result of their vote.

Any thinking voter on the centre right will appreciate National’s solid work on all the fundamentals.  Economy, jobs, health and education all have been in great hands with pleasing results.  But there is a yearning for some other problems to be solved.

Yes, National will be returned again.  The alternative is simply too unpalatable.  But National needs to cater for the restlessness that has been building for some time to ensure Winston won’t be running the show instead.



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