Auckland mayoral race: Exit poll has John Palino within 4% of Len Brown
A mid-election poll shows only a 4% gap between Auckland mayoral candidates Len Brown and John Palino.
Mr Brown has secured 37.4% of votes cast up until October 2, and Mr Palino 33%, according to a survey by online polling specialist Horizon Research.
In contrast sharply with a UMR telephone survey released August 20 - before voting opened in what has been a low-key race - had incumbent Mr Brown on 47% and Mr Palino on 14%.
The outcome will depend on how many of the super city’s voters will post back or return ballots before voting closes at noon on Saturday October 12, Horizon says.
If all those who are both registered and say they are 100% likely to vote actually do vote Mr Brown would win over Mr Palino by 8.3%. (Brown 38.2%, Palino 29.9%).
The exit and likely vote results are from a Horizon survey of 1,072 Aucklanders aged 18+, conducted between 3pm October 1 and midnight October 2, 2013. Results are weighted by age, gender, ethnicity, educational status, personal income and party vote 2011 to provide a representative sample of the Auckland adult population. At a 95% confidence level, the maximum margin of error is +/- 3%, Horizon says.
Horizon Research says a lower turn out so far is favouring the centre-right Mr Palino, a US ex-pat best known as the host of TV3's The Kitchen Job. The American has been seen as a long-shot through most of the campaign, but regardless is the sole standard bearer for the right since National's Maurice Williamson decided not to stand.
Getting voters out will be key to the success of either main contenders’ campaigns.
Those yet to vote favour Mr Brown more than Mr Palino. Of those yet to vote 20.5% are still undecided.
Those yet to vote and who are still undecided are leaning 19.5% to Mr Palino, 12.4% to Mr Brown. However, when the undecided are filtered by those who say they are 100% likely to vote, they lean 8.4% to Mr Brown and 5.8% to Mr Palino.
A Horizon June 13-21 poll of 1,106 adult Aucklanders, found a 12% gap between Messrs Brown and Palino when respondents were given a choice of them, Mana Party candidate Mr John Minto and others.
The Mayoralty election is a two horse race to date.
Mr Minto has won 3.6% of votes cast up until midnight October 2, Uesifili Unasa 2.4%, Rueben Shadbolt 2.3% and Penny Bright 2%.
Among those who had voted by October 3, Mr Brown was winning in five of the seven former cities which make up the new super city.
Mr Palino was winning Franklin – and enjoying overwhelming support on the North Shore.
The result was close in Rodney and East Auckland (Pakuranga, Howick, Botany and Whitford).
The closer mid-election result in South Auckland (32.8% Brown, 27.4% Palino) could indicate Mr Brown has yet to get voters out there, Horizon says.
Horizon’s manager Grant McInman says its polls are taken from a recruited panel and the results are weighted towards the 2006 census results.
“We then post-sample weight to match the population proportions in whatever area we’re doing.”