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The Act Party is almost certain to return to Parliament with leader Rodney Hide holding a huge lead in the Epsom electorate race, internal polling obtained by the National Business Review suggests.
The poll of 600 voters, taken on Sunday and Monday, suggests Mr Hide is leading with 56% of voters compared to 27% National list MP Richard Worth, whom he beat for the seat in 2005 to gain a surprise win.
The Epsom results should not be taken for granted, because internal polling is not audited. However, Mr Hide’s pollsters have an impressive track record – last election they proved more accurate than flawed independent polls of the electorate and successfully predicted his victory.
Mr Hide needs to keep the Epsom seat to ensure that Act makes it into Parliament. If he wins Epsom, Act will get its full share of the party vote represented in Parliament without having to reach the 5% threshold under MMP.
Act has consistently polled under 5% since the last election, but has tracked up slightly in recent polls to between 1.5% and 2.5%. That would bring two more Act MPs into Parliament – useful for National in forming a government, as the election race looked to tighten up even before a difficult week and a half for that party.
Mr Worth is certain to be returned to Parliament through his party’s list.
Two significant remaining landmarks in the campaign Next Thursday is a televised candidates debate on the freeview channel TVNZ 7 between Mr Hide, Mr Worth, Greens candidate MP Keith Locke, and Labour candidate Kate Sutton.