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Nine months out from the general election, National has a chance of getting enough votes to govern alone, recent opinion polls suggest.
Prime Minister John Key today announced the date as November 26, ending months of speculation about whether he would hold an early election ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
Although election years usually throw out a few banana skins, National looks to be in a strong position, with three major opinion polls showing its support at 50% or higher.
A Roy Morgan poll conducted in January found support for National at 55%, compared to only 29% for Labour, a 26 percentage point gap.
Colmar Brunton’s December poll also showed 55% support for National, with Labour getting only 33%.
A Herald DigiPoll was slightly better reading for Labour, which at 37.2% of decided voters was still 15.2% behind National on 52.4%.
Of the minor parties only the Greens look likely to reach the 5% threshold, while New Zealand First, which Mr Key has ruled out working with, is rating between 2.5% and 4.5%.
The Act Party continues to languish, with support of between 0.9% and 1.5% in the three polls.
Roy Morgan Poll January 2011
NZ First: 4.5%
Maori Party: 2.5%
Herald DigiPoll December 2010
NZ First: 2.5%
Maori Party: 1.2%
Colmar Brunton December 2010
NZ First: 3%
Maori Party: 2%