Jacinda jolt: Labour in front for first time in 11 years
Well, this time it's National supporters’ turn to go "rogue poll.”
The latest TVNZ/Colmar Brunton poll – typically not as volatile as other polls – puts Labour in front of National for the first time in 11 years.
Labour is on 43% – up six points on the last poll two weeks ago, National on 41%, down three points.
New Zealand First has fallen two points to 8%, while The Opportunities Party and the Māori party have both fallen one point each to 1%.
The only other party to rise is the Green party, up one point to 5%.
In the preferred prime minister stakes, Jacinda Ardern was up 4% to 34%, a point ahead of Bill English.
The usual caveats apply here: First, this is only one poll, and second, an electorate which in the space of a just under a month can shift the Labour party from 24% to 43%, is in an extremely volatile mood.
But the fact Labour is in front of National is a huge boost to the main opposition party, particularly after such a long time in the doldrums.
It's not just that this will lift the mood of Labourites but also the country's wider left-wing movement: The fact it is not at the expense of the Green party is, in its way, an even bigger boost.
The last Colmar Brunton poll had the Greens below that 5% threshold and would have put them out of Parliament after the election: anecdotally, parties’ internal polling has similarly put the Greens either at or below the threshold.
A continued slide in the public poll would have seen the Greens’ future – at least, the party’s immediate parliamentary future – in doubt.
This poll comes after both the main parties launched their respective campaigns, with set piece speeches by their leaders.
Those were significantly different speeches: Labour leader Jacinda Ardern focused on rhetoric and mood whereas National’s Bill English was more solid and more policy focused.
Both went for uplift but the mix of soaring aspirational stuff versus meaty policy was very different.
This election, Ms Ardern is running as a more touchy feely, Grey Lynn-ified John Key; Mr English as a pin-striped Helen Clark.
And Ms Ardern has taken the lead in the preferred prime minister match up: She is on 34%, up four points while Mr English is also up but by three points, to 33%.
Essentially, this is a tie.
The election has already had, four weeks out, an intensity not normally seen until much later in the campaign.
The battle is only going to get fiercer.
Mr English is fighting for a place in history – a place which is very much wrapped up in delivering the radical shift to a social policy more in line with conservative values by way of the social investment strategy.
Ms Ardern may yet pull off one of the New Zealand’s most historic political victories.
It has been a remarkable campaign so far: it is only going to get more so between now and September 23.
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