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Jessica Mutch: The polls could get worse for Labour


By Jessica Mutch

Published: 4:10PM Wednesday July 27, 2011 Source: ONE News

Just a few months out from the election - and attention turns to the polls more and more. Labour has slumped in the polls - the party dropped seven points to 27% in the latest One News/Colmar Brunton poll and today's Fairfax Media Research International poll has Labour sitting at 29%.

Our poll has National sitting at 53%.

So what does this mean for Phil Goff?

He looks set to stay put until after the election regardless of the polls. I don't think many people are questioning whether he'll be rolled before November 26 - we got that out of our system in March when rumours and speculation were swirling over Phil Goff's handling of the Darren Hughes issue.

So what does this mean for Labour?

Let's take a look back at 2002. The National leader at that time, Bill English, scored 21% in a similar poll just prior to the 2002 election. Helen Clark picked up 41%. But what's more interesting are the polls leading up to that election in 2002.

We're now about four months out from the 2011 election and if you compare that with four months out in 2002, Labour was then sitting at 49% and National was sitting at 35% - so in 2002, the two main parties were closer together than now four months out, and then English slumped to a disastrous 21% closer to the election. So could it get even worse for Labour?

The Colmar Brunton Poll results from 2002

I went through our TVNZ archive system and found the 2002 poll results. Remember that the election date was July 27 2002.

February 17 2002 - Labour 51%, National 35%.

March 17 2002 - Labour 49%, National 35%. Take a look at the story from March 2002.

April 21 2002 - Labour 50%, National 34%.

May 19 2002 - Labour 51%, National 32%.

June 16 2002 - Labour 53%, National 27%. Take a look at the story from June 2002.

June 29 2002 - Labour 51%, National 30%.

July 14 2002 - Labour 46%, National 27%.

July 25 2002 - Labour 44%, National 21%.

Actual election result - Labour 41%, National 21%

It is not outside the realms of possibility that we could see history repeated. If you look at the 2002 poll trends Labour could plummet even further. But four months is a long time in politics and we may see a different picture painted in 2011.