Poll results offer glimmer of hope?

Note: this post originally appeared on ‘Douglas to Dancing’, a blog I maintained from 2007-9 on the ACT New Zealand political party. The blog was an extension of the thesis I wrote about the Act Party in 2007, From Douglas to Dancing: explaining the lack of success of ACT New Zealand and evaluating its future prospects (PDF).

ACT has managed to double its poll results, according to the latest surveys by TVNZ and TV3 out on Sunday.

ACT had been down at around 0.3-0.4% in the One News-Colmar Brunton Poll, but had increased that to 1.2% according to Sunday’s figures. On TV3, the party was at 1%, up from 0.5% in the last poll. I think TV3 may round its figures to the nearest whole or half percentage point, so the actual result may have been slightly higher (or lower) than 1%.

These results may be no more than a statistical blip, but could it be the start of a surge in support for small parties as voters decide they would rather keep the big parties “honest”? In 2002, we famously saw support for Labour disintegrate, with voters seeking the “middle ground” in the form of United Future. Television’s angle on Sunday night was that New Zealand First was catching up – to 4.4% in one of the polls. Considering that NZF was where ACT still is not so long ago, the idea of ACT itself catching up isn’t out of the question.

In 2008, ACT will be hoping for a similar effect to what happened in 2002, only this time with respect to National and with itself as the chief beneficiary.

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