In my last post, I said I would look at visualising the coalition options ahead of the election. And since then, the whole Dirty Politics furore has hit the headlines. Yet what the polls are indicating is that while the revelations and recriminations may have temporarily dented National's support, the government quickly recovered.
In the visualisation below, we can see that less than two weeks from the election, the poll of polls indicates that the options for government sit firmly with the National party. It can look to either its current coalition arrangements, an alliance with the right-wing Conservatives, or with the centrist New Zealand First, all of which will take it over the 50% threshold to govern. Labour on the other hand, only sits just above 42% with the Greens and New Zealand First (and Internet-Mana only adds another 2% to the equation).
It is striking to see how much Labour's coalition chances have fallen away in less than 12 months, from looking like real contenders, to having a mountain to climb. The sharpest decline has been since the May budget, and momentary climbs in recent weeks have been marked by immediate falls.
A few things to bear in mind however. At the last election, all the polls over-rated National's strength, by around 4% on average. If repeated, that 4% could make an important difference, (with National's current ratings averaging at 50%), particularly if the Conservatives fail to cross the 5% party vote threshold. But on the figures available, the question for National is simply one of 'who wants in?'.
A couple of technical points on the data-viz. Firstly, the use of a vertical axis scale from 40 to 60 (rather than 0 to 100) does visually overstate the scale of difference between the parties. I chose this because the difference between government and opposition often comes down to the shifting allegiances of a small proportion of the electorate, and that 10% zone either side of 50 is often what decides elections. Secondly, in case you missed the last post, the polling data are based on a rolling average of the past four political polls (drawn from Roy Morgan, One News Colmar Brunton, 3 News Reid Research, Herald Digipoll and Fairfax-Ipsos).