TUMEKE! Election forecast [UPDATED: commentary]
With the official launches of the major parties it's time to make my predictions for the general election result. Because I'm not perfect and still want to claim I got it right I've allowed a 1% margin for the big parties and a half a percent for the minor ones.
5.0% NZ First
1.0% United Future
1.5% All others
National are very high - they won't go over 47% though despite what the opinion polls say. They are high for three reasons: 1. Labour and Phil and Helen's hangers-on are weak. 2. The media have given the Nats an easy ride. 3. Act and the other parties of the right are weak - that's boosted the Nat's bottom line.
Labour are middling - not a meltdown, but they haven't captured the electorate's imagination because of reluctance: to believe them and that they'll do what they say, and a reluctance to support a party that they think cannot win.
Greens are going to have a blinder - a very good day at the office, but not nearly as much as they think they will - or what the polls say. I can't see them getting more than 9%, but I can't imagine them getting any less than 7%. They are the main beneficiary of Labour's decline - a friendly, safe option for defecting, fair weather Labour voters. They may also gain half a percent from Nats who wouldn't have voted for them with Nandor and Sue Bradford - but with a toned-down, bloodless, middle-class caucus they become politically acceptable to these Nats.
NZ First are capable of getting 5.5% or 4.5%, or possibly right on 5%. If the Nats hadn't promoted privatisation of state assets and if Labour hadn't promoted raising the retirement age then Winston would be looking at maybe only 3 - 4%, but the two issues he does have the most credibility on is retaining state assets and doing right by pensioners and he ought to be able to gain quite a bit of traction from that as his point of difference and a viable reason for backing him this time around. The circumstances of the Owen Glenn donation and his slush funds that shaved a percent of his numbers last time and put him below the threshold are gone and his penance in the wilderness should be enough for the doubters to forgive him. But it will be very tight. Because he isn't targeting an electorate it all depends on getting to the magic 5%.
Mana is barely six months old as a party, but there is a real grassroots, flaxroots, movement taking place that goes beyond a collapsing Maori Party vote and extends into the Auckland urban underclasses and their sympathisers. They should get more votes than the Maori Party did last time and this will prove that the movement has passed the ethnic barriers and is attracting Pakeha and Pasifika voters in equal numbers to Maori. However the leadership only expects to get about 3% and that is probably what will happen although I think a higher expectation would yield a higher result. Hone attracts as much as he repels, but that polarisation and the novelty of Mana is enough to put it ahead of other minor parties who have been around a lot longer. The policies they are running are as staunch as their top tier candidates so Mana becomes a clear left wing choice in a field largely deserted by the Greens and Labour.
Act are in all sorts of trouble with an unrecognisable team - a complete replacement to the current caucus. The gamble is not paying off and nor should it with the internal contradictions and the friction between Brash and Banks already evident. It may be too generous to give them 2.5%, but that's because they can't get over 3% with their shenanigans, but Brash and Banks grafted onto a rump 1.5% of hard-core Act voters will have a conservative appeal that should put them above 2%.
Maori Party have sold out their kaupapa and Pita Sharples was on TV the other night saying they could back the privatisation of state assets if National get back in. They are National's lap dogs and the decisions to stand someone who only got 10% against Hone Harawira and then to dump on their Southern Te Tai Tonga MP display continuing poor judgment. The party aparatus and members have defected to Mana in droves, but they may be capable of still pulling one percentage point. Expect the electorate vote to be higher than the party vote.
United Future drifts along on the coat-tails, or bouffanted locks, of Peter Dunne. He's good for one percent, and little else.