The NZ Herald with interesting polling news about the surge in NZ First support:
And today's Herald-DigiPoll survey shows Winston Peters' New Zealand First party is above the 5 per cent of voter support needed to put it back in Parliament.
The campaign ends tonight with Mr Key and Labour leader Phil Goff travelling up the North Island in rival buses.
On today's poll, the Greens on 11.8 per cent would bring in 15 MPs, six more than they have now.
Labour on 28 per cent would end up with 34 MPs, nine fewer than at present.
National polled 50.9 per cent (up 1 point in a week), Labour 28 (down 1.1), Greens 11.8 (down 0.8), NZ First 5.2 (up 0.3), Act 1.8 (up 0.1), Conservatives 1.3 (up 0.7), Maori Party 0.4 (down 0.3), Mana 0.3 (down 0.1), United Future 0 (down 0.1).
Act is still polling quite high despite their many, many problems, but it all hangs on Epsom. My guess - although I haven't been on the ground there - is that the Epsom voters will bite their tongue and return John Banks because they know if they do that's one or two extra on his coat-tails from the list and that may well mean the difference between National in government or in opposition. Banks is a conservative in a conservative electorate, he is an experienced and dedicated campaigner and the Act Epsom electorate machine is well oiled, so I expect Banks will scoot through, but the majority will be far from the fairly healthy margin that Hide managed last time.
I suspect Labour will go above 30% off the back of Goff's strong showing in the debates and the position taken against asset sales. There's no way the Nats will pull over 50% no matter how great the media think they are (certainly the NZ Herald whose political correspondents - all of them - inexplicably gave the last debate to Key). They can't get over 47%, but I think they will be around 46% - quite high, and very high after a spell in government.
The Greens showing at over 10% is not surprising to me, but if they actually get that much I would be amazed. Their numbers have always been soft and I can't see that changing - so 10 or 11 is more like 8 or 9 - I'm sticking with the forecast I made last month, probably closer to 8% - which would still be an excellent result.
Mana is not registering that much in the opinion polling, but lately the Maori Party support has fallen off and Mana has been above 1% in the polls, reflecting something much bigger happening outside the narrow range captured by the landline polling techniques. Mana will cut the Maori Party's vote substantially - probably taking them below 1% and causing an overhang. Mana has also made some inroads across ethnicity and regions and may get 4 MPs - probably more than Act will get anyway. A lot of what Hone has been saying is resonating beyond disgruntled ex-Maori Party voters and a top 4 with Sue Bradford and John Minto is attracting working class and Left support. Annette Sykes has worked incredibly hard in Waiariki and deserves to take the seat off Te Ururoa - she seems to have the organisation and momentum to achieve this.
And as for the personal popularity contest, Key is still coasting along in his bubble, but Goff has finally managed to get up to a respectable level - better late than never:
The popularity of Mr Key as preferred Prime Minister remains high at 66.3 per cent, down slightly from 68.5.
Mr Goff's popularity has continued to rise throughout the campaign. He began it on 11.7 per cent and is now preferred Prime Minister by 19.5 per cent.