What if Shearer doesn't fire? Latest Roy Morgan Poll Labour down - National up
Shearer saw off coup talk from Cunliffe a couple of months ago after his best performance ever on the last Auckland Backbenches show on TVNZ7 and after a significant bump in the polls for Labour.
What cemented his hold on the leadership were changes to the way Labour selected their leader, the irony that Cunliffe would have won under these changes was destined to be an odd footnote in political history.
End of story.
Or was it? The punditry were right by pointing out Shearer was safe, but that safety was based on Labour rising in the polls, the latest Roy Morgan Poll however is pretty damning to that line of thinking.
Shearer's position can only be secure if Labour keep chipping away at National's lead, but what happens if Shearer starts looking more like the NZ economy in stagflation rather than a leader bursting through?
Roy Morgan's Poll last night has Labour dropping to 30% and National increasing to 47.5%, most worryingly however, Morgan has the Conservative Party at 3%.
The MMP review will most likely lower the threshold to 4% and keep the 1 seat sub 5% threshold representation through winning an electorate. That gives National the ACT Party and it gives them the possibility of the Conservative Party as potential political allies. Key could jettison the Maori Party in favor of a third term right wing blitzkrieg, he'll go from privatizing social services for Maori companies to privatizing them for Christian companies.
Goodbye Whanau Ora, hello God Squad.
The sudden rise of a new potential coalition partner alongside the MMP reforms starts crafting a new narrative of options for Key and the reality of a 3rd term becomes far more possible. Couple this with Shearer's flat lining and it can only be a matter of time before the Political Party's within the left block either start attacking each other or the Labour Caucus starts holding informal BBQ's.
Shearer's position can only be considered safe if he continues to create poll momentum, if that dissipates, his position will be determined by Labour Party members voicing fury at the perceived lack of a winning leader and that fury being directed at the Caucus.
This will be a difficult tight rope to walk. Labour are stepping to the right to infringe on National's voting block (rather than inspire the million enrolled voters who didn't bother to vote) and Labour's membership will see that idealogical reframing as a betrayal, if Shearer stays quite on the changes, then he achieves no media traction, if he plays the move to the right up, he infuriates the base.
The caveat to Roy Morgan is that they are one of the most biased polls out. In the week of the election last year, they bewilderingly had National at 53%, I grilled the American representative from Roy Morgan on the iPredict show that called the election closer than any other news media last November about her flawed telephone methodology.
If Morgan's bias is showing, Shearer can ignore this, if Morgan is picking up a flat lining of support however, the pundits are going to need to rethink their predictions.