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Research Results

National best party, Ardern best leader

21 Sep 17

National best party, Ardern best leader
Nationally seen as better for the future

The National Party is seen as the best party for their future by 36% of adult New Zealanders, marginally ahead of Labour, on 35%, according to a Horizon Research poll.

When asked “which party leader do you think will be best for you?” Labour leader Jacinda Ardern scores 48%, National Leader Bill English 35% and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters 9%.

There are sharp differences in support by gender, with Ardern gathering more support from women, and English more support from men.

The findings are from a poll of 846 respondents, taken between September 9 and 14, closing a day before Ardern announced that any changes Labour might make to tax law would not take effect until after the 2020 election.

When respondents are asked “which do you feel is the best party for your future?” National lags behind Labour among those in the 35-44 year age group, where the two parties are effectively equivalent.  From age 45 years up, National is regarded by respondents as the best party for their future.  

Tactical voting?

It appears that tactical voting is relatively strong among those who think ACT New Zealand, the Conservative Party, MANA Movement and, to some extent the Green Party and The Opportunities Party, are the parties that are best for their future.

All of these parties appear to have more underlying support than party vote support;  the percentage of those who think they are the party that is best for their future and intend to cast their party vote for that party is less than 80% and, in the case of the Conservative Party and MANA Movement, less than 35%.

This suggests that party vote measures tend to understate the underlying support for smaller parties and may overstate the underlying support for larger parties that have more chance of being in Parliament.

For example, 22% of those who think that The Opportunities Party is the best party for their future intend to cast their party vote for the Labour Party or Green Parties.  In this instance, the underlying support is around 28% greater than the party vote figures for The Opportunities Party would suggest.

Similarly, the survey suggests that underlying support for ACT New Zealand is around 92% greater than the party vote figures and the underlying support for the Green Party is 31% greater than the party vote figures. 

The two main parties are not completely immune from this: with those who think National is the best party for their future, 2% intend to vote for the Labour Party, 2% for New Zealand First, 1% for ACT New Zealand and 1% for the Green Party.  For those who think Labour is the best party for their future, 1% intend to vote for National, 1% for New Zealand First and 2% for the Green Party.

Best party for your future:

Measuring the party that is “Best for your future” gives an indication of overall alignment – that tactical voting may not see fulfilled in a party vote election.

As with other measures, female and male respondents have different opinions:  39% of females think Labour is the best party for their future while 31% think National is.

42% of males, however, think National is the best party for their future and 32% think Labour is.

The analysis also indicates that the Green Party had stronger female than male support, while New Zealand First’s support had an even male/female split.

Best leader

Jacinda Ardern, Bill English and Winston Peters had the highest percentage of respondents saying they were the best leader for them. Overall, 45% thought Ardern best, 38% English and 9% Peters.

James Shaw and Gareth Morgan both had 2% of respondents feeling they were the best leader for them, while 1% thought David Seymour, Marama Fox or Hone Harawira was the best leader for them.

The poll is weighted by age, gender and region to ensure it represents the New Zealand adult population at the last census. At a 95% confidence level, the maximum margin of error for the decided voter sample is +/- 3.4%. The poll complies with Research Association New Zealand’s code for political polls.

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For further information, please contact Grant McInman, Manager, Horizon Research, e-mail, telephone +64 21 076 2040.