Auckland, March 16, 2017
A new political poll carried out by the Conservative Party finds Labour’s new Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern could potentially carry her Party to victory if she took over from Andrew Little as Leader.
The poll, conducted between March 8 and March 15, 2017, asked a sample of nearly 1200 people how they would vote if an election were held today, and then asked them a surprise follow-up question: “If Jacinda Ardern was Labour leader instead of Andrew Little, which party would you vote for if an election were held today?”
Astoundingly, in that scenario, Labour moved into top spot in the poll, more than three percentage points clear of National – a clear signal that this year’s election could become a close-fought race.
Although the Poll was carried out online among a pool of social media users, the results are statistically valid as they measure a voting shift within the survey sample itself if the opportunity came to vote for an Ardern-led Labour Party.
Online polls are normally treated more sceptically because their samples are less random than standard phone polls, but findings of attitudinal shifts within such polls are valid because they measure changes within the same survey sample.
In this case, we were stunned to find that a promotion of Jacinda Ardern to the leadership of Labour saw the party move from four percentage points behind National to three percentage points in front.
An Ardern-led Labour took votes away from National and NZ First, although the Greens were hardest hit by the prospect of Jacinda Ardern.
The big swing
The trend of a swing to Jacinda emerged on day one after the first 200 votes were in, and remained at almost the same ratio right through the next six days of the poll.
It is the first poll to actually pose the question about Ardern’s impact as a potential leader, but it was surprising to see how active NZ First supporters are on social media.
Being an online poll, we took certain precautions to prevent repeat voting, such as allowing only one vote per IP address for the duration of the poll, and using a separate URL – www.thegreatkiwipoll.com – to keep the poll unbranded, but right from the start there was a clear lead for National and also a surprisingly strong challenge by NZ First to the Andrew Little-led Labour team.
Question one actually found NZ First in second place, ahead of Labour in third, if an election were held today.
I do not believe for a minute that Andrew Little’s support is as low as 20% or that Winston’s support is running as high in the general population as the 21% share his party records in this poll. But it may well be higher than the 11% support ordinary phone polls are recording, and that may illustrate a weakness of phone polls which have traditionally surveyed landline users.
Gen X and Millennials are more likely to be on smartphones and social media.
It may also indicate that Winston’s followers are more motivated than Labour and National supporters, which should be a warning to the major parties.
Our poll found a level of support for the Conservative Party at more than 4%, and that is an accurate reflection of the core conservative support over the past couple of decades in various forms. They are not finding it in the landline polls, but we know our support is higher than the landline polls indicate.
There are other questions in the Conservative Party Poll that transcend tribal political allegiances and whose sheer margins make them statistically valid as well.
We wanted to take the pulse of kiwis on some pretty big issues.
We found 70% support for Binding Citizens’ Initiated Referenda, which shows there is massive cross-party support from New Zealand voters for making politicians accountable.
BCIR is a core policy of the Conservative Party.
If we form part of the next coalition, we will make sure governments respect the wishes of the people from now on. You have my word on it.
Another big finding is that 79% of those sampled reject the philosophy of globalism and supreme international law. This shows New Zealanders have the same concerns that gave rise to Brexit in the UK and Trump in the USA. Political parties and the media ignore this at their peril.
This poll result shows a massive majority of kiwis from across the political spectrum share the same concerns as Conservatives do, and those concerns can no longer be swept aside and dismissed. New Zealanders want control of their country to ultimately remain in voters’ hands, not be delegated away to the UN and international treaties.
The Conservative Party will carry out more polling on other major issues in the next few weeks.
With a sample size of almost 1200, the margin of error is 3%.
Leighton Baker is Leader of the Conservative Party of New Zealand.
Jacinda Ardern speaking at the launch of Electionlink pages of Indian Newslink at Raviz Restaurant in Auckland on February 18, 2017. Picture by Creative Eye Photography