Is it high noon for Hone?

22:39, Jun 13 2011

Last night Maori TV released a Native Affairs/Baseline poll of 508 eligible voters in Te Tai Tokerau. The poll was taken between the 2nd and 9th of June and found Hone Harawira just 1% ahead of Labour's Kelvin Davis.

While a 1% lead is better than being 1% behind, overall the poll is grim news for Harawira. He has 41% support, Davis has 40% and the Maori Party candidate Solomon Tipene is on 15%. Now as it becomes apparent that Tipene can not win, it is very possible that much of his support will transfer to one of the two leading candidates. My view is that is more likely to be Kelvin Davis.

The poll also asked what party they would support with their party vote. The support for each party (and change from the 2008 election result) is:

While the Mana Party has picked up some support from the Labour and Maori parties, it would be disappointed to have only 21% party vote in the seat of its founder. It is difficult to see Harawira winning the seat, if his party has only 21% support.

Also of concern to Harawira would be the responses to the question about whether voters want an electorate MP who will work alongside or separate to the main political party that will lead the next Government. A huge 73% said they want an MP who can work alongside a governing party and only 16% said separate.

This indicates that Labour should be able to easily win the seat. All they need to do is point out that both National and Labour have ruled out working with Harawira, and hence if they vote for him they are condemning the electorate to having no influence or relationship with the next Government.

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Even the most incompetent campaign manager should be able to gain a majority for Kelvin Davis based on the reality that Harawira has been ruled out by both major parties. As the Labour Party is running his campaign, I give them a 50/50 chance of winning.

Also of interest is that 56% of eligible voters said they don't even think having a by-election is justified.

So overall the poll is pretty good news for Labour and Kelvin Davis. They have a chance to win back the seat, and prevent a new party to their left trying to gain votes off them. But there is some good news for Hone.

He was rated 3% more likely than Kelvin Davis to deliver on promises, 14% better at knowing local needs, 15% better for experience and 44% higher for personality. But he trailed Davis for trust by 12%, for leadership by 1% and for crisis management by 6%.

It's only 11 days to the by-election. It looks like it will be an even closer result than in Mana.