Greens gain Canterbury support

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 05:00 18/08/2014

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Cantabrians appear more likely to vote Green than people anywhere else in the country, a new poll suggests.

Data from the stuff.co.nz/Ipsos political poll shows the Green Party gained 8.8 percentage points, according to surveys done at the start of this month, putting the party on 21.2 per cent support in Canterbury against a national average of 11.3 per cent.

Polling carried out in February, May, June and July showed the Greens gaining support in Canterbury most months, with the exception of June.

Left-leaning political commentator and academic Bryce Edwards said Labour MPs in Canterbury "aren't exactly firing on all cylinders" and the Greens provided the "most competent alternative" to the two major parties. Labour lost traction in Canterbury for the second month in a row, with the latest data putting it on 14.2 per cent, down 10 percentage points. Last month, Labour lost 3 percentage points while National gained the same amount. National is polling at just over 55 per cent - down 4 percentage points from July - of the Canterbury party vote.

Nationally, the latest poll put National at 55.1 per cent of the party vote, virtually unchanged from last month. Labour is on 22.5 per cent and the Greens on 11.3 per cent.

Edwards believed Labour would be "very disappointed" by the lessening support in Canterbury, particularly because it had focused on "highlighting some problems with the rebuild under National".

Right-wing blogger and commentator David Farrar said the Greens and Labour had been competing for the same votes.

At a regional level, the data had a higher margin of error so to "say Canterbury is more Green . . . will require them to stay at that level for another month or so," Farrar said.

Green MP and Port Hills candidate Eugenie Sage said during her campaign she was meeting people whom she thought would not vote Green but were considering it.

Canterbury Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove questioned the validity of the poll, which he said had a "massive" margin of error and was "out of kilter" with other polling results. The national poll of 1000 eligible voters was taken from August 9 to August 13. The Canterbury sample was 108.

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