Key: It'll be a tight election race

NICOLE PRYOR AND ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 08:28 25/02/2013
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Prime Minister John Key says he expects the Labour-Green voting bloc to grow enough by the next election to rival National's level of support.

Support for National is still growing but the next election would be a tough race, he told RadioLive this morning.

"The trend [for National] has been up for TV One and TV3 [polling]… but I think over the course of the next couple of years that Labour-Green bloc will be fairly equivalent to the National bloc and it will be a very very tight race going into the 2014 election."

Key told RadioLive the polls would move around between now and the next election.

"Hopefully we can do enough to get ourselves over the line again next year," he said.

He said he would watch the ACT Party with interest, to see "whether it can regroup, or regenerate."

The 3News poll gave Key a big boost, up from 37 to 41 per cent in the preferred prime minister stakes.

It put National on 51.4 per cent, with Labour on 32.6 per cent, down two points. The Greens had slumped from 13 to 10.8 per cent.

The result would allow National to govern alone, with 64 seats.

The survey of 1000 voters was in line with a recent One News-Colmar Brunton poll, which gave National a five-point boost to 49 per cent support.

However, last week's Fairfax Media-Ipsos poll put National on 44.9 per cent, or 1.3 percentage points down on the previous poll in December. Labour was up 1.9 percentage points to 36.3 per cent.

A Roy Morgan poll published on February 14 had National dropping and Labour climbing.

Labour leader David Shearer said: "They [the polls] are all over the place at the moment. My sense is that there are two reasons. People are not terribly interested at the moment. And there is a great deal of softening of the vote, which is showing up dramatically different in some polls."

National benefited from a reshuffle last month in which two ministers were sacked.

Shearer is understood to be planning to announce his new front bench today. He refused to be drawn on it yesterday.

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