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Today is a FREE taste of an Insight Politics article by writer Stephen Berry.
‘Lockdown Just in Time!’
COVID 19 Will Prove to Be Labour’s Political Salvation Once Again.
It would appear the political gods are looking down favourably upon Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her demented band of incompetents. The polls were beginning to indicate reduced and flattening support for Labour, so the arrival of Covid Delta is timed perfectly. While National is barely capitalising on Labour’s softening support, the combined National/Act vote is closing in on the combined Labour/Greens vote. However, I believe Covid 19 will prove to be Labour’s political salvation again.
The seven polls included in this chart are
- 16 May 2021 – Newshub Reid Research
- 27 May 2021 – Colmar Brunton
- 5 July 2021 – Roy Morgan
- 8 July 2021 – UMR
- 30 July 2021 – Roy Morgan
- 1 August 2021 – Newshub Reid Research
- 16 August 2021 – UMR
The combined support of Labour/Greens was 59.8% compared to National/Act’s 33.9% on May 16: a chasm of 25.9%. The UMR poll of August 16 shows the gap narrowing to just 9%, with Labour/Greens on 50% and National/Act on 41%.
I predict that New Zealand’s second Level 4 lockdown will have the same impact on Labour’s popularity as the first lockdown did. That flowed through into the only single-party majority in global MMP history during the 2020 general election.
In 2020, National consistently beat Labour in the polls, though the lack of a large enough coalition partner meant Labour/Greens/NZ First continued to lead over the National/Act vote. This all changed with the arrival of Covid 19 and the implementation of lockdown Level 4. The sudden spike in polling is the first poll since that lockdown.
By mid-February, there was a serious danger that this Labour-led government may have beeen the first single-term government since 1975. However, Covid 19 fixed that! Favourability to the incumbent was not exclusively a New Zealand scenario either. I’ve gone through all legislative elections held since April 2020, excluding those with reasonable suspicions of corruption. While not every incumbent government gained in support, most did and some of those who lost support were already so dominant they couldn’t have grown further.
These are all the credible elections held since April 2020 which is when Covid became a serious international concern. From April 2020 onward, there were 31 elections that fit my criteria of being free, fair and uncorrupted. In 58% of these elections, the incumbent government increased their representation. In 81% of these elections, the incumbent government remained in power.
Compare this to the 31 elections just prior to April 2020, that also met my criteria of being free, fair and uncorrupt. Just 26% of the incumbent governments maintained their representation in parliament, and the number remaining in power is a quarter fewer with just 61%.
I believe the 2022 Victorian State elections may provide a good indicator of New Zealand’s prospects in 2023. Both jurisdictions are beholden to trigger-happy lockdown leaders; both have had multiple long length severe lockdowns (admittedly New Zealand’s second is only getting started). Both Premier Andrews and Prime Minister Ardern enjoy high levels of personal support. The graphs below pre-date the latest severe Victorian lockdown, just as New Zealand polling does, but I think the early 2020 pre-Covid polling changes give an excellent clue of the impact Delta will now have on the fortunes of these, and many governments worldwide.
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