Newshub breathlessly reported this week its latest political poll from Reid Research: “National plunges to its worst result in 12 years”.
The polling showed Labour at 47.5% and National at 41.6%, and according to Newshub political editor Tova O’Brien, the poll for the first time in its history put Labour ahead of National.
In her excitement at finding such a dark day for National’s leader Simon Bridges, she appeared to overlook the Reid Research polling which recorded Labour ahead in election year, and again in 2018.
Still, it wasn’t good news for National. Nor did it give much cheer to NZ First at 2.9%, while Labour’s other coalition supporter, the Greens, slipped to 5.1%.
Audrey Young in the NZ Herald supplied a more sober analysis, contending the latest poll “may cause a murmur in National but is not the sort of result that will throw it into crisis or into a coup mentality”.
She pointed out that National falling below Labour is not new in polling. It occurred twice last year in TV1’s Colmar Brunton sampling.
The NZ Herald’s political editor believes there is too much variation in the result to be sure of a trend, “although it makes sense that a party led by a popular leader doing a great job for NZ in Europe at the time the poll was taken would receive a decent lift”.
Quite whether Ardern made that sort of impact with her European talks may be seen more clearly if Brexit leads to difficulties for NZ either in the UK or the European market (or perhaps both).
And then there is the problem, as the NZ Herald reported in the same edition, that diplomatic links with China have plummeted to a new low “as Prime Minister Ardern is given the cold shoulder by Beijing”.
However much “kindness and compassion” Ardern displays in her contacts with China’s leaders, it may not fix that international problem.