Friday, November 11, 2011

Closer than we think

I avoid blogging about the polls - that way lies hackdom - but today's "shock" Herald poll, showing that (surprise, surprise) things have tightened as the election has grown closer, does have an interesting point. In addition to the straight analysis of seats, showing a single-party National government, the Herald also computed the outcome if NZ First made it across the line, with the necessary votes coming from Labour. And that shows National forced into coalition, even if it wins 49.5% of the vote, thanks to the Maori Party's overhang.

There are caveats around this. It's a hypothetical situation. The Maori Party may not overhang by so much (their hold on Te Tai Tonga is apparently looking quite dodgy). And National is hardly short of single-seat coalition partners should it need them (especially now Key has endorsed Banks in Epsom). At the same time, it shows that things are a bit closer than we think, that a movement of just a few percent can force National into coalition (which means a possible check on their power), and that every vote counts. Which is as it should be in an election.