Winter chills will influence 2020 election

Insight

Aut viam inventum, aut factum*

This year’s general election could be a photo finish according to the latest political polls, but anything could change come the winter.

Treasury and health officials are currently working around the clock doing scenario planning for the arrival of the Covid-19 virus which may coincide with other strains of influenzas in winter. 

On top of the economic impact of the coronavirus is the ongoing repercussions of the current drought in several parts of the country.

The political response and management of these issues may well come to dominate the election campaign and influence voter sentiment on 19th September – something not factored into the latest polls.

The polls are pointing to a close win by the Labour-led government, but a different outcome is a genuine possibility, given previous polling trends of the major parties in election year and the complexities of MMP.

Analysis of polling trends under MMP show Labour support normally goes up in the first quarter then drops over the remainder of the year and National support does the opposite.

Of course, the Labour-led government has the advantage of setting the political agenda through its budget in May and it has Jacinda Ardern – a talisman-like leader who connects with voters in a way that Simon Bridges hasn’t been able to do.

Another factor is the possibility that both New Zealand First and the Greens fail to make the five per cent threshold to get back into Parliament.  Both parties have been imploring their supporters to donate to their election campaigns.

If Labour’s two support parties fail to make it back into Parliament, then National and ACT will be in the box seat.

Labour knows it cannot take the election for granted, especially if there’s an ill wind blowing this winter.

*I’ll either find a way, or make one