Joe Hendren

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Musing on Mt Albert poll

A poll out tonight shows Labour's David Shearer will win the Mt Albert by-election easily.

The TV One poll had Shearer coasting at 59%. National's disaster of a candidate Melissa Lee could only manage 21% support. She is in real danger of being relegated to third place in the contest, with the Greens Russel Norman at her heels on 15%.

TV One also polled on the party vote in the electorate (even though there is no such thing in a by-election). Jordan Carter finds good news here too - compared to the 2008 election result Labour have gained 6% additional party vote support in the electorate- this essentially puts numbers on the damage Melissa Lee has done to John Key's government.

Now that we can safely assume Labour are going to win. Labour and the left could make this an even sweeter victory if Russel Norman beats Melissa Lee - in this case I really hope some Labour supporters consider voting tactically for the Green.

With a 38% margin - could David shout Russel 8% and then share a drink over a really bad night for the National Government?

Of course the Labour leadership will be pushing for the highest vote possible for Labour. Most of the time this will also be in the interests of party members - but not always. In 2005 many Labour party activists were understandably dismayed when the senior leadership of their party, given the choice, formed a government with Winston Peters and Peter Dunne and excluded the Greens.

Labour and the Greens winning both first and second place in this by-election is in the interests of both parties. Not only will Labour retain the seat, a credible showing by the Greens will help build momentum and credibility for an alternative Government in 2011. The next election may be a while away yet, but Labour would be wise to give the Greens a few lilly pads forward, at little cost to itself, in order that the overall position of the centre-left is strengthened.
PS: Haven't been posting recently as I have been in Aussie over the past two weeks. Hope to make a couple of roo related posts later in the week.

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