Only one poll is bothering to get out of bed this winter, but it's tracking some interesting movements by the small parties
How much can you take from a single poll in a year after an election?
Not a lot, you might say. And you'd be right. But the smaller parties must be just a little intrigued by the latest Roy Morgan poll results released over the weekend. (The other polls have been silent this winter).
The poll was taken between July 6 and 19, and the general trend showed little change in the main parties' prospects. The last big movement was early this year when people returned from their summer holidays and decided National was doing pretty well so far, giving the new government a decent thumbs up after their first 100 days. Since then National has been on an an ever-so slide down, while remaining comfortably above the 50 percent mark. Labour has remained around the late 20s and early 30s all year.
The public hasn't been in the mood to punish the government for the Richard Worth affair, the Mt Albert massacre of Melissa Lee, a limp Budget or even the folic acid farce (although that last one only hit the headlines part way through the latest poll). Check out the Poll of Polls page to see the graphs.
But some people at least are paying attention to the smaller parties. The Greens have climbed back to their between-elections high point of 10 percent. That suggests people are happy with the election of Metiria Turei as the new co-leader but frustrate the heck out of them once more – double figures in non-election years, then down again when it really matters!
The Progressives struck a big zero in this poll; so it's good they're preparing for the future post-Jim. Anderton hasn't decided whether to stand in 2011, but is suggesting members of his party can join Labour and have joint membership. You've got to love deputy Matt Robson, who pointed out that Anderton is still younger than Castro and the Pope!
But perhaps most interesting of all is New Zealand First doubling its support (from one to two percent) after a single television appearance by Winston Peters. That has New Zealand First above ACT, which has seen its support ebbing quietly away all year.
Whatever you say about his methods and his madness, Winston has a constituency and they haven't suddenly disappeared just because John Key has chosen to ignore them. Whether they're fewer than five percent of the population; now that's the question.