Shock new poll: Nat-Lab gap may be closing

Roy Morgan poll just released shows National down seven points and the Greens up

A new Roy Morgan poll from early October shows National shedding seven percent of its support from two weeks earlier, down to 40.5 percent. Labour is up one percent, but more significantly is just three points behind on 37.5 percent. The Greens leap to nine percent, up 2.5 percent. The pollsters say on those results, "If the Election were this weekend there would be a hung Parliament in New Zealand with either major party capable of forming a governing coalition."

Interestingly Roy Morgan has also found that those saying "the country is heading in the right direction" is up four percent. Pollster Gary Morgan says,

“Key’s inability to remember how many shares his family hold in Tranzrail, and also his past as a merchant banker have raised questions about how capable Key is of handling the Financial crisis that is engulfing New Zealand... New Zealand is currently in a recession and needs strong leadership, a quality Helen Clark is recognised for.

It's important to note that the poll is well out of step with other recent polls, which have National 16-19 points ahead. Even through August and September, Roy Morgan has had National and Labour closer than the other polls.

Pundit and Victoria University political scientist Jon Johansson doubts the poll is representative of the parties actual respective positions, but says that John Key may have put an unloseable election at risk by aiming too small and trying to rock the boat as little as possible.

As I wrote earlier today, these are volatile and uncertain times and voters may be re-thinking that change of shoes.