There is bad news for Labour leader David Cunliffe in the latest 3 News-Reid Research poll. Not only would Prime Minister John Key and National win, but Mr Cunliffe's personal popularity has taken a dive.
And there is also a surprise for Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom.
Mr Key and National pull it off only just.
- National – 45.9 percent, up 1.4 percent
- Labour – 31.2 percent, down 2.3 percent
- Greens – 11.2 percent, down 1.2 percent
- NZ First – 4.9 percent, down 0.8 percent
- Conservative – 1.9 percent, down 0.2 percent
- Maori – 1.5 percent, up 0.3 percent
- Act – 1.1 percent, up 1.1 percent
- Mana – 1.1 percent, up 0.8 percent
- United Future – 0.1 percent, up 0.1 percent
- Internet Party – 0.4 percent, up 0.4 percent
National is up to 45.9 percent. Labour is down 2.3 percent. The Greens are down as well, at 11.2 percent – the left bloc slipping.
And New Zealand First is on 4.9 percent. It is so close, but leader Winston Peters would not make it back. If he got that little bit extra to 5 percent, it would change everything.
As for the minor parties, the Conservatives are still there. ACT has got up off the canvas at 1.1 percent. They were on zero. That is a big result for new leader Jamie Whyte.
But the Internet Party, four days old, is already on 0.4 percent. And if it did a deal with the Mana Party, on these
Translated to seats in the House, National with its support partners that we predict will get electorate deals would get 65 seats – a clear majority.
The left would only get 56 – not enough. But remember, if Mr Peters was in here they would be in with a shot. But he is not and that means Mr Key wins.
Mr Key has been globetrotting and doing the business in China. But he was in damage control the whole time, with three weeks of the Judith Collins controversy and Oravida, with its links to National and its donations for golf-buddy status.
Yet it has done nothing to harm Mr Key's popularity.
"[It has been a] bad few weeks – no impact," he says.
Mr Cunliffe has been on home-soil, but got not traction from Mr Key's woes whatsoever. In fact, it is the opposite.
"This is a really close poll on a left-right balance," says Mr Cunliffe. "We're campaigning on the issues that matter to New Zealanders. This is going to be ours to win."
For Mr Cunliffe it has been all about trust and trusts, hiding donations in one and failing to declare another
"I think that was a bump in the road and that's past us now, and we're moving on from here," says Mr Cunliffe.
But head-to-head with Mr Key, Mr Cunliffe is moving down as preferred Prime Minister. Mr Key is on 42.6 percent, up 3.6 percent.
Mr Cunliffe has hit a low point since becoming leader – 9 percent, down 1.8 percent and symbolically into single figures.
"People will make up their minds as they get to know me and also on the issues, so I'm not concerned about that," says Mr Cunliffe.
"I think Labour will be very worried about it," says Mr Key. "You've got a situation where David Cunliffe is now polling worse than David Shearer."
And Mr Key just cannot shake his nemesis, Dotcom. The Internet Party has registered, despite being barely formed.
Mr Key's dominance over Mr Cunliffe helps shut the Greens out. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says his hands are tied.
"David Cunliffe and the Labour Party is an issue for David Cunliffe and the Labour Party," says Dr Norman.
It is an issue that has suddenly become quite pressing. Mr Cunliffe simply cannot get any traction, and his troubles with the trust have him going backwards.
Conversely, the Oravida saga has simply not dented Mr Key. He is going forwards. He continues to have that vice-like grip on the centre voters.
And the political equation remains the same as always – to beat National you have to beat Mr Key. And right now Labour and Mr Cunliffe are going in the wrong direction. Once again they cannot get anything to stick to "Teflon John".