Public hardens attitudes against government, crime
Midmorning review for 5 August 2023
Labour's Slide: Not So Fun When It's in the Polls
Labour's popularity has dropped further, according to the latest Roy Morgan survey. The party's support dipped to a mere 24%, a drop of 2% from the previous month. Meanwhile, the right-leaning parties - National and ACT - are revving up, and if the poll is to be believed, are poised to seize power in the forthcoming October election.
In fact, National experienced a slight dip, ACT's surge has given the right bloc a competitive edge. Notably, however, these results do not account for Labour's recent campaign launch and its new policy announcement for free dental care for under 30s.
Other minor parties continue to gain ground if RM is to be believed. The likes of New Zealand First and the Maori Party are inching towards solid shares of the vote. Labour's potential coalition partner, the Greens, also enjoyed a significant bump, from 9% to 12.5%.
Interestingly, the Greens have even out-polled Labour in Wellington, which the party will find encouraging given its tilts at the Wellington Central and Rongotai seats. You’ve always got to be cautious of extracting too much about local support from national polls, however, as even locally-focussed polling in New Zealand has a terrible track record.
How much stock should we put in Roy Morgan?
Despite its reputation for being a bit of a bouncing kangaroo in the polling landscape, Roy Morgan’s track record was surprisingly good in the last cycle. Comparing the 2020 election to the polling, the Australian company's final results came closest to the actual outcome, outperforming Kiwi counterparts like Colmar Brunton and Reid Research. So while its monthly surveys may seem like a wild ride, its indications are nothing to be sniffed at.
Polling on the three strikes law
New Zealanders appear to be in favour of a comeback for the 'Three Strikes' law, repealed last year by the Labour Government. A nationwide poll commissioned by Family First revealed a 65% support for the law's reinstatement, a leap from 44% in 2021.
The “Three Strikes” law, which guaranteed more severe penalties to repeat offenders, found support across different party voters. From National to Labour, NZ First to ACT, respondents favoured the law. Even Green voters tipped the balance in support.
Important to note here that Family First is obviously a pretty conservative lobby group. Secondly, the polling was conducted by Curia, a centre-right polling firm. However, as with all work from that firm, the poll was conducted in accordance with the Research Association New Zealand Code of Practice and the ICC Market Research Code on Market and Social Research.
The 'Three Strikes' approach has its fair share of critics, particularly among the judiciary and legal profession who argue that it eliminates too much discretion to address individual circumstances. They contend that this 'one-size-fits-all' approach to sentencing neglects the nuances of each case. However, the public's strong support for the law's reinstatement underlines a growing frustration with the crime wave that has been cresting for a considerable period now.
It appears that for many voters, the scales of justice should tip towards a tougher stance on repeat offenders, a reflection of their weariness of persistent criminal activity and the perception of government weakness on this issue.