11 Oct 2008

Two opinion polls suggest Labour narrowing the gap

11:33 am on 11 October 2008

Two opinion polls out on Friday suggest the gap between the National Party and the Labour Party is closing.

They come as a boost to Labour, which has trailed National by more than 10% in most opinion polls for well over a year.

The Roy Morgan poll has National on 40.5% support and Labour just three percentage points behind on 37.5%.

The latest poll for TV3 has the gap between the two major parties narrowing to seven percentage points.

Roy Morgan

The Roy Morgan poll has National down seven points since mid-September, while Labour is up by one.

At three points, National's lead is its narrowest in the Roy Morgan poll since early 2007.

In the minor party stakes, the Greens are 9%, up by 2.5%; with New Zealand First on 4%, ACT on 3.5%, and the Maori Party on 2%.

The poll questioned 923 voters over the two weeks up until last Sunday, and does not cover the time of National's tax cuts announcement.

It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2%.


The 3 News TNS poll has National on 45% of the party vote and Labour on 39%.

National lost four points and Labour gained three points since the channel's last poll.

The Green Party also gained nearly two points, to 6.8%.

No other minor party reached the 5% threshold on party votes.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4%.

John Key

National's leader John Key says he expects the polls to change over the next few weeks, saying he's been expecting volatility.

"Polls always move around a wee bit. There's been a lot of that," he says..

"My anticipation is that polls will narrow. Internationally that's always what's happened. You saw it in Australia on the two-party preferred basis; you saw it in the French elections. In the end there is a degree of subjectivity about any poll, big or small, so we'll just wait until election day."

Helen Clark

Commenting before the release of the second poll, Labour leader Helen Clark says the closing of the gap shows that the choices facing voters are starting to become clear.

Miss Clark says she always believed the polls would change considerably as the election drew nearer.