We disagree. There's more than a year until the election, and that's plenty of time for David Cunliffe to disendear himself to the electorate, as he had previously done with the Labour Party caucus. And in an ironic Labour Day twist, the Fairfax-Ipsos will be a heart-breaker for Labour in particular; Vernon Small reports:
David Cunliffe's dream start as Labour leader has failed to derail John Key’s push for a third term.
That’s the message from a new Fairfax Media-Ipsos poll that shows the gap between the two big parties, which narrowed in the wake of Labour’s leadership ‘‘primary’’, has reversed, leaving National on track to win the next election.
Labour is up two percentage points to 33.6 per cent since the last Fairfax poll, completed in August before the leadership spill that saw Cunliffe replace David Shearer.
But National is also up two points, and holds a huge 17-point lead over Labour, winning the backing of more than 50 per cent of committed voters.
That comes after several high-profile overseas trips by Key, in which he has rubbed shoulders with world leaders and chaired top-level trade talks during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit.
On the latest poll numbers, National would win 63 seats in a 124-seat Parliament and be able to govern alone, assuming an overhang from minor parties holding their electorate seats.
That will be a major blow to Labour’s morale, after a series of polls since Cunliffe took up the reins showed National slipping into the mid-40s and the combined Labour-Green bloc having the numbers to win power.
Here are the numbers in graphical form:
And the news is not only bad for David Cunliffe and Labour:
Labour’s small rise since August seems to have come at the expense of its main ally, with the Greens down 1.6 percentage points to 10.7 per cent during a period when co-leader Russel Norman was overseas and out of the media spotlight.
The National Party will be encouraged by this poll result. For Labour and the Greens however, it underlines the enormity of the task they have ahead of them should they wish to govern after 2014. And for Labour especially this poll is a blow; the party faithful gathers in Christchurch next weekend for Labour's annual conference. Whilst David Cunliffe will be preaching to the converted, there is a much bigger constituency that remains unconvinced about Labour's readiness to govern.
Happy Labour Day Mr Cunliffe!