Monday, September 05, 2005

Musings on the election

I'm leaving tomorrow night for a family reunion in London and won't be back until the day after the election. Because of this, I won't be able to comment effectively on the final week and a half of the election campaign. So I'll just take the opportunity to muse a bit.

Of the five polls taken over the past week, four show National in the lead with the mean lead being 3%. What should be worrying for Labour in the latest poll is not that National is polling highly but that Labour's support has reverted to where it was before the announcement of the student loans and family benefit policy. In other words, the short term fillip resulting from their electoral enticements has evapourated.

So what can Labour do? A negative campaign looks plausible but is unlikely to work wonders. There is the Corngate row which did take 14% from Labour's support in 2002. But that had its origins in credible allegations of government malfeasance that could not be easily refuted. But National is not in the government and so Labour has been reduced to pointing out that Don Brash receives emails from the ACT party and the Business Round Table! I remain unimpressed.

The trouble with the negative campaign is that Labour has skeletons in its closet.
The Doonegate transcripts have yet to be released. The police have yet to decide upon charges against David Benson-Pope. There are questions about Transpower that have yet to be satisfactorily addressed. And lastly the Wanaga could explode. Any one of these issues released at the right time could do serious damage to the government's credibility.