I've written before about what political polls tell us about the election, so it makes sense to look at what the 2014 polls tell us about what to expect on Saturday. It's very close.
This is a weighted poll of polls, taking the results of the published polls and our polling and adjusting them for how accurate they were at the last two elections. There's a couple of limitations to note with that:
- This is the first election Ipsos have done the polling for Fairfax. I've assumed that their performance will be about average.
- Internet-Mana is technically speaking a new party and Mana wasn't around in 2008. Therefore I can't get a two-election measure of how accurate polls have been for them.
- Similarly, the Conservatives weren't around in 2008 and Roy Morgan didn't publish data for the Conservatives. Again, I can't really make solid predictions for the Conservatives.
- As I've shown previously, National tends to do a little worse on election day than they do in the polls, while NZF does a little better. The weighted poll of polls tries to take that into account.
Here are the numbers for the parties I have good data for:
- National - 45%
- Labour - 26%
- Green - 11%
- NZ First - 9%
- Maori - 1.3%
- ACT - 0.8%
- United Future - 0.6%
On that, ACT and United Future would have single seats without being 'overhang' and the Maori Party would have two even if they only held one of their current seats. It'd be the first time the Maori Party have won a seat off their list rather than by winning electorates. There'd only be 120 MPs, with 61 required for a majority.
The elephant in the room there is the Conservatives. The final polls of the 2014 campaign have the Conservatives between 3.3% and 4.9%, and they did do a little better on election day in 2011 than they did in the preceding polls. On the other hand, their problems of the last couple of days could easily knock a few votes off them. My pick is that they'll be between 4.0% and 4.9%.
Internet Mana are polling between 0.9% and 2.0%, and again did slightly better on 2011 election day than they did in the preceding polls. It appears, however, that they face a strong challenge in Te Tai Tokerau, and therefore may not be represented at all. Most recent polls have also shown their vote down from where it was earlier in the campaign. If they do win Te Tai Tokerau, then I think they'll get either one or two list seats on top of that.
One last point. The difference between National being able to form a government just ACT and United Future in 2011 and them needing either the Maori Party or NZ First to govern was fewer than 6000 votes. If National had needed the Maori Party or NZ First, then they might not have been able to do several things they have done this time, such as asset sales and charter schools. The polls are closer now than they were then. It really does show how every vote makes a difference.