September 01, 2020

Labour support drops in August but still maintains huge lead of 19.5% over National

Topic: Federal Poll, Press Release, Public Opinion
Finding No: 8509
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In August support for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party was at 48%, down 5.5% since July, but well ahead of National on 28.5% (up 2%), with just over a month to go before the rescheduled election in mid-October.

In August support for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party was at 48%, down 5.5% since July, but well ahead of National on 28.5% (up 2%), with just over a month to go before the rescheduled election in mid-October.

If an election were held today Labour could govern with the support of current partners the Greens.

Interviewing for this survey in August encompassed the period including the enforcement of Stage 3 restrictions across Auckland following the renewed outbreak of COVID-19 in the city and the decision to postpone the election by four weeks.

The renewed outbreak of COVID-19 and the re-imposition of restrictions in Auckland and around the country has clearly proved frustrating to many and the subsequent drop in support for Labour in August has narrowed the lead to 19.5% points between the two major parties.

Although this is the smallest lead for Labour since March it still represents a huge advantage to Ardern’s Government as it seeks re-election in mid-October.

This latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted by telephone – both landline and mobile – with a NZ-wide cross-section of 897 electors during August. Of all electors surveyed 5.5% (up 1.5%) didn’t name a party. Electors were asked: “If a New Zealand Election were held today which party would receive your party vote?

Support for the Labour/NZ First/Greens coalition remains strong at 62% in August

In August 62% of electors supported the Labour/NZ First/Greens governing coalition, down 1% since July. The governing coalition was well ahead of the Parliamentary opposition National/ Act NZ on only 34.5%, up 1.5% since July.

  • Support for Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peter’s NZ First improved slightly by 1% to 2.5% in August but remains 4.7% below the party’s election result of 7.2% in 2017. The August figure puts NZ First below the party vote threshold; it may be ejected from Parliament altogether at this year’s NZ Election if it garners less than 5% of the vote.
  • Greens support increased 3.5% to 11.5% in August and is now up 5.2% since the 2017 election and the party is on track to repeat the result of the 2011 NZ Election when it won 14 seats.
  • Support for Act NZ was at 6% in August, down 0.5% since July. If this level of support is repeated at the election it would be Act’s best election result since 2002 when the party scored over 7% of the vote and won 9 seats in Parliament. 

A small minority of 3.5% of electors support other minor parties outside Parliament.

  • Of the parties outside Parliament, The Opportunities Party (TOP) was down 0.5% to 1% in August and the Maori Party was unchanged at 0.5%.

New Zealand Government Confidence Rating virtually unchanged at 152 in August

Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating was virtually unchanged at a very high 152 in August, down 0.5pts from 152.5 in July. The majority (71%) of New Zealand electors (down 0.5% since July) said New Zealand was ‘heading in the right direction’ compared to only 19% (unchanged) who said New Zealand was ‘heading in the wrong direction’.

The latest monthly ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Rating was down slightly by 4.1pts at 100.2 in August. Both indicators have stabilised in recent months after large movements during the early part of the pandemic in March and April drove Government Confidence to a record high in April while Consumer Confidence Rating hit its lowest level for a decade in the same month at only 84.8.

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan, says several events in August have dented support for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Labour, but most of this support flowed to coalition partners NZ First and the Greens rather than the opposition:

Block Quote

“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has faced several challenges during August with a renewed outbreak of COVID-19 leading to the re-imposition of a Stage 3 lockdown in New Zealand’s largest city of Auckland and the re-introduction of Stage 2 restrictions throughout the country.

“The outbreak prompted the four-week postponement of the New Zealand Election until mid-October and raised questions about whether the elimination strategy pursued so far is a sustainable long-term solution to the threat posed by COVID-19.

“Today’s Roy Morgan New Zealand Poll shows the issues that emerged in August have impacted on support for the governing Labour Party which saw its support decline by 5.5% to 48% – its lowest level of support since March 2020 (42.5%).

“However, the good news for Labour is that the support has flowed largely to coalition partners NZ First, up 1% to 2.5% support and the Greens, up 3.5% to 11.5%. This level of support would not be enough to return NZ First to Parliament after the election but would likely lead to a coalition between Labour and the Greens with Prime Minister Ardern staying on in the top job.

“The Opposition National under new leader Judith Collins has recovered some ground in August with support growing 2% to 28.5% but is still below the level of support former leader Simon Bridges managed in April (30.5%) before he was dumped as leader in mid-May.

“Although the renewed outbreak and lockdowns in August have provided a new challenge for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the quick response appears to have brought the outbreak under control and means Ardern remains heavily favoured to be re-elected with an increased majority at the rescheduled election in mid-October.”

New Zealand Party Vote: 2020

Source: Roy Morgan New Zealand Single Source. January – August 2020. Base: New Zealand electors aged 18+. Average interviews per month = 897.

New Zealand Party Vote: NZ Govt. v Parliamentary Opposition

Source: Roy Morgan New Zealand Single Source. January – August 2020. Base: New Zealand electors aged 18+. Average interviews per month = 897.

Roy Morgan NZ Government Confidence Rating vs. ANZ-Roy Morgan NZ Consumer Confidence

Source: Roy Morgan New Zealand Single Source. January – August 2020. Base: New Zealand electors aged 18+. Average interviews per month = 897.

Voting Intention Summary

The following table compares the latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Polls on Voting Intention with the result from the September 23, 2017 General Election:

PARTY VOTE

Labour

NZ First

Green Party*

National

ACT NZ

TOP**

Maori Party**

Other

ELECTIONS

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

October 12, 1996*

28.19

13.35

10.10

33.87

6.10

n/a

n/a

8.39

November 27, 1999

38.74

4.26

5.16

30.50

7.04

n/a

n/a

14.30

July 27, 2002

41.26

10.38

7.00

20.93

7.14

n/a

n/a

13.29

September 17, 2005

41.10

5.72

5.30

39.10

1.51

n/a

2.12

5.15

November 8, 2008

33.99

4.07

6.72

44.93

3.65

n/a

2.39

4.25

November 26, 2011

27.48

6.59

11.06

47.31

1.07

n/a

1.43

5.06

September 20, 2014

25.13

8.66

10.70

47.04

0.69

n/a

1.32

6.46

September 23, 2017

36.89

7.20

6.27

44.45

0.50

2.44

1.18

1.07

ROY MORGAN POLL

Oct 2-15, 2017

31

6.5

11

46

0.5

2

1.5

1.5

Oct 30-Nov 12, 2017

39.5

5

10

40.5

0.5

2

1.5

1

Nov 27-Dec 10, 2017

37

8

10

40.5

0.5

2.5

0.5

1

2020

January 2020

40

2.5

10.5

40

3

0.5

1.5

2

February 2020

40.5

5

10.5

37

3.5

1.5

1

1

March 2020

42.5

3

11.5

37

3.5

1

0.5

1

April 2020

55

2.5

7

30.5

2.5

0.5

1.5

0.5

May 2020

56.5

2.5

7

26.5

3.5

1

1.5

1.5

June 2020

54.5

1.5

9

27

5

1.5

1

0.5

July 2020

53.5

1.5

8

26.5

6.5

1.5

0.5

2

August 2020

48

2.5

11.5

28.5

6

1

0.5

2

*The 1996 Election was the first New Zealand Election contested via MMP (Mixed Member Proportional). At the 1996 Election the Greens Party contested as part of the “Alliance” political grouping with four other political parties.
**The Maori Party was launched in July 2004. The Opportunities Party (TOP) was launched in November 2016.

Two-Party Preferred: Labour Party-led Government vs. Parliamentary Opposition Parties

*At the 2017 NZ Election the National-led Government returned only two parties (National & Act NZ) who received 44.95% of the vote compared to 50.36% that went to the three Parliamentary Opposition Parties: Labour, NZ First and the Greens.

NEW ZEALAND: HEADING IN “RIGHT” OR “WRONG” DIRECTION?

Electors were asked: “Generally speaking, do you feel that things in New Zealand are heading in the right direction or would you say things are seriously heading in the wrong direction?

Labour Party-led Government

(Labour, NZ First, Greens)

Parliamentary Opposition Parties
(National & Act NZ)

Election, September 23, 2017*

50.36

44.95

ROY MORGAN NEW ZEALAND POLL

Oct 2-15, 2017

48.5

46.5

NZ First under leader Winston Peters decides to support Labour’s Jacinda Ardern for PM

Oct 30-Nov 12, 2017

54.5

NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating: Interviewing Dates (National Party Govt.)

June 8-21,
2015

June 29-July 12,
2015

Aug 3-16,
2015

Aug 31-Sep 13,
2015

Sep 28-Oct 11,
2015

Oct 26- Nov 8,

2015

Nov 23-Dec 6,
2015

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

Right direction

62.5

51

54

58

53

60

59.5

Wrong direction

27

33

34

29.5

31

28.5

31

Roy Morgan GCR#

135.5

118

120

128.5

122

131.5

128.5

Can’t say

10.5

16

12

12.5

16

11.5

9.5

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating: Interviewing Dates (National Party Govt.)
Jan 4-17,
2016
Feb 1-14,
2016
Feb 29-Mar 13,
2016
Apr 4-17,

2016

May 2-15,

2016

May 30-June 12,

2016

Jul 4-17,

2016

Aug 8-21,
2016
% % % % % % % %
Right direction 59.5 56.5 61 57.5 59 54.5 57.5 58
Wrong direction 28 28.5 29 30.5 29 34 30.5 30.5
Roy Morgan GCR# 131.5 128 132 127 130 120.5 127 127.5
Can’t say 12.5 15 10 12 12 11.5 12 11.5
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating: Interviewing Dates (National Party Govt.)

May 1-14,

2017

May 29-Jun 11,
2017

Jun 26-Jul 9,
2017

July 31-Aug 13,
2017

Aug 28-Sep 10,
2017

Oct 2-15,
2017

%

%

%

%

%

%

Right direction

60.5

61.5

63

62.5

62

58.5

Wrong direction

27

27

23.5

23.5

25

27.5

Roy Morgan GCR#

133.5

134.5

139.5

139

137

131

Can’t say

12.5

11.5

13.5

14

13

14

TOTAL

100

100

100

100

100

100

NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating: Interviewing Dates (Labour Party Govt.)
Oct 30-Nov 12,
2017
Nov 27-Dec 10,
2017
January
2020
February
2020
March
2020
April
2020
May
2020
June
2020
July
2020
August
2020
% % % % % % % % % %
Right direction 66.5 68 58 59 60.5 77 76 72 71.5 71
Wrong direction 20 18 29.5 27 25.5 14 17.5 18.5 19 19
Roy Morgan GCR# 146.5 150 128.5 132 135 163 158.5 153.5 152.5 152
Can’t say 13.5 14 12.5 14 14 9 6.5 9.5 9.5 10
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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