Roy Morgan Research
October 15, 2020

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern set to sweep to a ‘crushing’ election victory on Saturday

Topic: Federal Poll, Press Release, Public Opinion
Finding No: 8543
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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is set to be returned for a second term on Saturday with Labour Party support at 47.5% in September – an increase of 10.6% points since the 2017 New Zealand Election.

Support for the main opposition National Party is unchanged at 28.5% in September, but down a massive 16% points from the last Election.

If these results are repeated on Saturday, the governing Labour Party will be on the cusp of winning a majority of seats in its own right with a projected 61/120 seats set to be won by Labour and National on track for 38 seats in the new Parliament.

Interviewing for this survey in September encompassed the period during which Auckland was subject to Stage 2.5 restrictions and the rest of New Zealand was in Stage 2 up to and including the first leaders debate between Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Opposition Leader Judith Collins.

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 911 electors during September. Of all electors surveyed 6% (up 0.5%) 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 Labour/NZ First/Greens at 59.5% but NZ First unlikely to be returned

In September 59.5% of electors supported the Labour/NZ First/Greens governing coalition, down 2.5% since August. The governing coalition was well ahead of the Parliamentary opposition National/ Act NZ on only 35.5%, up 1% since August.

  • Support for Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peter’s NZ First is unchanged at 2.5% in September, but this represents a fall of 4.7% points since the 2017 Election. The result means NZ First is unlikely to be returned to Parliament as the party is set to receive fewer votes than the 5% threshold required to win seats.
  • Greens support dropped 2% to 9.5% in September but is still up 3.2% since the 2017 Election and the party is set to increase its representation in Parliament to 12 seats, up 4 from presently.
  • Support for Act NZ increased 1% to 7% in September – and is up a large 6.5% since the 2017 Election. Act NZ is set to have its best election result for nearly twenty years – since 2002 – and has picked up support at the expense of both National and NZ First since the last election. Act NZ is on target to win 9 seats in the new Parliament.

A small minority of 5% of electors support other minor parties outside Parliament.

  • Of the parties outside Parliament, The Opportunities Party (TOP) was up 0.5% to 1.5% in September and the Maori Party was unchanged at 0.5%.

New Zealand Government Confidence Rating virtually unchanged at 151 in September

Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating was virtually unchanged at a very high 151 in September, down 1pt from 152 in August. The majority (70.5%) of New Zealand electors (down 0.5% since August) said New Zealand was ‘heading in the right direction’ compared to only 19.5% (up 0.5%) who said New Zealand was ‘heading in the wrong direction’.

Projected New Zealand Parliament Composition after 2020 New Zealand Election

PartiesCurrent SeatsProjected SeatsSeat Change
NZ First90-9
Labour-led Government6373+10
Act NZ19+8
Parliamentary Opposition5647-9

Michele Levine, CEO Roy Morgan, says Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is set to be returned easily at Saturday’s election and stands a good chance of securing a slim majority for Labour in its own right:

“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is set to be returned with a convincing victory in this week’s New Zealand Election. Today’s Roy Morgan New Zealand Poll shows the governing Labour Party has the support of 47.5% of the electorate – up 10.6% points since the 2017 Election.

“The decisive action taken by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic during March and April is the key to Ardern’s re-election. Support for Labour jumped by over 16% points following the implementation of the nationwide lockdown and closure of New Zealand’s international border.

“During this period support dropped for the other key parties. Support was down by over 10% points for National, over 3% points for the Greens and halved to only 2.5% points for NZ First. 

“Labour’s high level of support puts the party on track to win 61 seats in a 120 seat Parliament – enough for a slim majority. No single party has yet won a majority of seats at a New Zealand Election since the electoral system changed to “MMP” – Mixed Member Proportional in 1996.

“The closest was former Prime Minister John Key in 2011 when National received 47.3% of the vote and won 59/121 seats falling two seats short of a majority. A key difference in 2020 is that only four parties are likely to win seats in Parliament meaning the threshold to win a majority of seats is slightly lower than in 2011.

“Support for National is unchanged at 28.5% in September indicating that new leader Judith Collins hasn’t managed to obtain a surge in support since winning the top job only three months ago. National is set to secure its worst result at an election for more than a decade.

“The other big story to emerge from today’s final pre-election Roy Morgan New Zealand Poll is that Saturday is set to mark the end of NZ First Leader Winston Peter’s long political career which began in 1978 before current Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was even born.

“Support for NZ First has dropped significantly since 2017 with their support drifting to the libertarian right-wing Act NZ. Act NZ is on track for its best result for nearly two decades since 2002 with the party likely to cross the 5% support threshold for only the fourth time.”

New Zealand Party Vote: 2020

Source: Roy Morgan New Zealand Single Source. January – September 2020. Base: New Zealand electors aged 18+. Average interviews per month = 899.

New Zealand Party Vote: NZ Govt. v Parliamentary Opposition

Source: Roy Morgan New Zealand Single Source. January – September 2020. Base: New Zealand electors aged 18+. Average interviews per month = 899.

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

Source: Roy Morgan New Zealand Single Source. January – September 2020. Base: New Zealand electors aged 18+. Average interviews per month = 899.

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 VOTELabourNZ FirstGreen Party*NationalACT NZTOP**Maori Party**Other
October 12, 1996*28.1913.3510.1033.876.10n/an/a8.39
November 27, 199938.744.265.1630.507.04n/an/a14.30
July 27, 200241.2610.387.0020.937.14n/an/a13.29
September 17, 200541.105.725.3039.101.51n/a2.125.15
November 8, 200833.994.076.7244.933.65n/a2.394.25
November 26, 201127.486.5911.0647.311.07n/a1.435.06
September 20, 2014  25.138.6610.7047.040.69n/a1.326.46
September 23, 201736.897.206.2744.450.502.441.181.07
Oct 30-Nov 12, 201739.551040.50.521.51
Nov 27-Dec 10, 20173781040.
January 2020402.510.54030.51.52
February 202040.5510.5373.51.511
March 202042.5311.5373.510.51
April 2020552.5730.
May 202056.52.5726.53.511.51.5
June 202054.51.592751.510.5
July 202053.51.5826.
August 2020482.511.528.5610.52
September 202047.52.59.528.571.50.53

*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.


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?”

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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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