Labour opens gap with women, young

Labour is well ahead of National — particularly among women and those aged under 55 — in a new online poll conducted for Newsroom by international survey firm SSI.

The poll of 550 voting age people nationwide between Monday and Wednesday this week, had Labour on 45 percent to National's 30 percent, for those who made a choice in answer to the question: "If an election was held today which party would you give your party vote to?" New Zealand First was 11, the Greens 6, TOP and the Māori Party 2, with Act on 1.

The gap between Labour and National is bigger than other public polls, and National's figure in particular is lower.

On Thursday night, the TVNZ-Colmar Brunton poll had Labour ahead of National by 43 to 39 points, with NZ First on 9 and the Greens on 5. Today the RNZ poll of polls recorded Labour just ahead of National, as did a Listener-Bauer poll which had Labour 37, National 34, NZ First 7 and the Greens on 6.

The Newsroom-SSI poll has a margin of error of 4.4 percent. It is from a smaller sample than the television networks' polls and does not involve phone interviews. But it is a random sample from SSI's nationwide panel and reflects the make-up of the New Zealand population on age, gender, area and ethnicity. Those polled do not opt in, but are invited to participate in accordance with SSI's required demographic balance.

Results have been weighted to census data results and 'don't knows' are excluded from the figures for the 'party vote' question.

SSI were in the field with this survey between Monday September 4 and Wednesday September 6. This period covered National's finance spokesman Steven Joyce's accusation that Labour's financial plans had an $11.7 billion hole, and the Newshub leaders' debate on Monday night plus the aftermath of both issues.

Among women, Labour under new leader Jacinda Ardern scored 53 percent support to National's 22 percent, a striking gap this close to the election. Male respondents were just in National's camp, at 39 percent to Labour's 37. New Zealand First was more popular among men, 13 percent of whom supported it, than women, at 9 percent support.

The appeal of Ardern's Labour to the young is overhelming in this SSI poll, although questions remain over the likelihood of first-time voters to turn up on election day. Those aged 18 to 24 favoured Labour by 65 to 14 over National, with TOP rating 6, and the Greens, Māori Party and New Zealand First on 5 points each.

Labour's lead reduces progressively as the age of respondents rises, but is still 57 percent to 22 among 25-34 year-olds, 45 to 26 for those 35-44 and 49 to 24 for those aged 45-54.

Only from 55 to 64 does National pull ahead, by 39 to 34 over Labour, with a commanding lead of 53 to 27 for those aged 65 and above.

The result for preferred Prime Minister was also positive for Ardern, with 45 percent choosing her, 31 opting for National's Bill English and 11 going for New Zealand First's Winston Peters.

When asked which parties Labour or National should seek to work with after the election, respondents ranked NZ First highly in both scenarios.

For Labour, those surveyed favoured the Greens (42 percent), NZ First (37), Maori Party (20) and TOP (8).

For National, it was NZ First (37), Act and the Māori Party (19), the Greens (18) and TOP (9).

Issues of most importance to voters were topped by health, which ranked 1st among 23 percent of respondents, followed by housing affordability (16), the economy (15), jobs and education (10), homelessness (9) and taxes - including a capital gains tax (9).  

Interestingly, immigration rated most important with just 5 percent of people and was rated the least important of nine issues listed in the survey by the biggest number, 32 percent, ahead of homelessness at 22 percent.

SSI is the premier global provider of data solutions and technology for consumer and business-to-business survey research, reaching respondents in more than 100 countries via Internet, telephone, mobile/wireless and mixed-access offerings on behalf of 2500 clients. Visit SSI at www.surveysampling.com

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