National’s yawning lead in the polls is built on an even larger gap in confidence on handling the economy, new polling shows. The Fairfax Media-Research International poll shows 49 per cent of voters think National has the best plan to fix the economy, well ahead of Labour on 17 per cent.
On the face of it this is pretty strange, because National doesn’t have a plan to fix the economy. I think what’s happening here is that the majority of voters pay little attention to economic issues.They’re complicated, a little dull and the so-called all experts disagree with other and they’re always wrong about everything (remember how the reserve bank was definitely going to raise interest rates last week?)
But there’s a general understanding that the economy is important and complex, so for most people the question comes down to trust and competence. For a majority of voters that’s a binary choice between the National party of John Key – who they adore – and the disaster prone, smear obsessed Labour Party. That’s a real easy choice.
The problem for the left is that the current front bench of Labour MPs don’t see any need to convince the public of their fitness for government. That’s because they see politics as a Manichean battle between good and evil, in which they are the good guys (obviously!) and all they have to do to regain power is show the public how cruel and vicious and evil John Key is. So this dynamic is unlikely to change until the line-up of Labour’s front bench changes.