Lots of debate around the blogosphere about whether Labour’s refusal to campaign alongside the Greens was a good or bad idea. I think bad, but obviously don’t know for sure.
I have been forming a hypothesis though, based on poll movement in the first few months of this election year. I think that voters might respond to signals about coalition partners, far moreso than they seem to respond to scandals or policy announcements. When Key announced that he wasn’t ruling out Winston Peters back in January, National dipped a bit and Peters shot up. (It is hard to see National’s dip in retrospect because they were picking up voters from Labour around the same time). Likewise when Labour indicated a preference for New Zealand First over the Greens, Labour dipped and Peters went up more.
This might all be a meaningless coincidence but it is testable: if the polls over the next few weeks see large shifts in support for the Greens – either up or down – with inverse impact on Labour’s ratings then we’ll (a) know if Labour made the right decision re a pre-election deal but (b) more importantly, see whether my theory stacks up or not.