I’m not impressed by the priority given to polling recently. Polling is not a positive in the political battle. Its merely a measure of what ideas the voters have digested. If they’re only getting ideas from one side of the political spectrum, then naturally polls will show these ideas as having the edge over other ideas.
In this way, polling is a measure of how effective the political parties are at getting their message across. Hence the collapse of National as a party of the right and its conversion to a weak imitation of Labour. What polling has really demonstrated is John Key’s abysmal failure to get any kind of message out there that challenges left wing cultural hegemony.
If any Nat party people are reading, here is the message- If you don’t recognise the liberal/ progressive media as the enemy, you can’t fight them. This largely progressive/ liberal/ LW media manipulates public opinion to large degree. If you doubt this, then name me more than a couple of truly Conservative voices in the industry that have the reach of liberals like Mike Hoskin or John Campbell or Guyon Espiner or Patrick Gower.
The challenge is to get Conservative ideas out there in the face of this fairly overwhelming adversarial force. No one ever said this would be easy, but polling and adjusting and compromising to suit negative outcomes is the path to long term defeat.
John Key has completely failed to rise to this challenge. The situation is exacerbated because he does not have the ideas even if he had the ability (like Thatcher or Reagan) to sell them. Key’s reliance on polling and his subsequent constant incremental surrender to the left has been the worst thing to happen to NZ’s political right in decades.
The detached from reality situation that exists in a Wellington beltway consisting mainly of liberal media and a bunch of spineless politicians who are easily manipulated by said media does not exist in the rest of NZ. There are a large number of voters across the country just waiting to hear a message not tainted by or submissive to the ideas that are favoured in the beltway.
NZ Voters can’t express opinions on ideas if the ideas are not being put out there.
The National Party has to drop its subservience to polling and get out there and sell what they purportedly believe in. (see sidebar for National Party founding principles)