I’ve got to say I’m not at all sure about what lead to the dramatic drop in the National vote in the Northland by-election. So much went on there with National’s sudden realization that it wasn’t going to be the walkover Key said it would be, and its hard to say if that panic situation lead to events that increased the party’s negatives.
I think we have to admit there were at east a few factors that stand out. Peters is a good campaigner. There was the perception that voters had been tricked into supporting Mike Sabin. There was Key’s irritating over-confidence. Steven Joyce’s “fix it” approach also rankled in the arrogant assumption that Northland voters only needed to be put right and Joyce was the man to do it.
One thing I think is noticeable is that the threat of a far left takeover was not present as it was during the General Election. Voters were not under pressure to elect National on the basis that if the opposition won, bringing in a bunch of extreme left losers in Harre and Harawira and Labour and the Watermelons, it spelled disaster for the country.
Here they had a chance to vote for or against National where the loss was not nearly as significant, being as it is a minor constraint on National’s power to implement policy. Given the general weakness of that policy, I don’t see it as much of a loss and I suspect Northland voters felt the same.
So the voters had a chance to say what they really think about John Key and National, and they said it.
I only know a few voters in Northland. Like me, they don’t like that National under Key has betrayed its founding Conservative principles. They’re unhappy with the anti-smacking legislation not being changed, they’re unhappy with same sex marriage, and they’re really unhappy with the flag change proposal. They’re unhappy with multi-culturalism. They’re unhappy with John Key’s overall progressive political mood.
Is this a feeling that is widespread in Northland, and is that the reason voters moved away from National in such large numbers? I don’t know to be honest, but I ‘d very much like to think it was.