National’s trust deficit

Turns out that Colmar Brunton drilled a little deeper (as 08wire puts it: hat-tip) in their last poll. And they found that Labour’s campaign to question National’s borrow-to-build strategy and make its hidden agendas a defining issue is working.

Half of Kiwis doubt National’s honesty about its policies. This includes some of its own supporters:

“ONE News asked voters in the poll whether National is being open about its plans. Fifty per cent say “no”, while 37% think they are. And a quarter of National’s own supporters say they are not being honest.”

When asked about National’s plan to borrow more to fund new infrastructure, 52% say they disagree while 39% agree.

John Key says he intends, “to campaign on trust. I intend to be a prime minister that earns the trust of New Zealanders and I’m going to keep that trust.”

Finance Minister Michael Cullen says, “People know where Helen Clark stands. They don’t know where John Key stands. So if this election is about trust, we’re very much back in the running”.

08 wire say that “…trust is an emotion that rises and falls slowly, and which morphs into partisan preference slowly, too.” Thus:

“First, it will be hard for National to turn this trust deficit around within the next three months. And second, the trust deficit’s transformation into “Labour plus” voters turning their backs on National is probably incomplete.”

Exactly the point that I made about the results of the latest batch of polls. Any bounce for Labour may have been slight (although a continued substantial recovery from the depths of June), but the long-term and more deep-seated damage done by the loose lips debacle may have been hidden.

John Armstrong also says “Right now, National has both a debt problem and a trust problem”. He interprets the poll as showing that National’s “soft” vote “amounts to around a quarter of its current support.”

With a little under three months to go to the election, Labour’s challenge is to exploit these doubts and prise the wavering National-leaning punters away from National. Then the whole picture changes.

[Update: AndrewE asks why Labour should be preceived as more trustworthy. Labour’s pledge cards may have been paid for by the taxpayer, but the promises were kept, is the answer.]

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5 Responses to “National’s trust deficit”

  1. AndrewE Says:

    It would be really interesting to see the same questions asked about Labour.

    I don’t particularly trust National but I really distrust Labour at the moment.

  2. toms Says:

    I would love to know what you base your distrust for Labour on, AndrewE. One of the towering achievements of Helen Clark has been to begin the process of restoring trust between the electorate and politicians of a decade of Douglas/Richardson/Brashite politicians who were convinced of their moral obligation to lie to electorate in order to carry out an agenda no one voted for. Indeed, one of the main complaints about Labour is its so-called lack of “vision” and Helen Clark’s managerial and incremental style of leadership.

    In my view, this lack of trust in National is a direct reflection of the Richardson/Birch legacy in the public mind, and that people still think this way after nine years in opposition shows just how much the technocratic advocates of Rogernomics damaged our democracy.

  3. ak Says:

    Agreed Tom: the electorate has a long memory for betrayal, and Helen’s greatest asset is her laudable record of dogged and conservative management in rebuilding trust after the mother of all traitorous betrayals by Douglas and co in the 80s. Even the most rigid tories will begrudgingly admit that “at least we know where we stand with Helen”.

    Secret Agenda has fatally exposed and focused the soft tory poll support: the emotive, media-embraced, thinly-veiled misogyny campaign has run its course and the age-old factors of trust, experience, proven ability and stability will now come to the fore.

    Most telling demonstration to date of the rot at National’s heart was Fran O’Sullivan’s casual remark this week on National’s “major policy shift (that) it talks about behind closed doors”.
    For a right-leaning mainstream opinion leader to “leak” such a damning admission of duplicity with such nonchalance speaks volumes of National’s underlying credibility problem. The TV1 poll was confirmation that the public still has a good nose for rats.

  4. roger nome Says:

    wow toms – that was damn articulate. Spot on. The Neoliberal position is, and always has been “we know better than the people what is best for them. So, for the benefit of the country we can’t afford to be honest and open about intentions. Democracy is a luxury we can’t afford”.

    People need to be aware of National’s attitude to democracy when they go to the polling booth in November.

  5. ak Says:

    The ACT list is another gift for Labour:

    “National/Act: the Key to Rogernomics”

    “Sell your country the Key/Douglas way!”

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