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Thursday, September 4

Labour smashed nationals

An opinion poll released today shows a significant increase in support for Labour, and National's lead has been reduced to just 6.5 percentage points.

The New Zealand Morgan poll was the best news for the Government in a long time and follows the trend of other recent surveys which have shown the gap narrowing.

Labour gained four points to 38 percent support while National slipped 3.5 points to 44.5 percent.

On August 24 a TV3/TNS poll showed a similar result, with National's lead down to 11 points compared with 16 points earlier in the year.

On August 28 a New Zealand Herald/DigiPoll showed a gap of 13.7 points compared with 24.6 points in July.

Morgan researchers said the 6.5 point gap was the closest in nearly a year, since October 2007 when National was on 45 percent and Labour on 40 percent.

"The lack of clear policy direction from the opposition National Party has given (Prime Minister) Helen Clark and Labour renewed hope of winning an unlikely election victory, as National has yet to make the case for why it deserves to form the next government," they said.

The poll questioned 841 voters between August 18 and 31, covering the problems encountered by New Zealand First and its leader Winston Peters.

It showed that NZ First was suffering -- down four points to 2.5 percent -- but the controversy had not rubbed off on the Government.

The poll showed the Greens up half a point to 8 percent and the Maori Party up 1.5 points to 3.5 percent. ACT was unchanged on 1.5 percent and the other minor parties were around 1 percent.

The results indicate that although National still holds the lead, Labour and the Greens could outflank it unless one of the minor parties decided to support National.

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