PoliticsSeptember 23, 2017

7pm: Deathwatch – why the Greens may need 4.5% and NZ First 5.5%


Election Night 2017: The numbers tend to change in the final count. Here’s what we reckon are the thresholds for survival in advanced votes.

We’ve been banging on about advance votes and the enrol’n’vote combo offer and special votes for a bit now, but as we await the great democratic sky with our arms outstretched, let’s take a stab at what the real target is for the two parties that are not yet guaranteed to get above the 5% threshold.

One of those parties, New Zealand First, may have a safety net, if Winston Peters can retain the Northland seat he won in a 2015 byelection. But there’s no certainty of that. The Greens haven’t a shit-show of winning an electorate, so while they’ve restored their polling to provide some breathing space above the dreaded 5%, there will be a bead or two of sweat.

The advance vote has been huge. With 1,240,740 casting their ballots in the fortnight to yesterday, roughly 50% of votes are likely to end up being advance votes – much as the Electoral Commission predicted. We have in effect shifted from an election day to an election period.

But as we watch those advanced votes flow in, what sort of number do the Greens and NZ First need to feel confident they’ll crack the 5%?

In 2014, the Green Party scored 9.98% on advance votes, 10.02% on the preliminary result, as it stood at the end of election night, and the party finished, a fortnight later, with special votes included, up at 10.7%, which meant an extra seat.

New Zealand First the same year, meanwhile, sat on 9.13% after advance votes, on 8.85% at the end of the night, and dropped to 8.66% in the final result.

This was in keeping with 2011’s result, which is to say that the Greens typically expect to finish higher thanks to specials, while NZ First tends to have fewer specials – in contrast to the Greens they’re not likely to have a higher proportion of urban supporters voting outside their electorate or overseas.

If you assume the same shift this year, the Greens would need about 4.66% from advance votes, and NZ First about 5.27%.

That could well be magnified this time, however, given the buegeoning flanks of enrol’n’voters, who have this time been turning up in their tens of thousands over the last fortnight to enrol and cast a vote. Given that young votes skew towards progressive and away from conservative votes, we’re going to guesstimate and round those targets for the Greens and NZ First, and declare that, to feel safe after advance votes, the Green Party needs to be on 4.5%, and NZ First needs to be on 5.5%.

For more on when we can expect results to flow in, see here.

On the seats to watch, see here.

On what’s up in the Māori seats, go here.

To relive the twists of an amazing campaign, click here.

And the Drinking Game is here, you savage.


Keep going!