More Matt McCarten Meditation
Here’s a comment from Markus that further attempts to pour cold water on my low-balling of Matt McCarten:
- But while I think many are grossly over-estimating Matt’s chances, I also think 200-400 votes is way too low, Phil. I can see him coming a close fourth behind the Greens’ Logie, possibly even just sneaking into third place. Matt is pretty well-known and should receive enough support from a (relatively small) minority of Labour voters and a (somewhat larger) minority of Green, NZ First and minor-party voters to take maybe 1300-1600 votes. But that would still leave him over 9000 votes behind the first and second-placed candidates.
This is food for thought but I am sticking to my guns. The biggest flaw in Markus’ analysis is his over-estimation of the number of votes in play.
The two by-elections in general electorates under MMP (Taranaki-King Country 1998, Mt Albert 2009) suggest turnout will drop to around 20K from approx 35K at the 2008 general election, a 43 percent drop. Roughly, this means Labour’s base vote (the 2008 figure minus 43%) is 8,500, National is at 7,400 the Greens stand at 1,600.
This just goes to show how outlandishly exaggerated the 6,000-vote majority figure is, as touted by National Party spin-doctors on Kiwiblog and elsewhere.
The real majority is closer to 1,000 — and that is making the heroic assumption that the fall-off in voter turnout will be even across the electorate. If the recent local body elections are any indicator, this will not be the case at all; the Labour-friendly east and west is likely to stay at home in greater numbers than the Tory north. Anyone who follows elections in Mana/Porirua will simply factor in such a turnout discrepancy as a matter of course.
For Matt McCarten, this means there are simply fewer votes in play than Markus imagines. Indeed, by subtracting for by-election turn-out, Markus’ projected McCarten vote drops to 750 before we even begin to argue.
I maintain that MM is not a vote magnet in Mana, any more than Russell Marshall was in the recent Mayoral election (he came fifth). I further maintain that McCarten does not benefit from a favourable electoral climate; thus, his candidacy lacks a compelling narrative. Beyond the small minority of voters who know enough about McCarten to support his quixotic efforts out of ideological affinity or affectionate nostalgia, there just isn’t any good reason why anyone would vote for him.
Finally, his “chicken-in-every-pot” policy manifesto is irrelevant, and will go nowhere, since he promises to occupy the most distant and powerless corner imaginable in the Parliament.