The Herald's weekend poll make it clear if it wasn't already that ACT are dead. Polls are often suspect, but there is little now beyond suspicion in that verdict. Two percent at best in nationwide party vote polling (one percent in the weekend's TV1 poll), ACT needs an electorate to survive. Many of us have wondered why we haven't seen Rodney Hide campaigning in Epsom, and the poll tells us why: with only weeks to go, Rodney is third in Epsom behind National's Richard Worthless and Stuart Nash of Labour. With all the resources behind him and a once-sympathetic electorate, he can't even beat these hacks in a pre-election poll.
ACT are kept alive not by volunteers but by paid employees, and when they're not in parliament, the money stops. When the supporters stop donating and the taxpayers' money stops rolling in, where will ACT be then? Dead, is the answer. So in less than two months we'll see the end of ACT scandal-mongering and of politics before principle; of saying less than you mean and meaning less than you say; of unprincipled wimps who wear suits to bed, and perk-busting politicians who enjoy tax–paid trips around the lambada bars of South America.
As it happens, I predicted ACT's demise some years ago in 'The Free Radical.'
The last days of such a species would make an interesting anthropological study for someone.
The essence of practical politics must surely be to expand the market share for your ideas. Let me tell you now, that unless you seek to change minds you will never expand your market share beyond those who already agree with you. That is what Act is now finding so difficult. Because in order to be heard you must have something to say; in order to change minds you need fundamental principles to promote. Act has none.
[UPDATE: Apparently one behaviour exhibited by the pack-leader of such a species is severe delusion. Rodney Hide has told his blog readers the Herald poll has him "coming third in a straight poll but winning if achieving a centre-right government depends upon it." Winning? The poll shows that when asked 'Would you vote for Rodney Hide if his win ensured the ACT Party's return to Parliament?' 61% of respondents said Not Bloody Likely Mate, and only "38.8 percent say they would vote strategically for him if it provided a partner for a centre-right government." How he gets 'winning' out of that is beyond me.]