A UMR online survey shows that the top two public choices were picked by the panel.
According to UMR Research Director David Talbot, it also shows early indications that it will be a hard battle for the preferred option to beat the current flag in the second referendum.
The combination of the Silver Fern and the Southern Cross seems to have caught the public mood.
The top two choices in the survey were two of the Kyle Lockwood designs. 53% had the red, white and blue Silver Fern and the Southern Cross in the top four and 51% the black, white and blue Silver Fern and the Southern Cross. A third choice from the panel received just modest support. The stylized black-and-white Silver Fern came in 14th with 8% nominating it as one of their top four designs. There was, however, little public support for the koru version. It came in 33rd with only 2% including it in their top four. The two that the public preferred over the choices of the panel were also combinations of the Silver Fern and Southern Cross.
The least preferred design was the tweaked Union Jack ('Black Jack'). 15% nominated it as the least preferred design although views were polarised with 6% also nominating it as the most preferred design. 18% had it in their top four.
Indications in the survey were that it will still be a difficult task to secure public support for a changed flag. Given a choice between their most preferred choice and the current flag it was a tight contest - 52% plumped for their preferred choice and 48% for the current flag. For many of the 52%, of course, the final run off will not be between the current flag and their preferred option.
Amongst the 48% who wanted to stay with the current flag 78% (37% of all New Zealanders) wanted to stay with the current flag regardless and 22% (10% of all New Zealanders) were open to changing the flag but did not like any of the 40 options presented.
Results from the survey are from questions included in UMR’s SAYit online omnibus survey. This is a survey of a nationally representative sample of 1000 New Zealanders 18 years plus and was in the field from 25th to 31st August. The summary, extended and 'Red Peak' editions of the reports can be found below: