Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Gower Speaks

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  • Pete George,

    Some good explanations there, thanks to Patrick (and Russell). But there’s one point that stands out:

    Winston comes in at 4.9 and I instantly think, hey, he’s good for 5% on election day.

    “But you’ve got to stick with the information that you’re given. And you’ve got to stick with it from month to month and pretend that there is nothing else out there, for the sanctity of that information.

    That ignores (or is ignorant of) how polling works. A 4.9% result has other critical information associated with it. There’s a +/- 1.4 margin of error giving a 95% confidence of it being in a range from 3.5-6.3% which is slightly less than a fifty fifty chance of making or breaking the 5% threshold.

    So ‘sticking to the information’ should mean considering both alternatives equally.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Honestly is there any reason why they couldn't report actual intervals instead of just simplistic percentages.

    What he is doing by presenting the simplistic numbers is actually misinformation

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Honestly is there any reason why they couldn’t report actual intervals instead of just simplistic percentages.

    I have some sympathy here. Explaining confidence intervals in a three-minute news item is not something I'd like to try and do.

    But yes, as you and Pete both note, treating the simple number as gospel is actually misleading.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    So John Key and National are 'masking' their donations by using restaurants and other events, where participants are making donations or paying over the top for services.

    Its seems a clear strategy to get around the election donor law

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Alastair Thompson,

    That would have to be one of the longest and most cogent expositions on the subject of politics that Paddy has ever had the privilege of being associated with.

    Bravo!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    "But it’s bloody good information. If we started introducing different things, it would just be a clusterfuck." :-)

    That was a damned good bit of media watch there Russell!

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Kevin McCready,

    It’s still not a good question because it begs the question about which action. Yes yes you could infer the latest action, but it’s not a good question. He wasn't “forced” either, he decided.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • cindy baxter,

    That information could also go on the TV3 website, but I know how hard it is to get data up there in a specialised format

    Surely a link to a pdf wouldn't be too difficult?

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 99 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Homer, in reply to Pete George,

    Even reporting the intervals isn't overly helpful in itself since (among other things) the proportions aren't actually independent - +1% to someone has to come from someone else, which has flow-on effects elsewhere. They have a pretty narrow range of application and the nuances are pretty subtle. It would be a nice area for an interactive visualisation though.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 82 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    is there any reason why they couldn't report actual intervals instead of just simplistic percentages

    Easy enough to show on a graph. Most people don't have trouble with a range if it's shown visually.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to steven crawford,

    a televisual moment, for sure

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I have some sympathy here. Explaining confidence intervals in a three-minute news item is not something I'd like to try and do.

    "Our poll shows National is (highly) likely to have 56 to 58 MPs."

    Not hard.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George,

    Who wants to put together a graph as an example? TV is good for visuals, if they see how it can be done it could catch on.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    “Our poll shows National is (highly) likely to have 56 to 58 MPs.”

    Not hard.

    Fair enough. And they could say "given the margin of error, at 4.9% in our poll, New Zealand First effectively has a 50-50 chance of getting back into Parliament".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Alastair Thompson,

    That would have to be one of the longest and most cogent expositions on the subject of politics that Paddy has ever had the privilege of being associated with.

    Bravo!

    Yes. My past experience with criticism of TV news journalists and editors is that they are the most precious little petals, but pretty much the first thing Patrick said was that they were good questions and he was happy to answer them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Robertson, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Hey Graeme

    I actually don't think you could do it that easily, because seats are distributed proportionally to parties over 5% or with electorate seats. For example if NZ First's range put them under OR over the 5% threshold, that would influence how all the other seats are distributed, so the ranges themselves would be variable. There are just so many assumptions and possibilities, that presenting a seat-range may open the story up to even more accusations of bias.

    Presenting a range for the party vote %s is probably simpler, then people can use the Electoral Commission website to work out what might happen if x party got this %, or lost one seat, etc, etc

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Robertson, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Sorry if that sounded like I was telling you to suck eggs! I know that you know exactly how MMP works!

    Mainly wanting to make the point that providing seat ranges would require many more assumptions than just 'all electorate seats are held' - the potential number of party seat scenarios must be almost endless.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Pete George,

    Who wants to put together a graph as an example?

    Worth a crack. Data source for one of these recent polls, anybody?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Russell Brown,

    but pretty much the first thing Patrick said was that they were good questions and he was happy to answer them.

    That's possibly where the likes of Campbell live could do some legwork to help themselves Patrick and the public have a better understanding."We, the public are not in Kindergarten anymore, Patrick. Facts is our friend."
    Thanks for the insight. RB to our rescue again. :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Robertson, in reply to Sacha,

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • BlairMacca,

    "Winston comes in at 4.9 and I instantly think, hey, he’s good for 5% on election day.

    “But you’ve got to stick with the information that you’re given. And you’ve got to stick with it from month to month and pretend that there is nothing else out there, for the sanctity of that information."

    However they also make the assumption that National does a deal with the Conservatives and they bring in 3 MP's. Which isn't based on anything concrete. I can understand if its an existing held seat, but there is currently no deal in public.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 208 posts Report Reply

  • JonathanM,

    I actually don’t think you could do it that easily, because seats are distributed proportionally to parties over 5% or with electorate seats.

    Correct, but I think you could present "which combinations of parties could form government" reasonably enough. A Monte Carlo simulation of the seat distribution from the poll results would get the distribution of potential seats, and from there look at combinations in each case**, given that there's not really all that much doubt about who could go with who, other than with Winston. So a few scenarios and their chances could be presented, rather than the single "if an election was held today, it would look like this".

    Basically it would be: There's a K% chance that National/Act/UF/Maori will be in, an L% chance that Labour/Greens/Mana will be in, and a M% chance that NZFirst will be in parliament available for coalition talks.

    ** I suspect you don't need to care much about electorate votes as they only really effect the minor parties, and currently they're all showing little chance of coat-tailing.

    Since Jul 2012 • 64 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Andrew Robertson,

    I'm not seeing any numbers. even the graphics aren't rendering properly in my browser

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George, in reply to Sacha,

    That page isn't great for me either. The basics are here:
    http://yournz.org/2014/03/30/polls-one-news-colmar-and-3-newsreid-research/

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Pete George,

    Thank you. Any links for those tables of intervals?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

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