Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Meanwhile back at the polls

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  • Pete George,

    ...but it probably is true that a large-ish group of non-tribal voters sees a multi-party centre-left coalition possibly relying on New Zealand First and Kim Dotcom as less secure than what they currently have with National. They don’t even have to greatly like National to feel that way.

    I think that sums up common sentiment at the moment.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Robertson,

    ...there’s nothing in particular wrong with the company’s methodology.

    I agree this is probably correct, but it would be nice if they did actually give a few details about their methodology somewhere.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George,

    ...despite Cunliffe unquestionably looking more confident, competent and potentially Prime Ministerial than Shearer ever did.

    But the Shearer standard is not very hard to beat.

    Cunliffe's confidence seems to vary quite a bit and has been noticeably knocked at times.

    Competence (or lack thereof) is one of Labour's biggest hurdles.Cunliffe looks like he struggles to competently lead his own caucus let alone a coalition of parties, most of which seem to have more determination than Labour.

    Shearer looked far from Prime Ministerial. While there are hints that Cunliffe could step up he quote clearly hasn't yet, in fact his and Labour's strategies seem to be diametrically opposed to appearing as Prime Minister material.

    And they keep repeating the same mistakes.

    If Cunliffe really was confident he would be himself. That's not how he appears, I think many people are still scratching their heads about what he stands for and what he would be like as our top politician. I've seen glimpses of potential but I've been mostly very disappointed in Cunliffe so far. And I'm a potential voter for a change in government, when I think the time has come.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    It’s possible that this is an outlier poll

    Yep.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Robertson,

    I've tried to compare the methods used by different polling companies, using info I can find in the public domain. As you can see, there are a few gaps here and there.

    Public poll methods grid

    (Although I've mentioned this here before, it's probably important to state for the purpose of transparency that I work at Colmar Brunton - but I'm not posting on behalf of the company).

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Andrew Robertson,

    As you can see, there are a few gaps here and there.

    Indeed!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I don’t think the spluttering was really that coherent, but it probably is true that a large-ish group of non-tribal voters sees a multi-party centre-left coalition possibly relying on New Zealand First and Kim Dotcom as less secure than what they currently have with National.

    This is something I have been saying for quite some time, based on my own prejudices, conversations, and understanding of the polls. For every person who likes NZF, there are 5 who dislike it. That in itself is not a problem for NZF, because those who dislike them don’t vote for them, and are thus inconsequential. But the problem Labour has is that among those who dislike NZF, there are plenty who are confirmed or potential Labour voters. The ratio is almost certainly worse for IMP, currently polling around 1%. The path to 61 isn’t a pretty one.

    Labour’s other problem is that the Greens also come with a bunch of both negatives and positives, and that these negatives are a risk, but that the perception of being unable to form a government or a government worth voting for is a huge risk. They have chosen not to take one possible way of reducing that risk, in the form of an entente cordiale with the Greens. They have also chosen not to associate with the positives that the Greens bring to Labour, something backed by hard polling data: 93% of those voting Labour at the last election chose the Greens as their prefered partner. On current performance the figure is likely to be similar, if not even better.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    As a point of anecdata, I had a conversation with an in-law who used to vote Labour but wouldn't this time because he thought The Greens would then get to control the country.

    It isn't the first time I have heard that. It's an interesting and frustrating situation for both The Greens and Labour. What's weird is people don't seem to apply the same fear and distrust to the influence of The Maori Party and ACT over National.

    I think there is something strange going on out there particularly in the older (voting) public. It seems that there is very little acceptance that The Greens have shed their more extreme views and are now a much more serious party and hence more reasonable.

    I don't think Labour distancing themselves from The Greens will solve the problem, I suspect that what needs to happen is for both the parties to establish what the coalition will look like and just how much influence each party will have on overall policy. But I doubt anyone is keen to do that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Henry Barnard, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    But getting back to the poll, isn't it the case the `shocker' is the drop in the Greens number? From 13.5 to 9? The Labour number, at 29, is not much different from where it has been hovering, around 30, all this year. An outlier? Quite likely, in my view. It is hard to think of anything that has happened in those weeks to lead one to think that 30% of those who would have voted Green wouldn't do so now.

    Palmerston North • Since Aug 2013 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    As a point of anecdata, I had a conversation with an in-law who used to vote Labour but wouldn’t this time because he thought The Greens would then get to control the country.

    Quite so. There are likely to be many, and private polling by Labour (they wouldn't have money to do a lot of it, but I'm sure it's been done) will let them know roughly how many there are.

    However, I suspect it's no better or worse than in late 1999. The problem is that this is not a 'change' election, it's a 'better' election. Change compels an entirely different set of responses.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to Henry Barnard,

    Polls bounce. The last poll may have been up a lot – 13.5% is well into the upper range of current Green polling – and thus the actual drop may be less. In the order of 20 or so voters saying that they would vote for someone else on the telephone. Real, but not sufficiently concerning until it is replicated in one or two more polls.

    I’m becoming more and more convinced that there is serious landline bias, but I don’t believe it’s the saviour of anyone. It isn’t large enough to magically form a new government, and its effect on pundits is to encourage them to keep on with their current set of stories about politics. Mike Smith has started outlining his thoughts on this problem at the Standard (don’t read the comments), and I’ll be interested to see what he has to say.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I don’t think the spluttering was really that coherent, but it probably is true that a large-ish group of non-tribal voters sees a multi-party centre-left coalition possibly relying on New Zealand First and Kim Dotcom as less secure than what they currently have with National.

    Quite possibly - and I know this doesn't go down well with the arch-"pragmatists" of Labour and National, but I don't think I'm the only person out there who thinks the price of power is too high if Winston Peters is running up the tab.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Alec Morgan,

    Some truth but not stonkingly major truth is my attitude to polls given the disparity between the actual 2011 election results and main polls prior predictions. Last week at TradeMe message board, a rather tawdry National friendly place, a regular poster had the exact headline results of the Roy Morgan two days in advance.
    http://www.trademe.co.nz/Community/MessageBoard/Messages.aspx?id=1434742&topic=7
    Other tory supporters even questioned the lack of a link. An obvious leak by someone.

    This election is winnable imo for those to the left of the right of the Labour Party (the remaining ’nomes) only with an outbreak of public unity between Greens and the bulk of Labour. NZ1 and IMP will certainly be needed one way or another but there is a bit to happen yet in that area.

    Banksie did not have a case to answer, would never go to court, Dotcom would not be a reliable witness, Banksie would not be found guilty, Banksie should not have to and would not resign… John Key will not be affected, National are riding high, Dotcom has nothing on Key… an extrapolation too far?

    Tokerau Beach • Since Nov 2006 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Green,

    And, significantly, the swing is reflected in the regular Government Confidence Rating

    I need to edgeler this bit. If your outlier poll has sampled too many National voters, then you'll get increases in party vote, preferred PM, and govt confidence. When they all move together, that's what we expect — it's not evidence that the swings are real.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2011 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Purely for informational purposes, here's Mike Williams'... um, interesting musings on that Missing Million we're probably going to hear a lot more about.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to Peter Green,

    When they all move together, that’s what we expect — it’s not evidence that the swings are real.

    I just looked at the last 4 movements in GCR, and compared them to voting intention in favour of parties in the current Government.

    +8.5 (GCR), +8 (Gvt.)
    +3.5 (GCR), +2.5 (Gvt.)
    -7.5 (GCR), -5.5 (Gvt.)
    +10 (GCR), +4.5 (Gvt.)

    You’d expect a low degree of independence. Obviously, it’s very difficult to pry apart the direction here, even if the swings are real. As always, it's the trend that counts.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Henry Barnard, in reply to Alec Morgan,

    a regular poster had the exact headline results of the Roy Morgan two days in advance.

    One can get ahead of the media on this by using `follow that page'. I saw them on Thursday last week.

    Palmerston North • Since Aug 2013 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Robertson, in reply to George Darroch,

    I’m becoming more and more convinced that there is serious landline bias, but I don’t believe it’s the saviour of anyone.

    Hi George

    You know, since the dawn of population survey research the samples have been flawed. This hasn't just come about in recent times because of increasing land line non-coverage. Land line non-coverage is just one of many potential sources of error, and in my view it's not the most important one.

    The job of a good pollster isn't to collect a perfectly representative sample. That's simply impossible. Their job is to try to understand all the reasons why that's impossible, and how those reasons influence the specific thing they are trying to measure.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to Andrew Robertson,

    You know, since the dawn of population survey research the samples have been flawed. This hasn’t just come about in recent times because of increasing land line non-coverage. Land line non-coverage is just one of many potential sources of error, and in my view it’s not the most important one.

    This is a discussion that's been had here before, and I'm aware of a range of biases. I've sat behind the phones in downtown Wellington for several months. So I'm aware of sampling, and some of the methods used. I'm also familiar with some of the techniques used to statistically correct for a sample population.

    The biggest problem we all have is: how do we know that the 18 year old male we are talking to on the phone is like other 18 year old males in New Zealand. We don't. And that's okay, there will always be a degree of uncertainty. I'm comfortable with that. My measure is in voters, not opinion polls. In voters I trust, all others must bring data.

    The problem is that polls are the primary way that political performance is measured and this degree of difference (consistently around 5% points at the last election) is large enough to influence outcomes.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George, in reply to Alec Morgan,

    It wasn't two days in advance. It was initially posted at Trade Me at 3:04 pm Wednesday 4 June. That evening I searched Roy Morgan (in various ways) with no sign of any published results.

    I found published results the following afternoon, as did someone who posted the link on Trade Me at 2:12 pm.

    A day early is still interesting.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Robertson, in reply to George Darroch,

    ...this degree of difference (consistently around 5% points at the last election)

    Perhaps the standard for how precise polls should be is set too high. I'm not sure about what poll you are talking about, but I was fairly impressed by how well some of them did at the last election.

    A poll is designed to measure public sentiment at the time fieldwork is carried out. It can't predict the future - it can't adjust for the weather on the day or other factors that may influence the Election Day result.

    The majority of fieldwork for all the polls was carried out at least five days before the last election. Given that, and given there were media reports of the PM saying NZ First voters are going to die out, some of the differences between the polls and the election result made sense to me.

    ...how do we know that the 18 year old male we are talking to on the phone is like other 18 year old males in New Zealand.

    You don't - this is the whole point behind probability sampling.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Allan, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I think there is something strange going on out there particularly in the older (voting) public. It seems that there is very little acceptance that The Greens have shed their more extreme views and are now a much more serious party and hence more reasonable.

    Listening to ever-popular NewstalkZB, particularly Leighton and Larry, I'm not surprised. The scaremongering about the craaazy dangerous Greens is relentless; listeners hear it as an immovable fact.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2010 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George, in reply to George Darroch,

    Mike Smith has now posted his follow-up. He begins:

    David Cunliffe badly needs a new stump speech. On Thursday in Whanganui I heard him depress a large and sympathetic audience for ten minutes with tales of national woe, then promise a positive campaign but give no details.

    And later:

    Too much of Labour’s communication has been relentlessly negative, coming from what appears to be a pervasive view that “the purpose of opposition is opposition.” That’s fine if your purpose is to stay in opposition; my view is that the purpose of opposition is to get into government as soon as possible. To do that people have to know what is on offer, have a sense of hope and purpose, and that can’t be done with a negative approach.

    Finally if Labour is going to run a positive campaign, the its media unit needs to get with the programme. We’ve been getting their feed for several years, and endless series of negative or critical straplines is very off-putting. They also all follow a similar pattern; gripe followed (sometimes) by alternative. I suspect many of them by now don’t even get opened.

    An emphasis on negatives is a problem for sure.
    Messy policy announcements with on the hoof 'clarifications' are a problem.

    Deferring any indication of how a Labour led government might lookm and might be able to work together until "the voters have shown what they want" is nonsensical. Voters want some sort of reassurance before they vote but instead they keep getting fobbed off. If that continues then Labour will be fobbed off, with a risk of their support collapsing.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Allan, in reply to Ian Allan,

    I've have to keep reminding my folks that the climate change denial from Leighton Smith is downright irresponsible. I sometimes wonder if he's breaching broadcasting standards: "Talkback radio will not usually be subject to the accuracy standard, except where the presenter makes an unqualified statement of fact."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2010 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    My opinion is that it is an outlier poll, we will know in another 2 weeks- I thought it looked to much like the random sample happened to hit a lot of National voters and few Green voters- I just didn't see the Greens doing anything in those two weeks that would have caused them to lose one third of their support base.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

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