A tale of three polls

August 18, 2014

Colin James’ poll of polls on Saturday:

A new Fairfax Media-Ipsos poll published on August 15 again had Labour at a basement rating – 22.5% – and National cruising at 55.1%. But the poll-of-polls scarcely budged because that poll replaced a July Fairfax poll with closely similar readings.

Still, Labour’s average, at 27.1%, while off its mid-July lows, remained dire, though the interviews for the poll straddled Labour’s campaign launch on August 10. Labour will worry whether other polls due in coming days replicate the Fairfax.

National’s average did not change from its 50.3% in last Saturday’s averages. . .

poll17.8

TV3’s poll had National down a wee bit and Labour up slightly:

Party vote:

National: 47.5 percent, down 1.9 percent
Labour: 29 percent, up 2.3 percent
Greens: 13 percent, up 0.6 percent
New Zealand First: 4.6 percent, up 0.3 percent
Conservatives: 2.5 percent, down 0.2 percent
Internet Mana: 2.0 percent, down 0.2 percent
Maori Party: 0.8 percent, down 0.3 percent
ACT: 0.3 percent, up 0.2 percent
United Future: 0.2 percent, no change

Seats in Parliament:

National: 61
ACT: 1
United Future: 1
Maori Party: 2
Right total: 65

Labour: 38
Green: 17
Mana: 3
Left total: 58

Preferred Prime Minister:

John Key: 44.1 percent, up 0.3 percent
David Cunliffe: 9.9 percent, up 0.4 percent
Winston Peters: 6.7 percent, up 1.4 percent

1000 people polled, margin of error 3.1 percent

The ONE News Colmar Brunton poll showed both National and Labour dropping a couple of points:

. . . It shows National still in the box seat, with 50%, but down 2 points. Labour is also down 2 points to 26%. The Greens have moved up 1% to 11%, while New Zealand First has moved up 1% to hit the magical 5% mark.

But the big mover is the Internet Mana party which has doubled in support to 4%. The Conservatives are steady on 2%, while the Maori Party, and Act remain on 1%.

At 4%, and assuming Hone Harawira hold his seat, Internet Mana could bring in five MPs, including John Minto and Annette Sykes. . .

These aren’t big changes for the major parties and IMP’s rise could help National by scaring those wavering in the centre its way.

However, the message in both these polls is that in spite of the continued popularity of National and its leader, Prime Minister John Key who has almost five times the support of Labour’s David Cunliffe, the election outcome is far from certain.

If there’s a silver lining to the sideshow of the last few days and a softening of support in the polls it is that it is helping National get its message home to supporters that there is no room for complacency.

People who want a National-led government and/or don’t want the alternative of a weak Labour Party propped up the the Green, NZ First and Internet Mana Party must vote and vote for National.


It’s only one poll

June 6, 2014

The latest Roy Morgan poll continues the positive trend for National:

. . . Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a strong gain in support for National (52.5%, up 7%) now at their highest since before the last New Zealand Election and well ahead of a potential Labour/Greens alliance (38%, down 6%) – almost matching their performance at the 2011 New Zealand Election at which the two parties polled a combined 38.5%.

Support for Key’s Coalition partners has also improved with the Maori Party 1.5% (up 0.5%), ACT NZ (1%, up 0.5%) and United Future 0% (unchanged).

Support has fallen significantly for all Opposition parties with the Labour Party down 1.5% to 29%, the Greens down 4.5% to 9% (the lowest support for the Greens since September 2011), New Zealand First 4.5% (down 1.5%) and Mana Party 0.5% (down 0.5%). Support for the Conservative Party of NZ is 1% (unchanged) and the Internet Party is 0.5% (unchanged).

If a National Election were held now the latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows that the result would be a landslide victory for the National Party and a third term for Prime Minister John Key. . .

But wait, there’s more good news:

The latest NZ Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating has also improved considerably – up 8.5pts to 140.5pts with 64.5% (up 4.5%) of New Zealanders saying New Zealand is ‘heading in the right direction’ compared to 24% (down 4%) that say New Zealand is ‘heading in the wrong direction’.

Gary Morgan says:

“Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a strong positive response to the predicted Budget Surplus of $372 million handed down by Finance Minister Bill English with National surging to 52.5% (up 7%) – it’s highest since the last New Zealand Election. National has surged to a huge lead over a potential Labour/ Greens alliance (38%, down 6%).

“The closer the election, it appears the less support there is for the main opposition parties with support for Labour (29%, down 1.5%) now stuck below the level that prompted the resignation of previous leader David Shearer for most of 2014. The initial surge provided by David Cunliffe has well and truly worn off. In addition the Greens (9%, down 4.5%) have slumped to their lowest level of support since before the last New Zealand election after announcing last weekend a proposal to introduce a Carbon Tax in New Zealand in place of the current Emissions Trading Scheme.

“Last week’s merger announcement of the Internet Party (0.5%) and Mana Party (0.5%) to contest this year’s election offers both parties a better chance of attaining the 5% threshold required to elect a slate of Party List MPs. However, the combined support for the two parties has never exceeded 2%, and it would appear unlikely the merged party can bridge this gap in the next few months.” . . .

Polls can be too good, of course.

This level of support for National could make supporters complacent.

Some might think they can afford to vote for another party, others might not bother to vote at all.

However, while it continues the positive trend for National of other recent polls, it is only one poll and the one which is usually regarded as the least reliable.

But is it?

Thomas Lumley at Stats Chat, says it’s not:

. . . In fact, there’s not much difference between the major polling companies in the variability of their estimates. . .

There really is not much to see here. So why do people feel that Roy Morgan comes out with strange results more often? Probably because Roy Morgan comes out with results more often.

For example, the proportion of poll-to-poll changes over 3 percentage points is 0.22 for One News/Colmar Brunton, 0.18 for Roy Morgan, and 0.23 for 3 News/Reid Research, all about the same, but the number of changes over 3 percentage points in this time frame is 5 for One News/Colmar Brunton, 14 for Roy Morgan, and 5 for 3 News/Reid Research. . .

What that shows is voter preference is volatile and that more frequent polls reflect that volatility.

That’s why it doesn’t pay to get too excited about a single poll, or even several with the same trend.

The volatility of support merely reinforces the oft repeated phrase, there’s only one poll that counts.

 

 


Blue up green down

February 24, 2014

Last night’s One News Colmar Brunton Poll appeared to show National gaining at the Green Party’s expense.

The blue vote went up 6 points and the Green one fell 5 while Labour stayed the same.

But rather than swapping from green to blue it’s more likely that green went red and pink went blue.

Green voters liked Labour’s lurch to the left so moved to the red party but a similar number of voters towards the centre didn’t like the lurch left and moved centre right over to National.

That is the conundrum Labour faces – policies which bolster its support from the left lose it support from the centre.

The poll follows the trend showing steady support for National and little or no progress for the left. The PM is still popular and Labour leader David Cunliffe is not.

There is however, no room for complacency:

Meanwhile National’s election year pitch of boosting teacher performance is proving popular.

But the Prime Minister says his party won’t rest on its laurels, or on the tailwind of a booming economy.

“It’s a good poll but we need to be cautious,” John Key says. “There will be a lot of polls before the election they will bounce around a lot.” . .

 Corin Dann says it’s a wake up call for the left:

The six-point surge in the ONE News Colmar Brunton poll to 51% may well reflect a strong economy and the feel good factor of summer.

However, it also must be acknowledged that Prime Minister John Key has made a strong start to the year.

His popular education policy sending a clear signal to voters that National is capable of fresh ideas and is not a tired government.

Labour leader David Cunliffe meanwhile had his policy launch of a baby bonus derailed by a gaffe and has seemed to struggle for confidence and exposure since. . .

As for the Greens’ big fall in the poll, that is harder to explain. It may be that Russel Norman’s liaisons with Kim Dot Com have hurt the party, or it could also be a reflection of National’s efforts to discredit the party as extremist.

It could also be that more exposure for the Greens is showing up flaws in its policies and that its supporters don’t accept the compromises that would be necessary if it was in government.

poll


Margin of error changes

October 29, 2013

People on the left hoping Labour’s rise in recent polls was pointing to certain success in next year’s election will have been disappointed by the results of two polls released yesterday:

The Fairfax Media poll, showed Labour and National were both up a couple of points.

. . . Labour is up two percentage points to 33.6 per cent since the last Fairfax poll, completed in August before the leadership spill that saw Cunliffe replace David Shearer.

But National is also up two points and holds a huge 17 point lead over Labour, winning the backing of more than 50 per cent of committed voters. . . .

Most of Labour’s support appears to have come at the expense of the Green Party which does nothing for the left block.

The One News Colmar Brunton poll showed a gap of only 11 between National and Labour:

Support for Labour and its new leader has stalled in the latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll, with neither the party or David Cunliffe making any gains over the last few weeks. . .

But when it comes to preferred Prime Minister John Key still appears to have the golden touch, up one to 43%, while Mr Cunliffe hasn’t built on his strong start and is unchanged at 12. Winston Peters is steady on 4%.

In the Fairfax poll National had enough support to govern alone but that is very unlikely to be reflected by actual support in next year’s election.

Under MMP support for minor parties will determine which party governs.

In the second poll the right and left can both get to 60 but that’s not enough:

National has 58 seats and with one each from Act and United Future the centre right can muster 60.

But Labour’s 43 seats plus the Greens 16 and Mana’s 1 also gives the centre left 60.

The Maori Party with its three seats and New Zealand First could be the kingmakers.

This assumes NZ First doesn’t get over the 5% threshold and that Act and United Future both win a seat.

Before anyone gets too excited about the results, it’s only a couple of polls and the changes are in margin of error territory.

At best it shows that changing leaders hasn’t made much difference to Labour and if Cunliffe had a new leader’s honeymoon it’s over.

But we’ve more than a year until the next election.

Winning a third term was always going to be hard but not impossible for National and that hasn’t changed.


Too little support for Little?

July 3, 2011

Understatement of the week from Trans Tasman:

It would be a serious blow to Little’s ambitions if he had to rely on a list placing to get him into Parliament.

It’s referring to a poll in which Jonathan Young gained 41% and Labour’s recently ex-president gained only 25%.

However, David Farrar sees some light for Little:

His 25.3 per cent on the electorate vote is more rosy if you accept Labour’s party vote figure of 16.5 per cent. That is saying that for every 10 Labour party voter, Little is picking up 15 votes. And by contrast Jonathan Young is picking up nine votes for every 10 National Party voters.

Now if the party vote turned out to be the same as in 2008, then applying the above ratios would have Young on 46 per cent and Little on 48 per cent.

This is not to say that this poll shows Little ahead of Young. It does not. But it does show that he is attracting more electorate votes than his party, and that if Labour lifts its party vote, then the seat would be closer than this poll suggests at first glance.

Little has a reasonably safe place on the Labour list but that would be seen as a second best option.

All MPs are supposed to be equal but in the eyes of many electorate MPs are more equal than those who enter parliament on the party list.


And the winners are:

October 27, 2009

Drum roll please, the winner of the Homepaddock poll for best broadcaster is Jim Mora and the best programme title goes to Afternoons.

Jim got 39% of the votes after sitting at more than 50% until yesterday when a surge in votes took Peter Sledmere to 23%.

Mary Wilson attracted 13% support, Brian Crump and Kathryn Ryan got 10% and Clarissa Dunn 6%. There was a lone vote for Sean Plunket in the comments but his nomination came too late for the poll.

Afternoons won 33% support, Media Watch was second with 28%, Country Life attracted 22% of the vote and Check Point got 17%.

If this had been scientific I’d have to tell you how many people voted. Since it’s not, suffice it to say the results reflect high quality opinons rather than a large quantity of voters. 🙂

Jim and the staff at Afternoons will, as promised, receive a box of Whitestone Cheese, which will be delivered some time in the next couple of weeks.


False names & fake company polls with public money

October 25, 2009

Polling is a common practice for political parties and MPs are able to poll using public money.

But why hide behind false names and a fake company?

The Labour leadership is embroiled in a murky polling operation run by a senior MP who has instructed volunteers to deliberately deceive people about their identities and the reason for their calls.

The polls were being run from Parliamentary offices by former Cabinet minister Rick Barker, who has admitted instructing staff to use false names and claim they were calling from a company that no longer exists.

I don’t know if this could be considered false pretences but it’s definitely not a good look.

In case you’re wondering why the party was using public funds for what is obviously political ends, Labour is deeply in debt so doesn’t have party funds to use for polling.


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