Moment of strewth sinks IMP?

September 19, 2014

Kim Dotcom’s moment of truth turned into a moment of strewth, is that all there is?

Rather than sinking Prime Minister and the National Party as he had hoped, the Herald DigiPoll showed it did the opposite:

The Kim Dotcom-inspired event in Auckland’s Town Hall that was supposed to end John Key’s career gave the National Party an immediate bounce in support this week, according to polling for the last Herald DigiPoll survey.

With 60 per cent of the poll done by Monday night, when the event happened, National was polling at 47.8 per cent, down on last week, said DigiPoll general manager Nandan Modak. From Tuesday it jumped to 49.1 per cent.

A similar trend was seen in the preferred Prime Minister polling. Before Monday, Mr Key was polling at 63.4 per cent. From Tuesday it jumped to 66.4 per cent.

Mr Key who has led a minority National Government for six years is seeking a third term in tomorrow’s election against a Labour Party that has been led for only a year by David Cunliffe.

Mr Key told the Herald last night the results on Saturday “may well prove that a campaign led by Kim Dotcom based mostly on revenge will serve to only reduce the likelihood of a change of Government”.

While the moment of strewth helped National, it harmed Dotcom’s puppet party and might even be enough to sink it:

Today’s poll also has the internet-Mana strategic alliance funded by Mr Dotcom sinking. It would get no extra MPs into Parliament on the coat-tails of Mana leader Hone Harawira keeping his Te Tai Tokerau seat – and even that is looking shaky.

Mr Dotcom has spent $4 million on setting up the party and funding the campaign.

The poll has the Conservatives on 3.3 per cent, and would not be in Parliament. It has yet to register over the 5 per cent threshold on any major political poll this election.

Today’s poll has National on 48.2 per cent, down a little from last week when the seven-day polling is totalled.. .

This is only one poll and it shows the race is still tight.

The Stuff/Ipsos shows an even tighter race:

Today’s Stuff.co.nz/Ipsos poll is almost a photo finish of the 2011 election result, which delivered a National government with a slender majority despite John Key’s near record popularity.

Click here to see full results

On today’s numbers, National is as popular as ever and would be back in business at the Beehive on Monday with a government that looks almost exactly like the last one.

But a turbulent few weeks on the campaign trail have made the result less certain and the electorate more volatile. The poll registers a big swing against National which, if carried through to tomorrow, could make the race much tighter.

So too could any stumble by John Key’s allies in the Maori seats or Ohariu, which would see the Maori Party and Peter Dunne out of Parliament.

The bad news for Labour is that the swing has mostly benefited NZ First and Colin Craig’s Conservatives, who have been jockeying for position in the Centre.

National blames that on strategic voting by its supporters wanting to get Conservatives over the line to give National coalition options. But NZ First may be just as likely picking up disaffected Labour voters. . .

This poll shows National on 47.7%; Labour on 26.1%; the Green Party on 12%; New Zealand First on 6.6%; Conservative party on 4.5% and Internet Mana on just .9%.

If this level of support carries through to the election we could still have a strong, stable National-led government.

But even a small swing away from National could leave us saddled with a weak Labour-led government cobbled together with the support of the Green and New Zealand First parties and whoever manages to get across the line with Internet Mana.

National has never taken the election result for granted and these polls will ensure that candidates and volunteers the length and breadth of the country will be continuing to work hard to ensure that when the polls close tomorrow they’ve done all they can to convince enough voters of the importance of keeping the government that’s working for New Zealand.

Whether that’s enough, won’t be known until the counting’s done.


Decision still maybe

August 28, 2014

This afternoon’s Herald Digipoll has a different story from last night’s TV3 one:

New Zealand First, the Conservatives and Internet Mana are on the move up and Labour is still slipping, in the latest Herald DigiPoll survey.

That will be unwelcome news to Labour leader David Cunliffe as he prepares for his first face-off against Prime Minister John Key in the election campaign, at 7pm on One.

National is up fractionally and could still govern alone with 64 seats. Mr Key’s personal popularity is up 3 points to 67.8 per cent. . .

New Zealand First has broken the 5 per cent threshold and leader Winston Peters has leapt up the preferred Prime Minister stakes by 3.1 points to within striking distance of Mr Cunliffe, down 2.8 to 11.6 per cent.

Colin Craig’s Conservatives have risen 0.7 to 3.3 per cent and would not have MPs in Parliament at that level. . .

But the big mover in the DigiPoll survey is Internet Mana which is up by 1.3 to 3.4 per cent.

That would bring Laila Harre, Annette Sykes and John Minto into Parliament, assuming that leader Hone Harawira keeps his Te Tai Tokerau seat.

The Greens have fallen 2.3 point to 11.4 per cent although their support commonly fluctuates.

Labour appears to be on a steady decline from 30.5 per cent in June, 26.5 in July, 25.2 last week and to 24.1 in today’s poll.

If Labour mustered the support of New Zealand First, the Greens and Internet Mana, combined they would have 55 seats. . .

The full party vote results

(compared with last week)

National 50.7 (up 0.7)

Labour 24.1 (down 1.1)

Greens 11.4 (down 2.3)

NZ First 5 (up 0.7)

Maori Party 1 (up 0.3)

Internet Mana 3.4 (up 1.3)

Conservatives 3.3 (up 0.7)

Act 0.3 (down 0.3)

United Future 0.2 (down 0.2)

PREFERRED PRIME MINISTER

(compared with last week)

John Key 67.8 (up 3)

David Cunliffe 11.6 (down 2.8)

Winston Peters 8.2 (up 3.1)

Russel Norman 3.8 (up 0.3)

Both polls show the rise in support for NZ First, Conservatives and Internet Mana and continuing decline for Labour.

That combined with Cunliffe’s fall in popularity will put even more pressure on him in tonight’s leaders’ debate.

The difference in the polls indicates that for many people, the decision on who they’ll be voting for is still maybe.

 


Poll of polls

August 23, 2014

Colin James’ poll of poll :

The first poll taken after the Nicky Hager book launch, by DigiPoll for the New Zealand Herald from August 14 to 20, did not dent National’s polling average, which was 50.8% in the four polls up to mid-August. DigiPoll recorded a drop from its last poll in mid-July but gave a higher figure than the TV3 poll which dropped out of the latest four-poll average.

(Explainer: The POLL of POLLS is an arithmetical average of the four most recent major polls since mid-June ,from among the following: Fairfax Media-TV1 Colmar Brunton, TV3 Reid Research, Ipsos, NZ Herald DigiPoll, Roy Morgan New Zealand (up to June only one of its two-a-month was included) and UMR Research, which is not published.*)

DigiPoll’s 25.2% reading for Labour dragged Labour’s average down to 25.3%. That average included the Ipsos poll for Fairfax Media, which gave National much more and Labour much less than other recent polls. . . .

The Greens’ average is steady at 11.9%, within a range it has held since the last election. . .

New Zealand First has got close to the 5% hurdle, with a 4.9% average to mid-August, boosted by a high 6.5% in the Roy Morgan poll. Internet-Mana was 2.7%, the Conservatives 2.4%, the Maori party 0.9%, ACT 0.5% and United Future 0.3%. . .

There was a slight lift in the latest Roy Morgan reading (from August 4-17) of whether the country is heading in the right direction. This slight lift is more confirmation that the mood is topping out but it remains very positive. . .

The level of confidence the country is heading in the right direction is important and backs up National’s assertion that it and its policies are working for New Zealand.


Better’s better than more

July 23, 2014

National’s policy of improving teaching quality has more support than Labour’s plan to increase the number of teachers.

New Zealanders would rather money was spent on improving teaching standards than on reducing class sizes, a Herald-DigiPoll survey reveals.

Education has become a political battleground before September’s election, with both major parties promising to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on it.

Asked about their priorities, more than 60 per cent of those polled said they would spend money on trying to improve teaching standards rather than cutting class sizes.

Labour has included reducing class sizes in its election policies.

Another of its policies, a promise to pay schools which do not ask parents for donations, gained support in the poll.

National has pledged $359 million for a scheme that would pay the best teachers and principals more.

Labour countered by promising to use that money to instead hire 2000 more teachers and reduce class sizes.

Asked about those policies, 61 per cent of those polled said the money was better spent on trying to improve teaching standards.

Thirty-five per cent thought it should be used to cut class sizes. . .

Education Minister Hekia Parata said the survey showed parents recognised the worth in the initiative.

“Parents have great knowledge about what makes a difference for their kids’ learning, and it is about the quality of learning that happens in their child’s classroom.”

If there was enough money for both better teachers and smaller classes that would be ideal.

But while we have to make a choice, it’s better to have better teachers than more.

National’s policy was designed to get the best educational outcome. Labour’s was written by the unions who put themselves and teachers ahead of education.

Labour’s policy would make a very small difference in class size, National’s would make a significant difference to the quality of teaching and that will make the most positive difference to pupils.


It’s still the trend that matters

July 20, 2014

Labour has lost four points in the latest Herald DigiPoll, slumping to 26.5%,  its worst level of support in 15 years.

 . . . On this poll of decided voters National would be able to govern alone comfortably and gain another 10 MPs.

National has jumped 4.5 points to 54.9 per cent. A Stuff/Ipsos poll earlier this week also put support for National at 54.8 per cent.

Prime Minister John Key is more popular than he has ever been, scoring preferred prime minister on 73.3 per cent, compared with Cunliffe on 10.5 per cent and New Zealand First’s Winston Peters on 5.5 per cent.

The second-most-preferred PM out of Labour MPs is David Shearer, with 2.2 per cent, followed by Jacinda Ardern on 1.4 per cent. . .

Labour’s total support is down from 30.5 per cent in June, but it is disproportionately down among male voters, with only 23.9 per cent of men backing Labour, compared with 29.1 per cent of women.

Political commentator Chris Trotter said the poll indicated Labour was “more or less bereft of hope”.

“Labour is in an extremely parlous position, and the situation is deteriorating.” 

And the news gets worse for the left:

Contrary to other polls, the DigiPoll had the Green Party losing popularity, which was also bad news for Labour and the left’s prospects. . .

A single poll could be a rogue one but a trend has to be taken more seriously and the left will even though this support reflects the views of those who have decided:

. . . Undecided voters were 11.5 per cent. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 per cent. . . .

It’s still the trend that counts and the trend is very good for National but it’s still a couple of months to the election and the result of that, trend not withstanding, is still not certain.

The left might be panicking but there is absolutely no room for complacency on the centre-right.

However, there is


Left and Right agree

June 18, 2014

Danyl Mclauchlan and Bob Jones both have a way with words.

Although they’re from opposite ends of the political spectrum they have come to a similar conclusion:

Mclauchlan opines at Dim Post:

. . . Labour are trending down, just like last time – but now their votes are (mostly) going to National, not the Greens. Which makes sense to me: we have no idea what National plans to do in its third term, but that lack of vision is still preferable to being governed by a collection of left-wing parties who all hate each other but want to run the country together. . .

And Jones at the Herald:

. . . If anything, his efforts will hugely harm the Opposition cause in Balkanising and confusing its message, thus presenting an electoral option with, on one side, a rabble of dissimilar, mutually antagonistic parties, all with unpopular leaders and wildly different messages, set against a stable governing party with the most popular leader in our history. . .

Yesterday’s Herald-DigiPoll, on which Mclauchlan was commenting shows National well above the combined left bloc which is swapping votes among parties at that end of the spectrum but not getting any closer to a majority.

However, the poll gives no comfort to National.

. . . And yet nobody in the National Party appears to believe they can win a clear majority of the vote on September 20. Though Labour and the Greens together have amassed not much more than 40 per cent in our latest poll, and New Zealand First are well below the 5 per cent threshold for contention, interest still centres on National’s need of viable partners. . . .

Gaining 50% or more of the votes under First Past the Post was rare, it’s never been done under MMP.

National is a victim of its own success, it’s strength has weakened potential coalition partners.

But while commentators worry about potential partners, the task for the party is to  maximise its own vote and ensure supporters aren’t complacent about the risk the left poses.

McLauchlan is wrong about National not having a vision, but right that the alternative is being governed by a collection of left-wing parties who all hate each other but want to run the country together. . .

And Jones clearly articulates the contrast between  a rabble of dissimilar, mutually antagonistic parties, all with unpopular leaders and wildly different messages, set against a stable governing party with the most popular leader in our history.

There’s a clear choice but the big difference between National and the left bloc which shows in successive polls is very unlikely to be maintained on polling day.


Political story of the day

June 17, 2014

The round-up of political stories while Politics Daily is taking a break seemed  like a good idea but it was taking too much time.

Instead, I’ll feature a political story of the day and welcome you to add others.

My pick won’t necessarily be the most important one, it can, as today’s does, raise a point no-one else does.

The story on this morning’s Herald-DigiPoll survey said Internet Mana would have two seats.

Over at Stats Chat Thomas Lumley reminds us of the margins of error:

. . . That’s probably 9 respondents. A 95% interval around the support for Internet–Mana goes from 0.6% to 2.4%, so we can’t really tell much about the expected number of seats. . .

 

A small change in a small number can appear to be far more significant than it is.


No change good, change bad

March 19, 2014

Share market investors put their money on yesterday’s poll results:

The NZX 50 Index rose to a new record, following a global rally, paced by power companies after recent political polls put the government ahead, helping dispel fears the opposition parties will be able to overhaul the electricity sector. MightyRiverPower, Meridian Energy and Contact Energy rose.

The benchmark index rose 47.638 points, or 0.9 percent, to 5135.664. Within the index, 27 stocks rose, 12 fell and 11 were unchanged. Turnover was $167 million.

Better than expected US industrial production figures kicked off a global rally in equity markets which carried on into Asia. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.5 percent in afternoon trading, Japan’s Nikkei 225 index advanced 1.4 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX was up 0.5 percent.

Power companies paced today’s gains after a New Zealand Herald’s DigiPoll survey put the governing National Party at 50.8 percent support ahead of the September election. Labour, the main opposition party, garnered 29.5 percent. A key election policy of the opposition parties is to regulate the electricity market, creating a single state-owned wholesale electricity buyer. . .

“The electricity sector is up, and I’m going to put it down to the Herald DigiPoll results which were published, because they’re up across the board,” said Greg Easton, investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. “If there is no change in government, then that sector could really outperform after the election.” . . .

If no change in government good the obvious implication is that a change of government would be bad – and not just for energy companies and the stock market.


She got there on merit

January 10, 2014

The majority of people surveyed by Herald-DigiPoll  are opposed to Labour’s policy to have a female quote for its caucus.

The survey asked respondents whether they believed Labour’s target of achieving 50 per cent by 2017 was a good idea, or too restrictive.

Overall, 54 per cent said it was too restrictive, while just 38 per cent believed it was a good idea. Among the women respondents, 52 per cent said it was too restrictive while 42 per cent believed it was a good idea.

About 57 per cent of men did not like it, compared with 33 per cent who said it was a good idea.

Graeme Edgler tweeted that’s more people supporting the policy than the party.

A spokeswoman for Labour leader David Cunliffe said it was a matter for the party. Party president Moira Coatsworth and secretary Tim Barnett were overseas and could not be contacted.

Ms Coatsworth has previously said the target of 45 per cent of women in 2014, and 50 per cent in 2017 would be achieved by structuring the party list so the goal was reached if there were enough women candidates in safe seats. . .

Electoral law requires parties use democratic processes to rank their lists, does rigging it to get a gender quota count as democratic?

. . . Former Labour candidate and party member Josie Pagani said she was not surprised at the poll result because it was not an issue that affected most people’s lives. She believed the targets had drawn attention from other, more universal gender equity issues such as equal pay which Labour had strong policies on.

“The Labour Party doesn’t have a problem particularly with female representation in its caucus. It just put the focus on something that people aren’t sure is a problem at all.”

It’s worse than this.

Keeping Stock used the story as an opportunity for a Tui billboard competition.

This policy has gifted opponents a damaging one: She got there on merit. Yeah right!

Whether or not Labour’s female candidates were selected on merit, the policy raises the question – are they there because of their ability and what they can offer as MPs or just because they’re women?

Plenty of men have got into parliament without being the best candidate, but none have had their position undermined by the suggestion they are just there to make up the numbers.

 

 

 


Strong finish for National

December 21, 2013

The latest  Herald-DigiPoll shows a strong finish for National and holds little comfort for Labour:

Labour’s poll support has slipped after an initial surge following David Cunliffe’s election as leader, the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey shows.

The Maori Party would hold the balance of power if the figures were translated to an election result.

With the left and right blocs fairly evenly split, it could be a close election next year.

Neither National nor Labour would be able to form a government without the Maori Party.

Labour has fallen 2.3 points in the survey to 35.4 per cent. In the September poll, it had a surge in support and could have formed a government with just the Greens and Mana.

National has risen 3.1 points and Prime Minister John Key has somewhat recovered in the preferred Prime Minister stakes, after taking a 9.4 point dive in the last poll.

 He has jumped 6.1 points to 61.9 per cent, well ahead of Mr Cunliffe on 16.5 per cent.
This is a remarkable level of support for National, to be so close to the support it got at the last election when it’s at the end of its fifth year in government.
Labour will be very worried.
The party has climbed from its rock-bottom 2011 election result but hasn’t been able to dent National’s support and new leader David Cunliffe has failed to increase support for the party or himself.

 . . . Mr Cunliffe was elected in September after the resignation of David Shearer in August.

Mr Shearer’s personal popularity in a Herald-DigiPoll survey peaked in March this year when he was preferred by 18.5 per cent, which Mr Cunliffe has yet to surpass, and the party vote at the time of 36.4 per cent was close to its current polling. . .

There’s at  most 11 months to the next election.
That’s plenty of time for things to go wrong for a government but it’s not much time for the bigger opposition party to start looking like a government in waiting and convince the voters it’s ready and able to do a better job than the incumbent one.
It’s not helped by the retirements in National which are providing opportunities for renewal.
Labour provides a stark contrast, still stuck with much the same line up of tired, old faces who put New Zealand into recession before the rest of the world and doesn’t appear to have learned from their mistakes.

Can we blame them?

September 25, 2013

It’s now Emirates Team New Zealand 8 – Oracle team USA 7.

Even worse – Labour has made a big gain in the latest Herald DigiPoll.

Is there a link, can we blame the former on the latter?


What do these people know about real estate?

January 14, 2013

The Labour Party’s housing plan for first home buyers has a little more than 70% support in a Herald-Digipoll survey of 500 people.

What do these people know about real estate?

The policy is to provide houses for $300,000 and you could build a house for that.

We built a manager’s house last year for $280,000.

It’s got three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an office, a double garage and is clad in Oamaru stone.

But we already owned the land. There aren’t many places in the country where you could buy a section for $20,000.

You could build a more modest house. We built a house for dairy staff last year too. It cost $180,000 for three bedrooms, one bathroom with a lean two single car garage.

That would leave $120,000 for a section and you could probably buy a reasonable one in small towns for that but it wouldn’t get you much in a city, especially Auckland where the biggest mismatch between supply and demand is driving up property prices.

If the media was doing its job as the fourth estate properly it would be analysing the policy.

While doing so journalists might ask where the workers who will build the extra 100,000 houses a year are going to come from when there’s already a serious shortage of labour for the rebuild of Christchurch.

They might also ask whether it’s the taxpayers’ role to get people onto the housing ladder – especially those on middle and upper incomes because there’s no mention of income or asset testing the people who would benefit from Labour’s largesse.

 

 


Good question

July 30, 2011

The tax advisor had just read the story of Cinderella to his four-year-old daughter for the first time.

The little girl was fascinated by the tale, especially the part where the pumpkin turns into a golden coach.

Suddenly she piped up, “Daddy, when the pumpkin turned into a golden coach, would that be classed as income or a long-term capital gain?”

It’s a joke but it does raise a serious point about the complexities of a capital gains tax – ambiguities and complexity create loopholes.

I’m not against a CTG in theory but I am opposed to Labour’s proposal for very good reasons:

We should be aiming at a reduction in taxes not an increase.

Complicated taxes cost too much to administer and divert time, energy and money from productive activity to avoidance strategies.

We need to remove compliance costs and other barriers to productivity not increase them.

Those with sympathy for Labour’s proposal should the truth behind these jokes:

The difference between simple and complex taxes is clear:  If you have simple ones the government gets your money. If you have complex ones, the tax advisor gets your money.

For every tax problem there is a solution which is straightforward, uncomplicated and wrong.

How do you know you’ve met a good tax accountant?
S/he has a loophole named after her/him.

A fine is a tax for doing something wrong.  A tax is a fine for doing something right.

And anyone swayed by the results of the Herald DigiPoll survey which shows 16.5% of peole strongly in favour and  21.4% moderately in favour oc Labour’s CTG should consider the words of Geroge Bernard Shaw:

The government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.


Third poll favours blue

November 7, 2008

The Herald DigiPoll confirms the trend of the two television polls last night – if support translates into real votes tomorrow the blue block would win because National would be able to govern with Act and United Future.

Photo / Herald graphic

This assumes the Maori Party would win 5 seats and we’d have a 123 seat parliament.  National would have 61 seats, Act 2 and United Future 1. 

Three out of three polls is encouraging but its the fourth poll, and only real one, tomorrow which matters and there are still too many ifs and maybes to be sure about that.

The poll of polls, a rolling average of the last four surveys, also shows the blue block slightly ahead of the red one:

Photo / Herald graphic


It’s the economy

November 6, 2008

A dinner party conversation turned to politics because one of our number had been polled on the election. One of the questions she’d been asked was, what was the most important issue? 

She said, that’s really hard to answer because so many issues are important. Health, education . . .  how can you say one’s more important than the other?

She’s right but I opt for the economy when asked what’s most important. That’s because if it’s not doing well we can’t afford the high standard of health care, education and everything else we expect the public purse to pay for; and if it’s going well then more of us are better able to look after ourselves and fewer need the help of the tax payer.

That’s one of the reasons I opt for the bluer section of the political spectrum and because of that I’m encouraged by the latest Herald Digipoll survey which found most people reckon National is the best party to steer us through an economic downturn.

When asked whether a Labour-led government or a National-led one would better handle the New Zealand economy as the world faces a downturn, 49.6 per cent of respondents gave John Key’s party their support.

Helen Clark’s Labour was behind on 40.7 per cent – an 8.9-point gap that is not enormous but is larger than what has been seen in some earlier polls that have asked the same or a similar question. The rest – 9.7 per cent – either didn’t know or refused to answer the question.

With just two days to go until New Zealanders cast their ballots, the poll results suggest National is winning the battle to convince voters who would be the best economic manager.

Underlining this is the strong support National also enjoys when it comes to which party voters think will lead the next government.

National rated 49.5 per cent, and Labour was trailing on 36.8 per cent.

National leadership has a combination of experience in international finance, domestic business and government. Labour has academics who’ve failed to make the most of the good times and left the cupboard bare when we most need it well stocked.


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