Will polls influence vote?


In general elections advertising or polling which might influence voters is not permitted after midnight on election eve.

With postal voting for local body elections campaigning and polling continues after the ballot papers have been distributed.

The ODT published a poll  last weekend of Clutha, Central Otago, Waitaki and Queenstown Lakes Districts which showed a couple of close results but will it influence the vote?

In Clutha Juno Hayes, the sitting mayor, had 34.8% with challengers Hamish Anderson and Bryan Cadogan tied on 31.3%.

In Central Otago sitting mayor Malcolm Macpherson had 38.7% support with Tony Lepper on 37.8% and Jeff Hill on 23.4%.

The Clutha race appears to reflect dissatisfaction with the incumbent but the split in the opposition may let him slip through. However the poll had a margin of error of 11.4% so it’s still anyone’s race.

In Central results show those who support the incumbent should vote for him and those who don’t you’d have a better chance of unseating him if they vote for Lepper than Hill.

In Queenstown Lakes Vanessa Van Uden received 62.5% support with Simon Hayes on 32.8%. In Waitaki sitting mayor Alex Familton had 54.8% support with current deputy mayor Gary Kircher gaining 37.5%.

Both should give the leaders some comfort but with margins of error of 9.6% in Queenstown Lakes and 9.3% in Waitaki there  is still the possibility of an upset.

Did the poll influence my vote? No, I posted my ballot paper on Tuesday after reading the results but they didn’t show change my mind over who I was supporting.

However, had I not already decided who I was supporting the poll may have been a factor I took into account.

UPDATE: The NBR quotes AUT University’s Institute of Public Policy director David Wilson who says those worried about the influence of polls shouldn’t underestimate voters.

Saturday’s smiles


The driver loaded all of Pope Benedict’s luggage into the limo and noticed the Pontiff still standing on the curb..
 ‘Excuse me, Your Holiness,’ the driver said, ‘Would you please take your seat so we can leave?’
 ‘Well, to tell you the truth,’ the Pope said, ‘they never let me drive at the Vatican and I’d really like to drive today.’
 ‘I’m sorry, Your Holiness, but I can’t let you do that. I’d lose my job! What if something should happen?’ protested the driver.
 ‘Who’s going to tell?’ the Pope asked with a smile.

Reluctantly, the driver got in the back and the Pope climbed in behind the wheel. The driver quickly regretted his decision when, after exiting the airport, the Pontiff floored it, accelerating the limo to 205 kms.
 ‘Please slow down, Your Holiness!’  the worried driver begged, but the Pope kept up his speed until they heard sirens.
 ‘Oh, dear God, I’m going to lose my license — and my job!’ moaned the driver.
 The Pope pulled over and rolled down the window as the cop approached, but the cop took one look at him, went back to his motorcycle, and got on the radio.
 ‘I need to talk to the Chief,’ he said to the dispatcher.
 The Chief got on the radio and the cop told him that he’d stopped a limo going 155 kph.
 ‘So bust him,’  the Chief said.
 ‘I don’t think we want to do that, he’s really important,’ said the cop.
 The Chief exclaimed,’ All the more reason!’
 ‘No, I mean really important,’ said the cop.
 The Chief asked, ‘Who do you have there, the mayor?’

 Cop: ‘Bigger.’
 Chief: ‘ An MP?’

 Cop: ‘Bigger.’  
 Chief: ‘The Prime Minister?’

 Cop: ‘Bigger.’
 ‘Well,’ said the Chief, ‘who is it?’
 Cop: ‘I think it’s God!’
 The Chief asked, ‘What makes you think it’s God?’ 
 Cop: ‘His chauffeur is the Pope.’

40 more sleeps . . .


. . . until the election and the latest poll is still trending blue.

Poll right about left


The poll Keeping Stock is running in the sidebar of his blog asks who will get your party vote.

The options are:

Labour/NZ First

As the billbaord above the poll shows there is no need to waste space separating Labour and New Zealand First because a vote for the former is a vote for Peters in government and a vote for the latter is a vote for the former.

Pollsters Cup on Afternoons


The Pollsters Cup which I posted a couple of weeks ago was used to precede a discussion  on polling with Jim Mora and The Panel yesterday afternoon.

It went like this:

Next on the card is the feature race for the Pollsters’ Cup.


The early favourite is Undecided by May Be out of Confusion. Margin of Error, by Statistics out of Calculator has had some good runs and Don’t Know Don’t Care by Ignorance out of Apathy is also expected to make a strong showing.


Some commentators favour Time For A Change by Hope out of Desperation but others are picking Same But Different by Caution out of Experience. Minor Parties, by Disaffected out of Single Issue are at long odds.


There’s been a delay because there’s a question over the registration of Don’t Care. However, the stewards say a late entry is allowed under special rules so they’re under starter’s orders and they’re away.


Racing now and Time For A Change has the early running. Undecided comes next closely followed by Margin of Error leading  Same But Different by a nose then it’s a couple of lengths back to Minor Parties and Don’t Know Don’t Care is bringing up the rear.


Time For A Change is running strongly in the centre though Same But Different has come up on the right hand side; then it’s Undecided with Minor Parties a neck ahead of Margin Of Error and Don’t Know Don’t Care still trailing the field.


In to the home straight now and it’s anyone’s race. Margin Of Error has taken the lead with Same But Different, Time For A Change bunched up with Undecided. Minor Parties is running out of steam and Don’t Know Don’t Care is a good five lenghts behind.


To the finish line now and it looks like Margin Of Error just made it but it’s too close to call for the places. It’s between Time For A Change and Same But Different with Undecided in fourth place a nose ahead of Minor Parties in fifth and Don’t Know Don’t Care a distant last.



TV1 poll puts Peters out


Guyon Espiner has just announced the results of a One News poll in Tauranga.

National’s candidate Simon Bridges had the support of 48% of those polled, WInston Peters had 28% support and Labour’s Anne Pankhurst had just 15%.

Peters has to win the seat or get his party over the 5% hurdle and the poll showed 6% of people were willing to give New Zealand First their aprty votes. However, that’s not as good as it appears because it’s about half the support the party got in Tauranga at the last election.

The poll questioned 519 people and had a margin of error of 4%.

You can fool some of the people


This survey which asks do you believe Winston Peters? isn’t scientific, which is a good thing because 14.9% or respondents said yes.

It’s a self-selecting on-line survey which began on Friday – 74.3% said no and the rest were don’t knows.

Poll tightens


The latest Roy Morgan Poll show an increase in support for both National at 52% and Labour at 31% – both up .5. But a new Fairfax Media- Neilson poll  shows National down 3 to 51% and Labour up 5 to 35%.

A rolling average of polls has had National about 20 points ahead of Labour for months and the Fairfax poll is the smallest gap since last year.

John Key’s rating as preferred PM dropped from 43% to 39% and Helen Clark’s rose from 30 to 32.

I am not surprised the gap has tightened but I am surprised it has done so now when the truckers’ protest gained so much support which suggested a high proportion of anti-government sentiment; and when we’re facing recession.

Labour can’t be blamed for external factors including the price of oil, but had they not squandered the good times we’ve been experiencing the country would be better positioned to weather the bad.

The Morgan poll results were:

National Party support at 52% (up 0.5%) clearly ahead of the Labour Party 31% (up 0.5%), if an election were held now the National Party would win. Support for the Greens was 7.5% (down 0.5%), NZ First 6.5% (up 2.5% to its highest level since September 2006), Maori Party 1% (down 1.5%), United Future 1% (unchanged) and ACT NZ 0.5% (down 1.5%).

If ever there was a case for requiring people to take a comprehension test before they vote, it’s in that increase for NZ First 🙂

The Fairfax poll result in percentages: National 51 (54 last month) Labour 35 (30) Green 5 (7) NZ First 4 (3) Maori Party 2 (2) Act 1 (1) United Future 0 (1).

Preferred PM: John Key 39 (43)  Helen Clark 35 (30)  Winston Peters 3 (2).

The trend is more important than a single poll and this will not spook National. But it will hearten Labour and if Clark thinks her attacks on Key have been working we can expect them to not only continue but worsen.

Curefew Polls


The ODT recalls that in 1999 National slumped to 28% in an opinion poll. But the party led by Jenny Shipley slowly regained support while Labour lost it and was just able to form a minority coalition government on election night with the Alliance Party.

At times during the previous months, Labour’s polled support had led to speculation it would be able to govern alone; often, New Zealand First was cited as the crucial factor in the formation of any government.

The point of these reflections is that whatever opinion polls may indicate before an election, gaps between parties tend to close before the real poll – and the real poll is a long way off yet – and the coalition deal-making afterwards can have the major influence on the final determination.

The trend since 2002 has shown steadily increasing support for National and a similar decline for Labour, but what happens to support for the wee parties may determine the shape of the next Government.

Long-term trends in opinion polls of more recent vintage show that having enjoyed an average lead over National of 10 percentage points early in 2005, Labour is now 25 percentage points behind.

It is also seemingly out of favour in the community generally, at a time when economic conditions are biting some voters and their families quite hard.

This means Labour will go into the election with little to offer but its record of management, whereas a majority of people, indifferent to the record, may simply want to bid for a new manager as a form of punishment or an expression of their anger.

It won’t be the first time that voters have been motivated by anger.

Economic forecasts for the immediate future do not look likely to help Labour and its allies. The economy has contracted for the first time since 2005, led by the housing market. Interest rates are higher, as is inflation.

The outlook for our exports is also problematical in the short term, with rapidly rising fuel prices somewhat counteracting higher food prices. But this year’s drought has not helped export production in the agricultural sector.

In the first three months of the year, primary-sector output contracted by 4.1%, the worst result since the Clark Government was elected. The construction and manufacturing sectors have also declined, by 5.2% and 1.2% quarter on quarter respectively, reducing growth by half a percentage point between them.

Private consumption has fallen by 0.4%, for the first time since 2004, and the labour market is deteriorating, experiencing its steepest decline in the first three months of 2008 since the late 1980s. Investment is weak and so is the sharemarket, and to judge by the failures of numerous investment companies, confidence is not likely to improve in a hurry.

The appreciation of the New Zealand dollar in the past two years has added to the general woes and has not been helpful to our tourism sector. The opinion of the Reserve Bank that consumer price inflation will peak at 4.7% in the September quarter (from 3.4% in the quarter to March) means the Government has little prospect of directly improving the situation it faces, despite holding out the prospect of tax cuts which, in most households, will have long since been swallowed up in extra costs.

Then there’s the power crisis concern over the power supply, steep increases in the price of necessities and the many signs of third termitis plaguing Labour.

In medieval villages, the ringing of a bell prompted the curfew requiring people to extinguish fires and lights as night fell and, if we judge the country’s present mood and the pathetically juvenile conduct of its members in Parliament this week to represent one and the same thing, then the opinion polls are tolling a curfew of some kind.

It is increasingly hard to detect that this is a country with confident, optimistic people forging ahead. It is rather beginning to resemble a kindergarten where everyone is throwing a tantrum, including the supervisors.

If Parliament this week was a portent of the election campaign, then people in their present frame of mind will want nothing of it. And that will serve nothing for the betterment of our way of life and nation.

Surely, our politicians have noticed that in the United States election campaign, running parallel with ours, truth-telling politics that stands above party political bickering has been identified as the chief desire of the electorate and principal ambition of both Mr Obama and Mr McCain.

Negative politics at a time of considerable anxiety and strain on families is profoundly frustrating for voters, and debilitating for the country. It is time it ceased.

Mud sticks to the hand that throws it. If Labour continues with its personal attacks on John Key it will be the one that ends up covered in dirt.

And the Sun Doesn’t Rise in the East


Helen Clark is refusing to accept the large poll gap between National and Labour.

Prime Minister Helen Clark says three separate polls at the weekend that show Labour trailing National by over 20 percent are “very extreme” and overstate the Opposition’s lead.


A TV One Colmar Brunton poll last night had National on 55 percent with Labour lagging on 29 per cent support.

That followed Saturday’s Fairfax Media poll by AC Nielsen showing National winning 54 percent of the party vote against Labour’s 30 per cent.

The latest Roy Morgan poll also showed a large gap with National’s support up two to 52.5 per cent while Labour dropped 0.5 to 31.5 per cent.

But Miss Clark today refused to accept the size of the gap recorded in the polls, which she said were “very extreme”.

It is usual for poll gaps between  the two major parties to narrow and for the wee parties to get more support nearer to election day so these poll results may not mirror voter support when it counts. But the trend is clear, National and John Key are well ahead of Labour and Clark.

In light of that her real fear should be that softer supporters leave Labour and vote for the wee parties as happened with National in 2002.

Other blogs’ comments on the polls:

The Hive    No Minister    Truth Seeker      Keeping Stock     Inquiring Mind

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