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On the accuracy of online polls

Written By: - Date published: 8:52 am, March 25th, 2013 - 30 comments
Categories: polls, privatisation - Tags:

The proportion on people who have pre-registerd for Mighty River Power, according to the Stuff poll:

mighty river power prereg


mighty river power prereg 2

(440,000 pre-registrations, well short of the half a million the Right was touting)

Methinks the readership of newsites leans significantly to the middle class and elite.

Out of interest – about 70% of pre-registrations became people who actually bought shares in the Contact sale – 180,000 people. A further 1% of the population didn’t pre-register but bought later. Today, less than 2% of Kiwis own Contact shares.

30 comments on “On the accuracy of online polls”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    The second graph, if anyone else is trying to work out what it is showing because it isn’t properly labelled, is raw # of people who have pre-registered, out of the total population. The scale across the bottom is millions of people, eg the population of NZ.

    • UpandComer 1.1

      That little line would still be bigger then that other line for people signing a bought and paid for fake petition.

  2. pmofnz 2

    Second graph ‘well short of half a million’. Do you have a credible link for that slur attributed to the Right?

  3. Watching 3

    Both sides of the argument are using illogical stats to prove their point. No wonder the population of NZ is getting bored.

    I thought Norman’s press release over the weekend was weak: that because only 10% of the population pre-registered then 90% of the population is against assets sales. On that same logic you could argue that as the Green received 10% odd of the 2011 election vote (which at guess would be about 6% of the total population) then over 90% of the population does not support Green policy – which is also a stupid point to derive from the stats.

    Also on the pre-registered numbers (1) did you have to be over a certain age to pre-registered – linked to having an IRD number and (2) quite a few people I know have decided not to pre-registered as they don’t have the money and will be getting the investment via KiwiSave

    Back to the reality of online polls – they are fun things. If you believe in them, then I hope when somebody says to you next “I have an unbelievable deal for you” that you stop & have a coffee before making a decision.

    • Lightly 3.1

      anyone NZer could pre-register, including kids.

    • felix 3.2

      “Also on the pre-registered numbers (1) did you have to be over a certain age to pre-registered – linked to having an IRD number “

      Anyone could register anyone.

      You could register your kids. You could register your dog. You could register the leaders of the Labour and Green parties FFS.

      No IRD numbers required.

      • Ed 3.2.1

        Given that the rules appear to have been changed “on the hoof” as it were to give those who have pre-registered higher allocations, those in the know may well have pre-registered in the names of each of their family, each trust, and combinations of these – any combination which could be allocated shares and then sell them to a sensible holding for the wider family. that is assuming National do the predictable and under-price to assure a “success”. So 440,000 pre-registrations may only represent say 400,000 individuals. We will never know how many ‘rogue’ pre-registrations there are (such as that for David Shearer) just to get the numbers up . . .

        • felix

          “So 440,000 pre-registrations may only represent say 400,000 individuals.”

          Or 220,000 individuals registering for 2 people.

          Or 100,000 individuals, another 100,000 registering for 2, and 35,000 registering for 4.

          etc etc.

  4. Adrian 4

    The 10% is about the upper level of the long term share ownership numbers in NZ. Normally it is only about 7% but rises temporarily after big offers like this. Wealth Transfer 101. Thieving arseholes.

    • Raymond a Francis 4.1

      Thieving arseholes” because they can afford to buy the shares?
      We have a lot of people talking about all NZers owning these asserts but how many are net tax payers
      Most of the protesters don’t appear to fall into the category being to young for starters

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        Civilisation started to go down hill when we stupidly expanded the vote beyond property owning Christian men of good (tax paying) standing.

        PS people paying for stolen or dubious goods with cash bear some culpability don’t they?

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.2

        Most of the protesters don’t appear to fall into the category being to young for starters

        The sad thing is that the generation which is 50+ has been actively thieving from NZs young for a couple of decades now.

        Key, English, Joyce. How much did they have to pay for their educations? Were they always able to find good paying jobs over the summer holidays which let them save up enough money for the following full year at uni? And when they bought their first house…how much did it cost, perhaps a whole 4x or 5x the median wage?

        • Tim

          Please don’t include the ENTIRE generation – though I agree that all those Onslow College contemporaries of mine – most anyway, professing socialist, or left wing leanings – now Pulp magazine editors, media commentators, spin doctors, bankers, Munstas of the Krearn (etc.) probably fit your stereotype (with some justification).
          I used to always be suspicious of them when ‘flatting’ (to coin a quaint old term), when most used to take their washing home to mumsy at weekends.
          Tragic specimens now the most of them! Generally: paunchy, grey haired and unhappy white old men chanting the very same racist taunts at the breakdown in society my great grandparents once did. (Funny too how majority of their kids have turned out absolute fuckups).
          Pagini beware!

          • Colonial Viper

            Please don’t include the ENTIRE generation

            Understood. I have several excellent mentors that I respect within that generation; sadly too many others however seem rather more privileged, self serving and narrowly conscious in their attitudes.

      • Adrian 4.1.3

        I’m 63 and almost all of my contemporaries are upset at this wealth transfer i.e, theft. What a lot of people don’t realise is that the foregone returns to the Treasury coffers have to be replaced from elsewhere. If only 7% of NZers can afford to buy shares and hence profit from same, the shortfall in tax is made up from all taxpayers therefore subsidising what will almost certainly eventually be large fund mamagers. Stupid, stupid policy.

  5. vto 5

    I just love how floating the power companies means less kiwis end up owning them.


    Well done Nats, you fucking bozos.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      I just love how floating the power companies means less kiwis end up owning them.

      And that those few who do end up owning the power companies end up with unearned wealth from everyone else.

  6. pollywog 6

    If all those 400k kiwi mums and dads blow their wad on Mighty River, who is going to buy up the next round of shares ?

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Godman Sachs. Using money printed by the US Fed.

      • SpaceMonkey 6.1.1

        +1… Even if it’s not an in-yer-face Goldman Sach-style pump and dump IPO (e.g. Facebook), I’m picking the shares will still initially fall post-IPO, perhaps based on some new information that we’ll be told was unforeseen, e.g some debt that was moved off the balance sheets temporarily to make the books look better.

        It will be enough to panic Ma and Pa investor into selling and Goldman and the rest will be waiting in the wings to vacuum them up – having probably also made a nice little windfall shorting the share price along the way.

        Within 5-10 years the power companies will have shareholdings that look like Fletcher, nothing remotely NZ-owned about them.

  7. AsleepWhileWalking 7

    Is anyone else thinking this is starting look like a pump’n’dump?


    Easy to get names from electorial roll.

  8. Ant 8

    Don’t see why registering is automatically equated to supporting asset sales – most people seem to see it as registering for easy money/returns.

    • Ed 8.1

      Or for encouraging the government to set the price as high as possible – we know there will be an element of give-away, but if they think it will be over-subscribed they may actually feel they have to avoid too big a rush as that would imply the price was too low . . .

    • Tim 8.2

      A point I’d been trying to make way back when. Some even have more noble intention other than
      “registering for easy money/returns.”

  9. Rich 9

    They pretty much give themselves away with their “alternative online census”:

    See Q.23 34% earning over $100,000 (for the general population, it’s below 5%).

  10. Richard 10

    Online poll results are easily manipulated and, in my opinion, should never be taken seriously.

    To start manipulating the results, all you need is to is vote on the poll using each of the browsers you have. With Firefox, IE, Chrome, Safari and Opera installed, you can vote 5 times on an issue within a minute of first seeing the poll which grabs your attention. I’m sure there are plenty of people who feverishly do this.

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