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Polity: The impact of Labour’s GOTV efforts

Written By: - Date published: 3:30 pm, April 3rd, 2014 - 10 comments
Categories: blogs, dpf - Tags: , , , , ,

David Farrar often bullshits on numbers as he usually does. Does he have what appears to be a maths block that makes him so wrong so often  (like his old boss Bill English)? Or is it just that he obeys orders like the good National puppet tools that he and Cameron Slater appear to be? Anyway, Rob Salmond pulls him up on a few obvious and significiant flaws in his ‘analysis’. DPF didn’t allow for people lying – just like he does.

David Farrar is busy this morning resurrecting blog discussions from last November about whether getting more people to show up and vote will make any difference in this year’s election. He cites some evidence from Grumpollie suggesting it would not, which argued that if absolutely everyone with a preference cast a ballot, the 2011 results would have looked much the same as they did anyway.

Farrar concludes with:

So my take on this is that just inspiring a larger turnout won’t necessarily help Labour.

Here is why I think they are both wrong:

  1. 25.8% of people did not vote in the last election, but only 8.2% of the population admitted it in the survey Grumpollie was using. That’s a very big discrepancy.
  2. There is a long-standing tradition to lying to pollsters about whether you voted. It is based on “social desirability bias.” And the people most susceptible to it, people who often do vote and are embarrassed that they did not in 2011, are also in my view among the most likely to have voted for Labour in 2008.
  3. The analysis, and David Farrar’s conclusion, is based on the idea that Labour will go hunting for non voters randomly around the country, convincing non-voters in the bluest parts of Clutha-Southland to vote just as much as we do in Labour stronghold areas. We are a bit smarter than that.

This year, I expect Labour will put considerable effort into turning out people who we think like Labour but we think may not have voted in 2011. And National will do the same for people suspected gf being lapsed National supporters. Two parties: one task. The difference, which gives Labour an advantage, is that we are better at this task than National.

10 comments on “Polity: The impact of Labour’s GOTV efforts”

  1. Grumpollie has responded to this, disputing some of Rob’s claims – Not about ‘The impact of Labour’s GOTV efforts’

    Andrew concludes:

    What these people could be saying instead is ‘We need to focus on the needs of the people in areas with higher deprivation, show them how we can make a difference in their lives and give them a better chance, and encourage them to get out and vote.’

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Let’s tell people that Labour is raising the retirement age for their own good. That should work a treat.

  2. Tamati 2

    It’s certainly a bold strategy, if they manage to pull it off and win the election with a GOTV strategy then they’ll change politics in New Zealand forever.

    I’m skeptical though. Throughout the Western world turnouts have been very consistently falling. I’m really struggling to think of an incidence where an election has been won by abandoning the middle ground and focusing on getting out the left wing base. Does anyone have any examples?

    Probably Canadian provinces, German states and small European democracies are the fairest comparisons. I don’t think comparing to the US is fair, things are pretty different over there.

    • Ad 2.1

      I am not skeptical and am working hard with others to prove that Christchurch East and Botany were not outliers, and that all the techniques really do work.

    • Mary 2.2

      “I’m really struggling to think of an incidence where an election has been won by abandoning the middle ground and focusing on getting out the left wing base.”

      There’s a truth to that but the Left has no choice. The real damage done from 1984 onwards and particularly throughout the 1990s was to the climate of opinion. Restoring the thinking of a nation to one that places value on a caring society, looking after your neighbour and so on is what is needed but the problem is that this takes time and genuine effort. Labour is not even pretending to be making that effort and it never will for as long as it concentrates on short term success because doing that means continuing the fight for the middle ground which is also, ironically, a fight that the Left can never win. This is why Labour and the Left in NZ generally is so stuffed.

      • Tracey 2.2.1


        We are well and truly ensconced in the every person for themselves mentality which suits the right down tot he ground and their well-paid for manipulation of information (which we used to call propaganda).

        maybe that’s the word the left need to be using more

        National’s propaganda..

  3. Tracey 3

    If Farrar is trying to discourage focus on those who didn’t vote, I’d bet internal polling shows a preference for the left.

    Can someone link me to a kiwiblog fact checking of this statement?

    ““Mr Key cited Labour’s promise to increase early childhood education from 20 free hours a week for three and four years old to 25 hours a week.

    The policy doesn’t take effect until July 2017 but Labour has costed it at $57 million in the first year and about $60 million after that.

    Mr Key said the cost was more likely to be $600 million, $700 million or $800 million.” 3 april 201″4

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