web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

Polity: Who do the “missing million” like?

Written By: - Date published: 1:16 pm, July 2nd, 2014 - 17 comments
Categories: election 2014, john key, Politics, Steven Joyce - Tags: , , ,

polity_square_for_lynnReposted from Polity.

When I first saw DPF quote some anonymous correspondent talking about voter turnout, I thought he was having everyone on. But over the weekend John Key was quoting this exact same research as a justification for why National need to Get Out The Vote this time, and so was Steven Joyce on The Nation. It seems this really is the high-water mark for National election analysis. Colour me underwhelmed.

National appear to think most of the tide of new non-voters in 2011 were National supporters, because many of the places where turnout dropped a lot were safe National seats. The problem is that this pattern – big drops in turnout in safe National seats – is consistent with at least two theories:

  1. The new non-voters were complacent National supporters, so seats with more National voters have more complacent ones who don’t bother to vote.
  2. The new non-voters were peeling away from the good ship Labour, whose energies were turned defensively towards protecting support from their core low-income urban base rather than expanding their reach into more challenging electorates. This second pattern is also consistent with the idea of Labour’s vote collapsing into its core areas in 2011, compared to earlier elections.

To better understand which theory might be right, we have to first look more closely at the data. Of course, reading the tea-leaves like this is always a bit hand-wavy, but we box on nevertheless. Take Clutha-Southland, for example, which had lower turnout in 2011 by about 1,900 votes compared to 2008. In 2008, National won 20,235 votes in Clutha-Southland, while Labour won 8,091. In 2011, National won 20,020 votes in Clutha Southland, while Labour won 5,160.

We can see which story is better supported by the evidence here. Labour lost 3,000 votes overall, while National stayed about the same. The Greens’ in Clutha-Southland total went up by around 1,000 during that period, leaving around 1,900 previous Labour supporters unaccounted for. A couple of things might have happened:

  • They may have stayed home, which is the simplest explanation.
  • Or they might have switched over to vote National – driving National’s total up, but then had that impact cancelled a pile of National supporters may have not bothered voting – driving their total back down again.

Second, as I pointed out earlier in the year, National’s form of analysis here (inferring individual-level behaviour from electorate-level results) is highly suspect. There are better ways to do this work, but it looks like National doesn’t know what they are.

Third, survey evidence can help us, too. The New Zealand Election Survey is the best resource for this. Of the people who (1) admitted to non-voting in 2011; and (2) remembered who they had votes for in 2008, 92 said Labour, 13 said Greens, 70 said National. On that imperfect measure, you might conclude that the missing million splits about 3:2 to the left.

The 2011 NZES also finds no net switching between Labour and National after 2008. 2.1% of the population reported voting for Labour in 2008 and National in 2011, and 2.1% of the population also reported voting for National in 2008 but Labour in 2011.

I am sure there were some National supporters who chose not to vote in 2011 out of complacency. But I think it is a minority, and that most of the new non-voters (who voted up to and including 2008, and then stopped) are lefties. The survey evidence points that way, and so does the E9 evidence when looked at properly.

17 comments on “Polity: Who do the “missing million” like?”

  1. Enough is Enough 1

    Just playing devils advocate here – but do the polls say anything in relation to this issue.

    National’s vote on election day was down against every single poll in the week leading into the election. That could very well be because the polls were not accurate. But they are probably no less accurate than the NZES survey.

    I am not convinced either way because as far as I know there is no New Zealand study that shows why people don’t vote, and if they had voted, which box they would have ticked.

    • swordfish 1.1

      Well, that’s just spiffing, isn’t it ? I’ve just spent an enormous amount of time typing out a detailed reply to EiE, but such is the debilitated state of my lap-top (as direct result of accepting Windows updates a week back) that it doesn’t seem to handle sending anything other than a very brief comment. Sooooo bloody annoying.

      • lprent 1.1.1

        My advice generally when someone says anything like that is to

        1. Try the back button to go to the previous page before the “send” AND
        2. Try a different browser. I usually assume that it is IE at fault. Chrome or Firefox work well. OR
        3. Try a less fragile operating system. Kubuntu is my favourite.
      • swordfish 1.1.2

        So the succinct version is this: (Part 1)

        (1) There are, indeed, a number of studies itemising the reasons for staying at home in recent Elections (quite a range of reasons – but a belief that ‘the Election was a foregone conclusion” is certainly a major one).

        (2) The NZES project (highlighted by Rob, above) does, in fact, provide data on which way non-voters would have gone had they turned out on Election Day 2008 and 2011.

        • swordfish 1.1.2.1

          (Part 2)

          First of all, thanks to Lynn for the advice. Much appreciated.

          (3) This NZES data has been a bone of contention between (a) Rob Salmond and (b) both Farrar and Blogger and Colmar-Brunton pollster, Andrew Robertson. The short version is that basically: (1) Andrew (analysing the NZES data – but also emphasising a number of very important caveats regarding doubts over sample size and representativeness) suggested non-voters turning out in 2011 wouldn’t have made much difference. Whereas, they would have, according to his NZES analysis, in 2008 (which would have been an absolute knife-edge election with only 3.5 points separating National from Labour rather than the 11 points that, in fact, eventuated on Election Day).

  2. Olwyn 2

    There is also explanation 3: that Labour voters in blue-held electorates do not reliably appreciate the importance of the party vote. This would not apply so much to the Greens; for their voters the importance of the party vote is more obvious, since they have not recently held any electorate seats. However, it is easy to imagine a Labour voter in a blue area thinking, “Why bother? X is going to get in anyway,” forgetting that their party vote would add to the overall percentage.

    • Enough is Enough 2.1

      That works both ways Olwyn.

      An ignorant Nat that doesn’t know how the system works voting in Mt Roskill might think “Why bother? Phill Goff is going to get in anyway,”.

      • Olwyn 2.1.1

        True, but when you add other discouraging features like negative polls, media bias, etc, to the certainty that Howick is never going to change its spots, the sense of foregone defeat may be greater in such places.

      • felix 2.1.2

        An ignorant Nat that doesn’t know how the system works voting in Mt Roskill might think “Why bother? Phill Goff is going to get in anyway,”.

        That’s why National saturate their campaign with John Key’s name and face. Nat voters in Mt Roskill aren’t voting against Goff. For the most part they couldn’t give a fuck who the local Nat candidate is.

        They’re voting for John Key.

  3. Jack 3

    The problem we have here in NZ is many of the lower socio-economic groups are not politically literate and if they read the messages sent out by MSM get even more apathetic and disconnected, hence not voting at the polls

    Unfortunately it works against the left wing parties and the people in need of Government support.

    • Sacha 3.1

      “many of the lower socio-economic groups are not politically literate”

      Cos everyone loves being called stupid. #winning

  4. greywarbler 4

    An initiative to commend and support”?
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/248629/panel-looks-at-value-of-vote

    Dozens of young people turned out in Auckland on Monday night to debate the merits or otherwise of voting.
    About 70 people attended the panel discussion “Why Vote” hosted by Radio New Zealand website The Wireless.

    Among the crowd were people from RockEnrol, an initiative to encourage young people to vote.

    Campaign director Laura O’Connell-Rapira said fewer than half of those aged 18 to 29 voted in the last election and many do not understand why they should, or even how it works.

    See Radio nz young initiative. The Wireless.
    http://thewireless.co.nz/

  5. The Real Matthew 5

    I think the only safe explanation for the missing million is that Politics is not a high priority in their lives and they don’t think political parties have a large effect on their lives.

    I’d say the missing million probably have a fair point.

    • That’s a bit of a cop out. The direction and ideology of our government has a significant effect on people’s lives, especially those who are most vulnerable (and we know that non-voters tend to be poorer and/or less academically educated.)

  6. Jenny 6

    People vote because they become interested in politics.

    In previous times when New Zealand was heavily unionised, the main gateway into politics for many people was through involvement in the union movement.

    Another gateway into politics for many others was the civil protest movement, Vietnam war, anti-apartheid, anti-nuclear, environmental issues both local and national and for Maori, things like land struggles. ’75 Land March, Bastion Point, Raglan golf course, and most recently foreshore and seabed.

    It is after becoming involved in and interested in these movements that people begin to look at the wider picture and think about the importance of their vote.

    There used to be a saying in the union movement that went something like this, “Those who are fighting Left will vote Left”.

    Therefore voting Left, or even voting at all, depends on people’s involvement in extra-parliamentary politics.

    What does this mean for the leaders of national Left political parties like Labour and the Greens?

    Just as Right politicians need to be seen hosting business breakfasts in parliament and attending Measure of the Boardroom meetings held at the Northern club and Realtor Conventions, (held everywhere)

    Left politicians must be seen to be on the picket lines, or at protests, or at least be seen to be supporting such popular Left civil political campaigns.

    And to some extent they have been, David Cunliffe has attended, and spoken at protests against the TPPA and GCSB abuses.

    And David Cunliffe has come out acknowledging Maori grievance over the seabed and foreshore, (a government attack on Maori treaty rights the necessary precursor to government opening up the S&F to massive extractive technologies like deep sea oil drilling and seabed mining without having to deal with Maori legal challenges citing treaty rights.)

    There needs to be more of this.

    Left politicians must openly support campaigns against the National Government’s state house privatisations and forced clearances and demolitions. Name tag; Hone Harawira, and to a lesser extent Phil Twyford. The Labour Party needs to get more openly involved in this struggle.

    (Particularly as this movement has just won a recent victory against the eviction and demolition of the house of protesting state house tenant)

    For Green Party MPs in particular they need to be seen on the protests against Denniston and Mangatangi, name tag Catherine Delahunty; (and that’s it)

    The Labour Party’s greatest electoral successes have been when they have been in the forefront of such campaigns. The huge protests against nuclear ships were largely organised through Labour Party LECs.

    And in the ’30s the Labour and union movement were almost one and the same.

    There is a conveyor belt between Left movements and the Left vote. The left vote slumps when Left parties become remote from such movements.

    The Greens are talking about joining a government that will support mining Denniston, just watch the speed at which the Greens disappear from the political landscape.

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Taxpayers not suckers when it comes to casino lemon
    The Government should not be asking New Zealanders to stump up extra cash to bail out John Key and Steven Joyce’s dodgy SkyCity convention centre deal, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. "A deal is a deal is a deal. SkyCity… ...
    5 days ago
  • Supreme Court decision an early Christmas present
    Women on low pay in New Zealand have been given an early Christmas present with yesterday’s decision by  the Supreme Court not to intervene in a decision of the Court of Appeal, says Labour's Spokesperson for Women's Affairs, Sue Moroney. … ...
    5 days ago
  • Dunedin Hospital needs more than drip feed
    An ongoing and embarrassing pattern of major building leaks and equipment failures at Dunedin Public Hospital has been revealed in papers released under the Official Information Act, Dunedin North MP David Clark says. “Documents released under the Official Information Act… ...
    6 days ago
  • Dunedin Hospital needs more than drip feed
    An ongoing and embarrassing pattern of major building leaks and equipment failures at Dunedin Public Hospital has been revealed in papers released under the Official Information Act, Dunedin North MP David Clark says. “Documents released under the Official Information Act… ...
    6 days ago
  • 17 too young for teens to be shown the door
    Laws which see young people under the care of CYFS abandoned once they turn 17 will mean at least a dozen young Kiwis will be left to fend for themselves over the December festive season, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda  Ardern… ...
    6 days ago
  • 17 too young for teens to be shown the door
    Laws which see young people under the care of CYFS abandoned once they turn 17 will mean at least a dozen young Kiwis will be left to fend for themselves over the December festive season, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda  Ardern… ...
    6 days ago
  • National’s albatross, taxpayers’ curse
    Government consideration of further corporate welfare hand-outs to SkyCity for its convention centre shows just how weak the original contract was, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says. “Taxpayers will be appalled to hear that on top of the humiliating… ...
    6 days ago
  • Recognizing Palestine: The European Parliament Votes
    Last week I wrote a blog drawing attention to Sweden’s formal recognition of the state of Palestine (the second Western state to do so after Iceland).  That move has created ripples throughout the international community. In recent months the parliaments… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • Recognizing Palestine: The European Parliament Votes
    Last week I wrote a blog drawing attention to Sweden’s formal recognition of the state of Palestine (the second Western state to do so after Iceland).  That move has created ripples throughout the international community. In recent months the parliaments… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • Recognizing Palestine: The European Parliament Votes
    Last week I wrote a blog drawing attention to Sweden’s formal recognition of the state of Palestine (the second Western state to do so after Iceland).  That move has created ripples throughout the international community. In recent months the parliaments… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • Minister has work to do over Xmas
    Red flags raised in a multi-agency review into how Phillip Smith was able to flee the country highlight the inadequacies of those very same agencies not having red flags in place that would have notified them of his plans, says… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister has work to do over Xmas
    Red flags raised in a multi-agency review into how Phillip Smith was able to flee the country highlight the inadequacies of those very same agencies not having red flags in place that would have notified them of his plans, says… ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister has work to do over Xmas
    Red flags raised in a multi-agency review into how Phillip Smith was able to flee the country highlight the inadequacies of those very same agencies not having red flags in place that would have notified them of his plans, says… ...
    1 week ago
  • Gerry Brownlee’s revolving airport door story
    A new report shows Gerry Brownlee is the latest Cabinet Minister to have contracted the infectious tell-porkies-until-you-are-caught disease, Labour’s Chief Whip Chris Hipkins says. “A Civil Aviation Report out today shows that despite being an extremely recognisable figure, Gerry Brownlee… ...
    1 week ago
  • Govt spend on transport out of step with reality
    The National Government is planning to allocate ever increasing amounts of taxpayer funding to build expensive new motorways despite record numbers of New Zealanders flocking to buses and trains, said the Green Party. The Government released its Government Policy Statement… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter MP
    1 week ago
  • Govt spend on transport out of step with reality
    The National Government is planning to allocate ever increasing amounts of taxpayer funding to build expensive new motorways despite record numbers of New Zealanders flocking to buses and trains, said the Green Party. The Government released its Government Policy Statement… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter MP
    1 week ago
  • Solar homes stymied by Govt inaction
    Government inaction is allowing the big power companies to discourage the nascent solar power sector, the Green Party said today. Green Party MP Gareth Hughes launched a petition today calling on the Government to empower the Electricity Authority to act… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    1 week ago
  • Foreign buyers for iconic island must add value
    Labour will look very closely at any Overseas Investment Office application to purchase Pakatoa Island if it is not bought by a Kiwi, says Labour’s Land information Spokesperson Stuart Nash. “Pakatoa is an iconic island in the middle of Hauraki… ...
    1 week ago
  • Way opening for April Sun in Cuba
    The United States of America’s President’s historic announcement yesterday to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba should be applauded by the New Zealand Government. The announcement marks a turning point in more than five decades of hostility between the two countries… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    1 week ago
  • Minister ducking for cover over ‘Diplomat Case’
    Apparently the Ministerial Inquiry into what now seems to be being referred to as ‘The Diplomat Case’ ( I have a few other names for it) has been completed and is in front of Foreign Affairs Minister McCully. Initial Reports seem to… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Energy users need answers on Vector share plans
    Energy Minister Simon Bridges needs to stop ducking for cover about whether or not the Government will support plans to nationalise and then privatise $2.1 billion of shares in the Auckland Electricity Consumer Trust, Labour's Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says. “It… ...
    1 week ago
  • Turning up the heat on working conditions
    A “Jobs That Count” campaign has the full support of Labour, the party’s Labour Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. Organised by the Meat Workers Union, the campaign aims to put the spotlight on job insecurity in the meat processing industry. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Is the Health Minister accountable to the public? He doesn’t seem to thin...
    Lately I’ve been involved in a sort of farcical standoff with the Health Minister, who seems to be under the illusion that I have no right to ask questions about conflicts involving Health Promotion Agency Board member Katherine Rich, and… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Irresponsible tax cuts lead to seventh successive deficit
    National's borrowing to pay for cutting the top tax rate was irresponsible and will likely lead to a seventh successive deficit, the Green Party said today. Treasury have forecast a $572 million deficit this year in its Half Year Economic… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Heartfelt sympathy for Sydneysiders
    The Labour Party has offered its heartfelt sympathy to the people of Sydney after the hostage situation in the city, says Labour’s Acting leader Grant Robertson.  “Our thoughts are with all those who went through this horrific and traumatic experience. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Farewell at Phillipstown
    Last Wednesday, I attended the farewell for Tony Simpson, Principal of Phillipstown School. It was a very emotional event where many of us in the large crowd shed tears. Bagpipes and tiny tamariki performing kapahaka brought the house down and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ should formally recognise Palestine
    New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here… ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham MP
    2 weeks ago
  • James Shaw’s adjournment speech on behalf of the Green Party
    It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems… ...
    GreensBy James Shaw MP
    2 weeks ago
  • A Tale of Two Farms
    Pig farming has yet again been thrust into the public view with two programmes this week on Campbell Live highlighting the very different conditions for pigs on two very different farms. The first programme exposed the awful conditions on… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere