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Polls and people

Written By: - Date published: 7:25 am, June 21st, 2011 - 27 comments
Categories: budget 2011, election 2011, polls - Tags: ,

The Roy Morgan Polls are all over the place, at the moment (see May 23rd, June 9th). Just as Trev warned us, the latest Roy Morgan has the Left once more at the bottom of the roller coaster:

Support for the government is at 59.5% (up 6%):
National Party 53% (up 4%)
Maori Party 3% (up 0.4%)
ACT NZ 3% (up 1.5%)
United Future 0.5% (unchanged)

Support for opposition parties is at 40.5% (down 6%)
Labour Party 30% (down 6%)
Greens 7% (up 0.5%)
New Zealand First 2.5% (unchanged)
Progressive Party 0% (unchanged)
Others 1% (down 0.5%)

Allowing for margins of error the movement over the last 3 polls is probably nowhere near as extreme as the quoted numbers suggest. But none the less I think it is now safe to say that the Nats have survived their useless 2011 Budget without significant damage. This doesn’t surprise me — most people still aren’t really focused on politics after all — but it does mean that the pressure is all on to the election campaign itself for the Left. At this rate we won’t have any momentum going in. Grim!

On a lighter note, for a poll of a different kind, the Reader’s Digest annual poll of most trusted people (and professions) is out. The full list is on Scoop, but here’s an extract from the 100 most trusted people:

1. Sir Ray Avery, scientist, inventor, New Zealander of the Year 2010
2. Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister
3. Sir Paul Callaghan, physicist, New Zealander of the Year 2011
4. The Hon. Justice Helen Winkelmann Chief High Court Judge
5. Roger Hall, film, TV and theatre actor, playwright

90. The Rt. Hon. John Key, 38th and current Prime Minister
91. Paul Holmes, broadcaster
92. Paul Henry, journalist, radio and TV presenter
93. Jim Anderton, Progressive Party leader
94. The Hon. Bill English, Deputy Prime Minister
95. The Hon. Pita Sharples, Minister of Maori Affairs
96. The Hon. Phil Goff, Labour Party leader
97. The Hon. Tariana Turia, Maori Party co-leader
98. The Rt. Hon. Winston Peters, New Zealand First leader
99. The Hon. Rodney Hide, Minister of Local Government
100. The Hon. Hone Harawira, activist, Member for Te Tai Tokerau

As usual the bottom of the list is full of politicians – it’s impossible to score well in such a poll if a big chunk of the population are going to automatically rate you as 0. But note the top 3, all scientists (as was much commented on in the media). Coincidence, down to the individuals, or is there a growing acceptance of the important role of science in NZ? Either way I should make that my new tagline eh – “Trust me, I’m a scientist”…

27 comments on “Polls and people”

  1. Luva 1

    What do you think, was this a dodgy poll? Or do all the comments stand?


    • policywonk 1.1

      That link seems to be a bit broken Luva – just took me back to the home page.

      Is this where you wanted to go? rogue poll gives Left false hope

      • lprent 1.1.1

        Doesn’t look to me like Eddie was all that excited. He was just analyzing the implications if that poll proved to be accurate.

        • policywonk

          I’ve been careful to avoid attributing any level of excitement to the author – however some of the posters who responded to the author’s comments did appear a little worked up by the results…

          Interesting results nevertheless – hard to pick which polls are rogue and which are reflective of the natural variability demonstrated by small sample populations

          • Draco T Bastard

            The way they keep shifting about with such wild swings I’m beginning to think all polls are rogue.

  2. gingercrush 2

    To be honest I had no clue why some here got very excited about the Roy Morgan poll last time and how that was poll was going to be the start of a major change in direction for this country. It was never going to be that because ultimately Labour hasn’t proved itself. It was just bizarre that one or two Standard authors would get so excited about it.

    • lprent 2.1

      Actually I can’t recall any author getting particularly excited about it. we have been around the polls too long. I can recall some commentators doing so, just as some did on the previous Morgan poll. I sure as hell wasn’t, it takes several trending polls before I get interested. I suspect that you’re just trying for a good story and rewriting history.

      As r0b says even the Morgan poll is up and down like a yoyo right now. This one was taken just after the budget and a while after all of the excitement with Act. I usually allow about a month for political news to filter into the polls.

      The best that you can say is that Act doesn’t appear to be gaining traction and the Labour / National divide is bouncing around. The ‘others’ doesn’t look too good for Mana

    • Lanthanide 2.2

      Personally I think my own reaction could be classed as “cautiously optimistic”.

  3. Bored 3

    Jeez, I said I would stop calling for Goffs head, so I wont call for it. I will leave it to Labour to reflect on the fact he is listed as less trusted than such malign and dubious photo opping sound biters as Key, Holmes, Henry…..

  4. Tangled up in blue 4

    Ouch. That is all.

  5. lprent 5

    The most interesting thing about this poll is that the Government Confidence Rating hasn’t bounced by much post budget (which they usually do). Certainly not enough to reverse the overall downward trend that we have seen in the last 18 months or so. I think that it will continue the slow trend of confident dropping, and the unconfident slowly rising.

    To me that long term trend is the most interesting one on this poll series at present. It doesn’t bode well for the government going into an election. It tends to indicate that they are not managing to sell their message. Which of course leaves room for the opposition to work within.

  6. Lanthanide 6

    One particular note on the most trusted list is Peter Jackson. 6th place last year, now he’s 74th…

  7. Ed 7

    With a sample size of 534, getting meaningful results on a list of 100 people is possibly not very reliable. Similarly I suspect that the Morgan Poll may not be as reliable as ‘margin of error’ estimates suggest – it presumably presupposes that the small sample is taken randomly from the voting population, that people will answer questions honestly, and that not available, decline to answer and don’t know responses to the poll are trivial.

  8. Bo Duke 8

    Old trevor was cautious about the last poll and now we know why. Looks like it was rogue unfortunately. Come on labour, time to step up and stop falling on your faces!

  9. nadis 9

    The trusted list is interesting but somewhat bizarre. Does anyone have a link to the form of the survey?

    I’m a bit of a news junkie, and follow lots of issues but I have to wonder how some of these names would even come close to resonating with the public. I’m not quibbling with the results per se but I wonder how many of the general public have ever heard of Sir Ray Avery or Helen Winkelman………..

  10. Glad the scientists are at the top, they deserve it, they are the ones making the difference, if your a scientist I will listen to you, if a tv star come activist, not so much.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      if your a scientist I will listen to you

      That must be why you take orders from Key and English.

  11. Politicians will always rate poorly because most people wouldn’t vote for most of them but may happily vote for one of them. Collectively, then, they will rate poorly. It’s almost unfair to even include them.

    • Craig Glen Eden 11.1

      Yeah Steve I think you are right “politicians you cant trust any of them except for our local guy girl they are just so lovely they spoke to me at the school gala just the other day bla bla.”

  12. Uroskin 12

    Interesting that the most trusted politician in that list is Russel Norman.

  13. Reality Bytes 13

    I wonder how much of an effect disillusioned kiwi emigrants have on these polls? Just think of all the Cantabs that have left, let alone the rest. I doubt Ray Morgan would bother to interview any kiwis that have left for other parts of the world, surely that would be a lot more hassle and expensive than randomly ringing a few NZ numbers to see who’s keen, so I doubt it.
    If people are that pissed with the government that they leave, they could also be that pissed off enough that they send their vote in from abroad against the government that pissed them off.
    I also wonder about the undecideds. Since even if we assume these polls are virtually perfect indications of how the election will pan out, the Undecideds and those not polled could be the one’s who really decide the ultimate outcome.

    So according to stats.govt website there’s 600k kiwis living abroad.
    And according to the Ray Morgan Poll 9% didn’t answer, so if we extrapolate that 9% to our population (4407k according to govt stats population clock) gives us 396.6k did not answerer’s.

    So nearly a million kiwis not represented in this poll, or 22.6% of the population. Which means that if we look at Nationals commanding lead of 53%, it would be a mistake to assume this means certain victory – even if this poll is a spot on perfect prediction of how the populace would vote, as it only represents that proportion who were surveyed and chose to disclose their voting intentions. Since only 77.4% of the population has been represented, the poll only tells us that 41.02% would vote for National. Of course that would translate to 23.22% for Labour incidentally. 22.6% haven’t shown there cards yet, and voter apathy occurs at home and abroad. There could be more apathy at home than abroad so the numbers would skew even more and that 22.6% figure could be an even greater proportion… NACT don’t have this in the bag for certain even if these polls are perfectly accurate predictions.

    • Reality Bytes 13.1

      I got the numbers wrong a bit there since I calculated the 22.6% figure using 4407k as the pop. when I should have added the 600k for those abroad. So redoing the figures it works out at 19.97% Not represented in the poll (abroad + not answerer’s). And 42.41% Nat voters, 24.01% Lab voters. Still not certain NACT victory, 42% is not 50%+.

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