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Run of bad polls gets worse for Nats

Written By: - Date published: 10:47 am, May 20th, 2010 - 47 comments
Categories: Economy - Tags:

The latest Roy Morgan poll makes for grim reading for the government ahead of what promsies to be an unpopular budget.

Confidence in government is now bouncing between net 25% and 30% positive. That compares to 55% last October. Put that another way: 1 in 8 Kiwis have gone from having a postive view of this government to a negative one in the past half year, and it’s showing up in the party’s numbers.

National plus ACT (the Right) now equals 51%. That was 59% in October. National on 48.5% at its lowest since February 2009.

The Left (Labour, Greens, Progressives) now stand at 43% up from 34.5% in October.

Labour is up 7.5% from its low this electoral cycle, although there will be disappointment that they’re not pick it up more. The Greens are the big winners though. As with every electoral cycle some stupid commentators have been saying the Greens might not get back in, buggering the Left. Well, at 9% they look pretty solid.

The gap between the two sides has gone from 24.5% to 8%. In other words, if National has another period as bad as the past half year, it loses in 2011.

The next election has always been National’s to lose. With mining, whaling, visionless economic policy, public service cuts, and a ‘tax switch’ that puts our money in the rich elite’s pockets, the Nats seem to be doing their damnest to do just that.

47 comments on “Run of bad polls gets worse for Nats”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    I think if there was a serious chance that the Greens wouldn’t make it past the 5% threshold, and Labour needed them to form a coalition, there would be many willing Labour voters who would vote Green in order to get Labour into government. I know I certainly would.

    This is assuming that the Green party hadn’t done anything retarded to jeopardise themselves.

  2. Nemesis 2

    You seem to have trouble reading Marty.

    For Labour to get into government it needs the Greens to score double digits, NZ First to make it back into Parliament, and to mend fences with the Maori Party. All three are a tall order. As long as Labour wallows on 33.5% they’ve got no chance of getting back into government. Nice that you’re an optimist.

    The National Party on 48.5% means they can govern alone.

    • gobsmacked 2.1

      Marty was commenting on the trend. Which is clear.

      If National want to try and govern without the Maori Party (and judging by the last week or so, it looks like they do), then National/ACT will need 48-49%. That takes into account wasted votes, and possible overhang.

      So provided National does nothing to alienate any more voters for the next 18 months, they’ll be fine.

      Good luck with that.

      • Ari 2.1.1

        There are many voters that will actually require more than nothing alienating them to vote for a party. Not everyone is terribly motivated to vote at all, let alone for a specific bloc.

    • Bright Red 2.2

      neme. you’re assuming no more decline in National’s ratings. That’s pretty f*cken stupid.

      The whole point of this post and of polls at this stage is trends.

      Are the trends for National looking good?

      • Nemesis 2.2.1

        Yes I think national’s numbers will improve. They’re already much better than at the last election, and at the next election National will have governed over lowering unemployment and got through the worst recession the world has had in 80 years, with much lower deficits than when labour was in power. Labour left a broken econommy in its wake unprepared for the world recession, with five years of no growth in the productive sector before the international recession hit. All their answers to fiscal management are to spend billions more. Labour are a joke.

        • gobsmacked 2.2.1.1

          Nemesis, if your psephological analysis is as sharp as your economic analysis, National are in real trouble.

        • Bright Red 2.2.1.2

          Nemesis. Unemployment is up under National, it only dropped last quarter. It’s still up by tens of thousands on where it was when National came to power.

          Labour didn’t run deficits. Remember how you lot used to bitch about Cullen running too large surpluses? Labour left a govt in the best possible position for a recession: no net debt and effectively fully employment.

          • Alwyn 2.2.1.2.1

            Yes it dropped during the first quarter of the year.
            Of course the Trend you are talking about is in the first quarter of the year.
            Perhaps National can claim that the trend in unemployment is for it to be going rapidly down.
            Alternatively perhaps we can say that the number of people who say that they would pick National if an election was held today is hundreds of thousands up on the number at the last election who voted National.
            In either case it is silly to look at the trend in a three month period and say it is significant in one case but not in the other.
            The differences in the numbers in the polls is still within the margin of error.
            I expect the National polling figures to drop. There has only been ONE occasion in the last 70 years when a party got more than 50% of the votes in an election. That was in 1951.

        • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.3

          You’re really showing your delusion there.

          1.) Labour left the economy in the best possible shape to weather the recession according to Blinglish
          2.) National may have governed over lowering unemployment but not due to anything that they’ve done (which really does count BTW)

          on top of those

          3.) They’ve supported whaling
          4.) They’ve supported mining protected areas of NZ
          5.) They’ve done a tax swap that puts more taxes on the 92% of people that don’t pay the top tax rate and given it to the people who do – most notably, themselves.

  3. ianmac 3

    I have vacillated between Green Labour and thought of asking if I could have two Party votes so I could vote for both. If by voting Green it left Labour without a body it would be a wasted vote. Torn. 🙁

    • Nemesis 3.1

      It’s hard to believe the greens will get double figures with Norman and Turei. Any assumption that they can form a government based on the greens getting double figures is loony. Labour won’t be able to form a government unless they get forty percent of the vote, and they are way below that now.

    • outofbed 3.2

      IMHO The only way the Greens will get into double figures is to take it from the left of labour
      Labour is pretty much a centrist party nowadays with a rightish leader so that shouldn’t be too difficult 🙂

      • That’s the sort of thinking that just elected David Cameron PM. Think of how those suckered British lefties feel now, having tactically voted Liberal to send Labour a message and ending up with Call Me Dave in Downing Street instead of the Lib Lab coalition they assumed they’d get. Taking votes off each other is pointless mathematically and bad strategically.

        I’d be interested in if and how you think Labour and the Greens can work together to lift the overall left vote, because that’s what is needed. I think Goff, even at single figures in the Hollywood stakes, can stitch together a coalition on numbers only a little better than are in the Morgan Poll, but we have to give people a reason to vote left. For mine, that means agreeing publicly pre-election that both parties intend to work together in the next Government and inviting other parties to indicate their willingness to be in, or at least work with, a progressive alternative.

        Most European countries are used to left and right blocs being formulated prior to elections. It’s a quite useful form of electoral branding under MMP and treats voters with respect. They can still vote for their party of choice,but with a reasonable certainty as to the outcome if their party’s bloc wins enough votes overall.

    • Ari 3.3

      Ian: Actually, the way the algorithm works, it’s probably mathematically optimal to vote for the smaller of the two parties in terms of number of seats a potential coalition has in Parliament, as the algorithm used in New Zealand is more generous to smaller parties. Given that you’re transferring vote share between two parties you both support and that are likely to enter coalition together, you’re unlikely to effect the overall size of the government with any significance on your own.

      Really, who you give your party vote to should be a matter of which policy direction you want to be stronger in the next government. The only risk of giving your vote to the Greens is if Labour is in a position to cut them out of a potential coalition to gain support of other minor parties- which doesn’t seem particularly likely with UF small again and NZF polling below the threshold.

  4. Pat 4

    National’s on 48.5%? They must be shaking in their boots.

    • Armchair Critic 4.1

      18 months to go. I encourage National to be complacent too, but probably for different reasons than yours.
      The poll itself doesn’t seem to show much difference to the last one. The government approval rating, which was dropping previously, seems to have stopped dropping, that’s about the only trend that interested me.

      • lprent 4.1.1

        ditto – the direct polls seem to be far too sensitive to short term events and outright sentiment in the mid-term.

        The GCR in the morgan poll is more indicative of actual mood in my observation. It appears to have dropped to a lower plateau for the moment. It is going to be interesting to see what it does after the budget and the subsequent weeks of discussion.

        • Armchair Critic 4.1.1.1

          LP – last poll you commented about a possible plateau in the GCR and it appears you were right.
          At the time I wondered whether there was a relationship between movements in the GCR and the “undecided” percentage. It occurred to me that when the number of undecideds rose the GCR would move. When I have time I will put the figures into a spreadsheet and look for a trend.

          • lprent 4.1.1.1.1

            Just looking by eye, there doesn’t appear to be a particularly high correlation.

            However I suspect that there is one is to the spikey up and down when it does plateau. Just looks like the sampling ‘error’ when multiplied through using Morgans calc. That is why I don’t get excited by the 5% to 6% movements up and down.

  5. vidiot 5

    If you want to look at trends compare – May 3-16, 2010 to November 17-30, 2008. Not really much difference in 18 odd months.

    • snoozer 5.1

      that’s not a trend vidiot. Look at the graphs, the turning points.

      If you ignore the fact that Natioanl rose between your two dates and is now falling you miss what’s actually happening.

      But I guess that’s just more comfortable for you.

  6. Doug 6

    Marty G: Dreaming National more popular now than Election time.

    Dates: 20 October to 02 November 2008

    Client: Self Published

    Report: Roy Morgan Website

    Party Support

    National 42.0% (-1.0%)
    Labour 34.5% (+2.5%)
    Green 10.0% (-1.5%)
    NZ First 4.5% (nc)
    Maori 2.5% (nc)
    United Future 1.0% (+0.5%)
    ACT 4.0% (+0.5%)
    Progressive 0.0% (-0.5%)
    Other 1.5% (-0.5%)

    • snoozer 6.1

      Do none of the rightards understand what a trend is? Look at the graphs. see how there’s a turning point? see the direction National’s numbers are heading in? that’s the trend.

      • Clarke 6.1.1

        Exactly. The direction for the Nats is irrevocably downwards, so the only really interesting data point is how steep the line is – how far and how fast will their popularity fall?

  7. big bruv 7

    If Labour want this poll trend to continue then they have to do one thing.

    Keep Goff away from the press.

    He is your biggest problem.

  8. kriswgtn 8

    People tend to forget the Huge number of Labour voters who didnt bother to vote in 2008

    It is up to Labour to get out there and get them off their backsides to vote

    Labour HAVE to get rid of GOFF BECAUSE HE JUST DONT CUT IT AS A PM

    [lprent

    MINIMIZE THE SHOUTING BECAUSE IT HURTS MY EYES. IF YOU HAVE TO RELY ON IT, THEN IT PROBABLY MEANS YOU ARE UNCONFIDENT IN YOUR ABILITY TO GET YOUR POINT ACROSS. AND ANYWAY I CAN SHOUT LOUDER THAN YOU.

    ]

  9. Sanctuary 9

    The problem I have with the Green’s polling at 9% is they have a tradition of having supporters who don’t seem to bother voting.

    • Alwyn 9.1

      I don’t think that they have supporters who don’t vote as much as having people who think they look kind, generous, good to the environment and so on by saying they are going to vote Green.
      When they actually get to vote in a secret ballot they then vote Labour, National or New Zealand First etc.
      It was the same in Britain when the vote actually received by the Lib/Dems was lower than the Polls said it would be.
      The Greens tend to get only about two thirds of the vote that the polls immediately before and after the election would indicate.
      A month ago I thought they would have difficulty getting over the 5% threshold. They probably will although they should concentrate more on green issues rather than the general gamut of left wing politics.
      The approach that says the trend has swung away from National is pushing things pretty hard. The actual Budget will swing things back their way. It comes across as a very clever set of proposals, far more so than I expected. It’s really quite hard to attack it without coming across as merely National Bad/ Labour Good.

    • outofbed 9.2

      Are you making it up as you go along?

  10. Croc 10

    The next election has always been National’s to lose. With mining, whaling, visionless economic policy, public service cuts, and a ‘tax switch’ that puts our money in the rich elite’s pockets, the Nats seem to be doing their damnest to do just that.

    Expect in about 6 months time the inoculations beginning. National will begin to spin everything in its favour, Crosby-Textor will be conniving in the background and unfortunately the NZ public has a very short memory. To be honest I don’t think Phil Goff has much chance against John Key. Anything could happen in 18 months. Don’t forget it only takes one Orewa speech to swing the trend back to National if they can find an issue topical enough.

    • Joe Blog 10.1

      “Don’t forget it only takes one Orewa speech to swing the trend back to National if they can find an issue topical enough.”

      Likewise for Labour/Greens to decisively alter the game.

  11. Joe Blog 11

    The summary on Roy Morgan makes interesting reading:

    [deleted]

    (http://www.roymorgan.com.au/)

    [lprent: In your own words rather than simply quoting – the link was sufficent. I think most of us have already read the poll, and the only interesting thing is the trend in the GCR this year. Plummeted. ]

    • Joe Blog 11.1

      I disagree about that trend being the only interesting thing lprent.

      I think the most interesting things from this poll are:
      1) Labours polling hasn’t changed in this latest poll cycle
      2) The number of people saying this country is heading in the right direction has increased by 4% while compared to those saying it is heading in the wrong direction has decreased by 1.5%.

      We have recently seen the what were described as the biggest protests in a generation against this governments mining plans, along with some of Phill Goff’s best speeches and public performances (in my opinion at least) since becoming leader and they appear to have made zero impact to Labours overall support.

      While Labour is doing some good things around listening to the average person (eg their open government initiative) they seem hell bent on pursuing the suggestion that I hear almost daily from Labour supporters and that is find a new leader.

      • lprent 11.1.1

        You should read some of the previous discussion between myself and gingercrush on the GCR. But basically..

        1. A GCR +/- needs to be over 6% to be of any interest. That is about how much it varies between polls when it is staying in the same position.

        2. Looking at differences between polls that are well inside the margin of error is just the sign of someone being obsessive about numbers rather than being intelligent. It merely indicates sampling errors are more likely than anything significant. If the changes two polls are less than the MOR, then trend of a series of polls is the only thing that is significiant. Morgan gives the graphs read them (and weep).

        3. The inherent basis of telephone based polling means that absolute numbers or percentages are totally subject to the methodology. Which is why it is difficult if not impossible to compare between different polls. (At least you haven’t done that).

        4. Polls, especially in mid-term, are laggy on events by quite a few weeks and frequently by months. People take time to adsorb information.

        5. Anyway, did you check the dates that the poll was taken? Bearing in mind that the anti-mining was only a few weeks ago, and so were the speeches you’re referring to – then it is likely that they might not have happened by the time the poll was taken.

        • Joe Blog 11.1.1.1

          Thanks for the comments (1-3) I’ll go back and have a look at your conversations on the GCR.

          However as for points 4 and 5 I thought the same thing however in this case the polling was done the Monday directly after the protest and carried on for the next two weeks. As a result I would have expected to see at least a small upswing due to the anger and promotion of the issue, however the fact there has been none I think should a concern to Labour. If their ratings don’t change following the next poll then they should be deeply concerned as it would indicate that they made absolutely no connection with the public on this issue and the if current team have been unable to manage it under those circumstances they’re never going to.

          • lprent 11.1.1.1.1

            I didn’t check the dates, but I wouldn’t read too much into the poll. It is too close to the events you’re interested in.

            You did see a wee upswing (but well within the margin of error). The greens went up as they have been doing slowly for a while. The anti-mining march was organised by greenpeace and forest and bird. The politicians just came along for the ride.

            But I usually find that polls lag events by quite a lot except under some specific conditions. Peoples initial reaction is usually not to change their mind by much unless it is a directly emotional issue (like a bomb killing people or an Owera type speech). They will have a think about things, converse with other people, and come to a conclusion weeks or months after an event. This is particularly evident in polls that sample a range of people who usually don’t bother placing too much importance on politics (unlike online polls which self-select for activists and people with a gripe)

            • Joe Blog 11.1.1.1.1.1

              This was an Orewa type issue, Lprent.

              It forced up to 40,000 people onto the streets. You know and I know that for every person that actually got off their bums to walk down Queen Street that there were at least another 5-10 who would have agreed with the issue but either couldn’t get to the protest or choose not to.

              As I said if the next poll doesn’t show a increase to Labours polling numbers then nothing will.

              • lprent

                It doesn’t follow that way usually with protests and politics. If you look back through the history of the past 30 years you’ll find that there is seldom a fast change in response to even quite large protests. They don’t produce large effects in the short-term. Just for instance, try and find an effect from that protest with the tractor climbing parliaments steps – which got far more publicity. Or several hikois. Or just about any protest you can name.

                The effect in politics is more subtle. First it activates the activists, they wind up talking to friends and family, and starting to get to work on campaigning – all of which has a cumulative effect. Secondly it has the effect of making the idiots who provoked such a reaction to think again (well apart from Brownlee – hard to see if he thinks much at all) and making them more cautious. Same for their supporters.

                If they’re smart, they shift their policies from the undoable to the doable. Sometimes (like Muldoon successfully did in 1981), they attempt to activate their own wavering supporters using it as a provocation – generally this fails.

                But looking for fast effects from either protests or most speeches is naive. Politics is a long game and short-term effects are usually transient – ask the LibDems leader in the UK

            • Alwyn 11.1.1.1.1.2

              I am interested in your comment (by lprent) about Polls lagging the event by quite a lot.
              Do you have a reference to any research being done on this?
              I had always thought that a long swing in the polls was simply an accumulation of things rather than a delayed reaction but I have nothing to base it on.

              • lprent

                Nothing academic, but I’m sure someone can point you in the direction of some papers on it.

                However, after watching the polls over the last 30 years, that is what I’ve observed. You sometimes get shock events that do shift the polls quite rapidly – like the Owera 1 speech, however even those usually take a couple of months to have their full effect.

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