web analytics
The Standard

The flat patch

Written By: - Date published: 10:18 am, July 5th, 2013 - 16 comments
Categories: election 2014, greens, labour, national, polls - Tags:

I’ve been having a look at the Roy Morgan trend. Oddly, I don’t see this Labour ‘flat patch’ that people are claiming is happening. What is happening is that the Greens are trending slightly down (as it usually does mid-term) and Labour isn’t rising fast enough to offset that. We’re still some way off the safe-zone for Labour+Greens, and the question is whether we’ll get there.

Labour averaged 33.1% in the past three months of Roy Morgans, that’s its highest quarterly average under Shearer. Labour has risen an average of 0.6 per quarter under Shearer, and kept up with that average last quarter. The graph below is 3-month rolling averages.

roy morgan labour green national

The combined Labour+Green figure is improving more slowly because of the Greens’ average 0.3% per quarter decline, giving Lab+Green a combined average 0.3% improvement per quarter and stalled last quarter.

In the graph below, I’ve got the rolling average of National vs Labour+Greens and shown the level Labour+Greens needs to beat to govern without other parties, and the level below which National won’t be able to cobble together a coalition. In between, New Zealand First is kingmaker (the conventional wisdom is that makes it odds on National – I wouldn’t put weight too much on the conventional wisdom when it comes to Winston).

roy morgan labourgreen national With 7-ish quarters to go until the next election, the trends would see Labour+Greens at 47.5% by election time, a percent short, that could potentially be made up by MANA, and National at 40.5%.

But, yeah, trends.

When was the last quarter that Labour averaged as high as it is now? December 2010. It had peaked at 33.6% the previous quarter. Less then a year later, Labour had plunged to its worst result in generations. You can’t bet on these trends, you have to make them happen.

Of course, the situation is a lot better now than then, because the Greens are averaging 12% now vs 8% back then and Nationa’s averaging 43%, not 51%. Then, the fear was that National might govern alone. Now, it’s that National might be able to govern with New Zealand First.

The situation is OK, not fantastic, but victory is in near reach for the Left. The fear is that Shearer will fluff election year like Goff did, and for much the same reasons, and that not enough of the lost votes will go to the Greens. I’m not worried about any current ‘flat patch’ as much as I am about Shearer coping when the acid goes on.

His inability to dismiss a couple of bad polls cleanly, the way that a seasoned politician like Key would, highlights the problem with the relatively raw Shearer.

The votes that have come Labour’s way seem to be more dissatisfaction with National than buying the Labour brand – and that’s because the Labour has yet to firmly brand itself and National, and Shearer and Key. The language and the lines of attack seem to shift each week. That’s self-defeating, and it suggests the same underlying problem that Labour had under Goff – it doesn’t know what it wants to stand for, so it doesn’t really end up standing for anything.

The nascent stuff is there, the party that will roll up its sleeves and get NZ working (jobs, fairness etc) vs the government that’s too busy cutting secret deals to look after ordinary people (SkyCity, job cuts etc) but its never articulated simply and over and over again.

Shearer’s challenge is to pull off that messaging while dealing competently with the predictable and unpredictable events that will arise, and convince New Zealanders that he has what it takes to be PM. The question for Labour is whether it believes he can do the job.

16 comments on “The flat patch”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    What ice field? Flank speed!

  2. Lanthanide 2

    One interesting point is that wasted votes, eg those that voted for a party that doesn’t make the 5% threshold, strengthen the largest bloc in parliament.

    At the last couple of elections, that has been National. But in this upcoming election, it’s likely that Labour + Greens > National.

    So if Winston doesn’t get back in, and any extra wasted vote from Maori P, UF, Act, Conservatives and Mana would favour Labour.

    The difference can actually be quite dramatic: a government of Labour + Greens + Mana + Maori (assuming 1 and 3 seats) if NZFirst get 5%, vs a government of Labour + Greens if NZFirst get 4.9%.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Which would be why National is stalling on dropping the threshold to 3% or 4%.

      • Stalling? I thought they were pretending nobody even brought up the idea, along with that whole thing about removing the electorate exemption.

        Honestly though I think their self-interest plays well here, as taken as a whole the recommendations were terrible and shouldn’t be implemented, even though some individual ones were OK.

  3. Olwyn 3

    When Labour shows that it intends to take genuine, unequivocal steps toward turning our Ponzi economy into a real economy, when it firmly promises to stop the draconian treatment of beneficiaries and the undermining of the unions, when it guarantees we will not be spied on under their watch; when it promises to either tax the rich to achieve these things, or at least demand their positive participation; when they show such commitment that I can rule out their forming a grand coalition with, or giving confidence and supply to, National, then I may be able to take an interest in whether or not the polls are flat lining.

    • Murray Olsen 3.1

      I think we’ll be waiting a while, Olwyn. You mention all the things that make it more than just a problem that can be fixed by a telegenic leader. Just as well I never took much interest in polls, and luckily Mana and Greens exist.

    • Colonial Viper 3.2

      +1 Olwyn

  4. McFlock 4

    Pretty much agree with that assessment, James.

    re: the greens vote, my recollection (not just from 2011, for the “it was just coz of the Rena” crowd) is that they tend to campaign very well, then lose percentages during the term (probably due to larger-party exposure). I reckon over the next few elections they’ll stabilise at the ~20% mark. As someone said yesterday, if Bread Stale is predicting 10% for the greens, that’s a good omen for them :)

  5. Enough is Enough 5

    Key cannot govern next year without Winston.

    Ket is popular. Probably the most popular PM ever. He will retain strong populaity into the next election. If his 5 years of making a shambles of this country hasn’t dented his popularity yet, I can’t see anything damaging him in the next 15 months.

    That means his only potenetial partner needs to be taken out.

    We should be using our collective energy now to highlight how racist and out of touch Winston is. An ideal scenario is Winston polling 4.9%. How do we make it happen?

    • If Winston gets 4.9%, he deserves at least 4.9% of the house. Let’s not sink to their level please, if Labour can’t govern with just the Greens, but they can govern, then they should make the best of that, and hope to grow into a two-party majority.

  6. Pete 6

    I do think Christchurch will swing away from National next year. People aren’t very happy there. Auckland just got a big spending commitment, though. If Labour can keep to that and ensure they won’t need to sell their assets, I think they’ll make some headway.

  7. Yes 7

    Are you guys serious. The man ban is a killer…men will now flock to Maori, mana, nzf and oh..wait for it national.

    Redistribute the polls..national up 5.. Nzf up 1 Maori up 1 and mana up 1.

    Will that leaves the gays and greens holding up only 25% of the voting population.

    Vote Labour and be told what to do. At least Helen Clarke had balls

  8. Andrew 8

    These charts are interesting.

    Rolling averages are usually used to smooth out trend lines when you have very small per wave sample sizes (eg, 50-200 per wave) but for this poll you’ve got somewhere around 900 per wave.

    What’s your logic for using a rolling average on such a large sample?

    Given the frequency of this poll and the sample sizes, the overall trends are still fairly clear. (Estimates at n=900 are usually pretty reliable.)

    Aren’t you removing contextual effects, which is one of the key advantages of the Roy Morgan poll? Because it’s so regular and has a large sample size, it should be very useful for seeing the influence of recent political events. Isn’t this advantage being removed because you’re using a rolling average?

    • lprent 8.1

      Can’t answer for the James, but I’d say that it makes quite a bit of difference to the display. In the end what you are interested in with polls are trends, not individual data points. It usually takes several months for political events to go from them happening to making a voting intention effect in voting population. So anyone interested in politics looks at the trends rather than the points..

      Why? There is a lot of jitter in any poll (for a number of reasons). That in the Morgan poll is something in the order of +-3% from the observed variations (and their statistical variation is in the same order) – which is pretty easy to observe in the graph’s points. You can literally see a poll in one two week period for a party to drop by 3% and then jump up by 6%.

      So it makes sense to project political samples as a rolling average to look at the underlying trend.. It gets rid of the unusable jitter

      • Andrew 8.1.1

        “It usually takes several months for political events to go from them happening to making a voting intention effect in voting population.”

        That’s not really true though. The impact on voting intention depends on the specific event. Did you see how quickly John Key became preferred PM?

        Something I posted on DimPost:

        “Some survey methods should theoretically produce more stable results and less noise than others. When I talk about stability, I’m not talking about results that don’t change. Results should of course change to reflect ‘true changes’ in public sentiment. An unstable or volatile poll will fluctuate more around whatever the true value is, whereas a stable poll will fluctuate less around that value and less within the given margin of sampling error.

        I appreciate that it’s hard to know what the ‘true value’ is, especially for a political poll when you only get that value once every three years. Political polls are the most visible and public polls, but actually they are in the minority relative to all surveys carried out in NZ. There are many other surveys, that have been carried out over many years, and there is a large body of international research in the area of survey methodology, which suggests there are some good and not-so-good ways to carry out a survey. Someone recently said to me “Surveys are easy to do, but are hard (and expensive) to do well.” Really – anyone at all can bang a survey together and claim that the results are robust.

        I do understand that most people are not at all interested in survey methods, so views about which surveys are right/wrong will always be based on more obvious things such as frequency, sample size, online/landline/cell phone sampling, whether the results are consistent with our views based on events at the time, which blogs we read, and which hairs on the back of our necks stand up.”

        I’ve put together a matrix detailing NZ public poll methods, if anyone is interested. There is quite a lot of information available about how companies carry out their polls:
        https://grumpollie.wordpress.com/nz-public-poll-methods-grid/

        The following two websites are also useful if anyone is interested in what makes a good/bad survey:

        AAPOR: http://www.aapor.org/Poll_andamp_Survey_FAQ/5511.htm

        UK Magenta book (Chapter 5 in particular): http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/the_complete_magenta_book_2007_edition2.pdf

      • Andrew 8.1.2

        “In the end what you are interested in with polls are trends, not individual data points.”

        Actually I don’t believe this to be true either. If the poll is reasonably non-volatile, those changes between data points can provide insight into what the public really care about. Very useful for political strategists.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Stalled TPP chance for wider discussion
    Failure to get the TPP agreement across the line gives New Zealanders an opportunity to put more pressure on the Government not to sign away our sovereignty, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.“New Zealand land, dairy and medicines are up for… ...
    20 hours ago
  • Will poor TPP dairy outcome stop National selling out our homes?
    After failing to protect the right to stop foreign speculators buying our houses it’s clear the Government is not going to get wins on dairy in their TPP negotiations either, Labour’s Trade and Export spokesperson David Parker says. “Labour has… ...
    2 days ago
  • Feeling aspirational
    Yesterday the Rich List showed the number of people who have over 50 million of wealth had increased by another 15 people since last year. Collectively this group are now worth 55 billion, an increase of over 7% since last… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Feeling aspirational
    Yesterday the Rich List showed the number of people who have over 50 million of wealth had increased by another 15 people since last year. Collectively this group are now worth 55 billion, an increase of over 7% since last… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Feeling aspirational
    Yesterday the Rich List showed the number of people who have over 50 million of wealth had increased by another 15 people since last year. Collectively this group are now worth 55 billion, an increase of over 7% since last… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Bennett’s legacy a test for Tolley
    Former Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has been thrown under the bus by her successor after its been suggested that Ms Bennett gave the green light to an ‘unethical’ observational study of high-risk children, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.… ...
    2 days ago
  • Submission to Greater Christchurch Earthquake Recovery: Transition to Rege...
    Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Draft Transition Recovery Plan on behalf of the New Zealand Labour Party.  It is important that the citizens of Canterbury have a voice in the governance of the next step of… ...
    2 days ago
  • Troubled school wanted $25,000 dollars to fence farm
    The troubled Whangaruru charter school asked Hekia Parata for $25,000 to fence the school farm at the expense of spending on teaching, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This unbelievable revelation comes hard on the heels of Hekia Parata’s decision to… ...
    3 days ago
  • Troubled school wanted $25,000 dollars to fence farm
    The troubled Whangaruru charter school asked Hekia Parata for $25,000 to fence the school farm at the expense of spending on teaching, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This unbelievable revelation comes hard on the heels of Hekia Parata’s decision to… ...
    3 days ago
  • Government report on sexual & family violence a good first step
    Yesterday the Government released the cabinet paper on progress on the work programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Along with the Human Rights Commissioner and Women’s Refuge, I really welcome the report. I’m relieved that… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Government report on sexual & family violence a good first step
    Yesterday the Government released the cabinet paper on progress on the work programme of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence. Along with the Human Rights Commissioner and Women’s Refuge, I really welcome the report. I’m relieved that… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Prisoner voting disqualification and the Bill of Rights Act
    In 2010, National rammed the Electoral (Disqualification of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill through Parliament. Paul Quinn’s Member’s Bill existed because Paul Quinn thought anyone who’d been imprisoned was a serious offender, and serious offenders had ‘forfeited’ their right to vote.… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    3 days ago
  • Mainfreight ‘appalled’ by Government’s rail madness
    The Government has been given a serve by New Zealand-based international trucking and logistics firm Mainfreight which says it lacks a national transport strategy, and has treated rail badly, Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The company has told shareholders it… ...
    4 days ago
  • National’s Health and Safety Reform Bill: less safety and fewer rights at...
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions is embarking on a campaign to fight the changes that weaken the Health and Safety Reform bill. As part of the campaign the CTU has organised vigils with the display of 291 crosses… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    4 days ago
  • All options need to be put on meat sector table
    Farmers must be given every assurance that all potential risks have been considered before Silver Fern Farms opens its door to foreign equity, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The ongoing saga involving the meat sector and amalgamation has… ...
    4 days ago
  • Flag the referendum if 50% or more don’t vote
    Labour has moved to have the second flag referendum canned if the first attracts fewer than half the eligible number of voters, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “John Key has already wasted more than $8 million on his vanity project… ...
    4 days ago
  • 90,000 cars reclassified in botched ACC ratings
    New figures obtained by Labour show the ACC Minister’s botched motor vehicle levy system has resulted in 90,000 vehicles having to be reclassified so far – at a cost of $6 million, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Nikki Kaye’s… ...
    4 days ago
  • Brutal health cuts confirmed, crucial services suffer
    Chronic under-funding by National has seen the health budget slashed by $1.7 billion in just five years, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A report by Infometrics, commissioned by Labour, shows health funding has been cut in four of the… ...
    5 days ago
  • Meth ring under Serco’s nose
    The news that two Serco inmates have been arrested for helping to run a methamphetamine ring from prison should be the final straw and see their contract cancelled, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “National has stood by Serco despite… ...
    5 days ago
  • Ministers failing women and their own targets
    New figures showing just five Ministers have met the Government’s own reduced targets for appointing women to state sector boards is evidence National is failing Kiwi women, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The Ministry for Women’s 2015 Gender… ...
    5 days ago
  • Charges up for some as funding up for grabs
    A proposal being considered by the Government would see some people having to pay more for health care and district health boards forced to fight amongst themselves to fund regional health services, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Information leaked… ...
    5 days ago
  • Stop experimenting on kids
    The trouble with the Charter school model is that it is a publicly funded experiment on children. The National Government has consistently put its desire to open charter schools ahead of the safety of the children in them, ignoring repeated… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    6 days ago
  • Bank puts the squeeze on mid Canterbury farmers
    News that an unnamed bank in Ashburton has put a receiver on notice over financially vulnerable farmers will send a chill through rural New Zealand, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government needs to work with  New Zealand’s banks… ...
    6 days ago
  • Key is trading away New Zealand land and homes
    John Key yesterday admitted what National dishonestly refused to confirm in Parliament last week – he is trading away New Zealand’s right to control who buys our homes and land, says Opposition leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister must now… ...
    6 days ago
  • Razor gang takes scalpel to health
    Plans by the Government to take a scalpel to democratically elected health boards are deceitful and underhand, coming just months after an election during which they were never signalled, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says “Leaked documents reveals a radical… ...
    6 days ago
  • Spin lines show a department in chaos
    Corrections Spin Doctors sending their place holder lines to journalists instead of responding to serious allegations shows the scale of chaos at the department over the Serco scandal, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “As more and more serious allegations… ...
    1 week ago
  • Court ruling shows law should never have been passed
    A High Court ruling that a law banning prisoners from voting is inconsistent with a properly functioning democracy should be a wake-up call for the Government, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. In an unprecedented ruling Justice Paul Heath has… ...
    1 week ago
  • Judicial Review Gamble Pays Off for Problem Gambling Foundation
    Congratulations are due to the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGFNZ) who have won their legal case around how the Ministry of Health decided to award their contracts for problem gambling services to another service provider. Congratulations are due not just for… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Environmental Protection Agency appoints GE advocate as new CEO
    This week, the Environmental Protection Authority Amendment Bill passed its first reading in Parliament. The Bill puts protection of the environment into the core purpose of the Environmental Protection Authority. This month, Dr Allan Freeth, the former Chief Executive of… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Charanpreet Dhaliwal death demands genuine health and safety reform
    The killing of a security guard on his first night on the job is exactly the kind of incident that National’s watered-down health and safety bill won’t prevent, says Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford. The coronial inquest into 22-year-old Charanpreet… ...
    1 week ago
  • Arbitrary sanctions hit children hardest
    Increasing numbers of single parents are being penalised under a regime that is overly focussed on sanctions rather than getting more people into work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Figures, obtained through Parliamentary questions show 3000 more sanctions,… ...
    1 week ago
  • Hekia just won’t face the facts
    Hekia Parata’s decision to keep troubled Whangaruru Charter school open despite being presented with a catalogue of failure defies belief, goes against official advice and breaks a Government promise to close these schools if they were failing, says Labour’s Education… ...
    1 week ago
  • No more silent witnesses
    Yesterday I attended the launch of a new initiative developed by and for Asian, Middle eastern and African youth to support young people to name and get support if there is domestic violence at home. The impact on children of… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Single Use Plastic Bags campaign – Some wins and some green-washing
    As we near the end of Plastic Free July I’m nearing the conclusion of my Say No To Plastic Bag tour when I will have completed all 30 of my public meetings. The campaign was designed to work with community… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 week ago
  • Minister must take responsibility for problem gambling debacle
    The Government’s handling of the Problem Gambling Foundation’s axing in a cost-cutting exercise has been ham-fisted and harmful to some of the most vulnerable people in society, Associate Health Labour spokesperson David Clark says.“Today’s court ruling overturning the axing of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour will not support TPP if it undermines NZ sovereignty
    The Labour Party will not support the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement unless key protections for New Zealanders are met, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.“Labour supports free trade. However, we will not support a TPP agreement that undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty. ...
    1 week ago
  • Coleman can’t ignore latest warnings
    Resident doctors have advised that a severe staffing shortage at North Shore Hospital is putting patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “They say a mismatch between staffing levels and patient workloads at North Shore has… ...
    1 week ago
  • ACC must remove barriers to appeals
    The Government must prioritise removing barriers to justice for ACC claimants following a damning report by Acclaim Otago, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “ACC Minister Nikki Kaye must urgently scrap her flawed plan to remove claimant’s right to redress… ...
    1 week ago
  • Six months’ paid parental leave back on the agenda
    Six months’ paid parental leave is back on the agenda and a step closer to reality for Kiwi parents after Labour’s new Member’s Bill was pulled from today’s ballot, the Bill’s sponsor and Labour MP Sue Moroney says. “My Bill… ...
    1 week ago
  • Sole parents at risk of having no income
    New requirements for sole parents to undertake a reapplication process after a year is likely to mean a large number will face benefit cancellations, but not because they have obtained work, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “Increasing numbers… ...
    1 week ago
  • Juking the Welfare Stats Again
    Last week the government’s major initiative to combat child poverty (a paltry $25 increase) was exposed for what it is, a lie. The Government, through the Budget this year, claims to be engaging in the child poverty debate, but instead,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • OCR rate cut a result of flagging economy
    The Reserve Bank's decision to cut the Official Cash Rate to 3 per cent shows there is no encore for the so-called 'rock star' economy, says Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.   "Today's interest rate cut comes off the back… ...
    1 week ago
  • Reboot to an innovation economy, an Internet economy and a clean economy
    In my short 33 years on this planet we’ve seen phenomenal technological, economic and social change, and it’s realistic to expect the next 33 will see even more, even faster change. You can see it in the non-descript warehouse near… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill that puts the environment into the EPA passes first hurdle
    A Bill that puts the environment squarely into legislation governing the Environmental Protection Authority passed its first reading today, says Meka Whaitiri.  “I introduced this member’s bill as the current law doesn’t actually make protecting the environment a goal of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Key’s KiwiSaver deception exposed
    KiwiSaver statistics released today expose John Key's claim that the cutting of the kickstart payment "will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver” to be duplicitous, says Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “Official… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minimum Wage Amendment Bill to protect contractors
    All New Zealanders should be treated fairly at work. Currently, the law allows non-employment relationships to be used to get around the minimum wage. This is unfair, says Labour MP David Parker. “The Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment Bill, a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill raises bar to protect Kiwi farmland
    The Government’s rubber-stamping of every one of the nearly 400 applications from overseas investors to buy New Zealand farm land over the last three years proves tougher laws are needed, Labour MP Phil Goff says. “In the last term of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Costly flag referendum should be dumped
    John Key must ditch the flag referendum before any more taxpayer money is wasted, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Millions of dollars could be saved if the Prime Minister called a halt to this hugely expensive, and highly unpopular, vanity… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats letting Serco off scot free
    Government members have prevented Parliament’s Law and Order select committee from getting answers out of a senior Serco director about the fight clubs being run at Mt Eden prisons, says Labour’s Corrections Spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “At today’s Law and Order… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere