web analytics

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

  • Brexit vote costs NZ effective EU voice
    Despite being extremely close the result of the referendum in Britain reflects the majority voice, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “While we respect the decision to leave the EU, it goes without saying the move will usher in ...
    13 hours ago
  • Pasifika Education Centre doomed
    The Pasifika Education Centre appears doomed to close down this December, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio  “In a written question I asked the Minister whether he would put a bid in for more money. His answer ...
    19 hours ago
  • Onetai Station review a shameful whitewash
    A report released today on the Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) good character test is a whitewash that does nothing to improve New Zealand’s overseas investment regime, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson David Cunliffe. “The review of the good character test ...
    20 hours ago
  • We need a national strategy to end homelessness now
    Long before I entered Parliament, housing and homelessness were issues dear to my heart. I know from personal experience just how hard it is to find an affordable home in Auckland. In my maiden speech, I talked about how when ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    24 hours ago
  • Capital feels a chill economic wind
      Wellington is on the cusp of recession with a sharp fall in economic confidence in the latest Westpac McDermott Miller confidence survey, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark.  “Economic confidence amongst Wellingtonians has dropped 12% in the past ...
    1 day ago
  • Dive school rort took six years to dredge up
    News that yet another private training establishment (PTE) has rorted the Government’s tertiary funding system since 2009 shows that Steven Joyce has no control of the sector, says Labour’s Associate Education (Tertiary) spokesperson David Cunliffe. “Like Agribusiness Training and Taratahi, ...
    2 days ago
  • National’s housing crisis hitting renters hard
    National’s ongoing housing crisis is causing massive rental increases, with Auckland renters being hit the hardest, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 days ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • A Day with the PSA
    This week, along with Labour MP Kris Faafoi, I accepted an invitation to spend a day working alongside the good folk at the Public Service Association in Wellington. As the Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson for the Greens, I was ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Government holds Northland back
    New information shows Northland remains the most economically depressed region in New Zealand, says Labour’s Regional Development spokesperson David Clark. “The latest Westpac McDermott Miller regional survey found that more Northlanders believe their local economy will deteriorate this year than ...
    2 days ago
  • Rebstock report into MFAT leaks a disgrace
    An Ombudsman’s report on the Paul Rebstock investigation into MFAT leaks shows the two diplomats at the centre of the case were treated disgracefully, says Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi.  “The Ombudsman says one of the diplomats Derek Leask ...
    2 days ago
  • More families forced to turn to food banks for meals
    Increasing numbers of families are having to go to food banks just to put a meal on the table, according to a new report that should shame the Government into action, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    2 days ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    3 days ago
  • We have a housing emergency in New Zealand
    Auckland, New Zealand, where house prices have risen 20 percent in the last year alone We have a housing emergency in New Zealand.  Like many people we are ashamed and angry that in a wealthy country like ours, we have ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    3 days ago
  • Aussie reforms signal trouble ahead for school funding plan
    Plans by the Government to return to bulk funding are likely to see increased class sizes and schools most in need missing out on much-needed resources, Labour’s Acting Education spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The signaled return to bulk funding is ...
    3 days ago
  • Toxic Sites – the down low on the go slow
    In  2011, I negotiated an agreement with the National Government to advance work on cleaning up contaminated sites across the country. This included establishing a National Register of the ten worst sites where the creators of the problem could not ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 days ago
  • Aucklanders face new motorway tax of up to $2500 a year
    The Government wants to tax Aucklanders thousands of dollars a year just to use the motorway network, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Officials estimate the average city commute is 11.8km. This means for the average Aucklander commuting five ...
    3 days ago
  • 15 corrupt bank managers identified in student fraud
    New information show 15 bank managers in India have been identified by Immigration New Zealand as presenting fraudulent documents on behalf of foreign students studying here, Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Documents obtained by Labour under the Official Information ...
    3 days ago
  • National leaves Kiwi savers the most vulnerable in OECD
    News last week that Israel’s Finance Minister will insure savers’ bank deposits means New Zealand will be left as the only country in the OECD that has no deposit insurance to protect savers’ funds should a bank fail. Most Kiwis ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    4 days ago
  • Comprehensive plan for future of work needed
    A Massey University study showing many New Zealanders are unaware of the increasing role of automation in their workplace, highlights the need for a comprehensive plan for the future of work, says Grant Robertson, Chair of Labour’s Future of Work ...
    4 days ago
  • Another National Government failure: 90 day work trials
    On Friday last week, the Treasury released a report by MOTU economic consultants into the effectiveness of the controversial 90-day work trial legislation. The report found that there was “no evidence that the policy affected the number of hires by ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    4 days ago
  • Iraq mission extension case not made
    The Prime Minister has not made the case for extending the Iraq deployment another 18 months nor the expansion of their mission, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “Labour originally opposed the deployment because the Iraqi Army’s track record was poor, ...
    5 days ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • Denial is a long river
    William Rolleston from Federated Farmers made the absurd claim on RNZ on Saturday that “we actually have very clean rivers”. This statement doesn’t represent the many farmers who know water quality is in big trouble and are working to clean ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • Melanoma deaths could be avoided by an early access scheme
      The tragic death of Dunedin’s Graeme Dore from advanced Melanoma underlines the cruelty of this Government in promising a treatment but delaying for months, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson Annette King.  “Graeme was diagnosed with Melanoma last year. He used ...
    5 days ago
  • Assessing the Defence White Paper
    The Government’s recently released Defence White Paper has raised questions again about New Zealand’s defence priorities, and in particular the level and nature of public funding on defensive capabilities. The Green Party has a longstanding belief that priority must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    5 days ago
  • Kiwis’ confidence drops again: Economy needs a boost
    Westpac’s consumer confidence survey has fallen for the seventh time in nine quarters, with middle income households ‘increasingly worried about where the economy is heading over the next few years’, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This survey is a ...
    5 days ago
  • Relocation grant simply kicks can down the road
    The response by state house tenants and social agencies to the Government’s rushed plan to shift families out of Auckland tells us what we already knew – this is no answer to the chronic housing shortage, Opposition Leader Andrew Little ...
    5 days ago
  • Peace hīkoi to Parihaka
    On Friday a Green crew walked with the peace hīkoi from Ōkato to Parihaka. Some of us were from Parliament and some were party members from Taranaki and further afield. It was a cloudy but gentle day and at one ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    5 days ago
  • Children’s Commissioner right to worry about CYF transition
    The Government must listen to the Children’s Commissioner’s concerns that young people under CYF care could be ‘negatively impacted’ as the new agency’s reforms become reality, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. “Dr Russell Wills has used the second annual ...
    5 days ago
  • Bill English exaggerates PPL costs to justify veto
    The Finance Minister has used trumped-up costings to justify a financial veto against parents having 26 weeks paid parental leave, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Bill English’s assertion on RNZ yesterday that the measure would cost an extra $280 million ...
    7 days ago
  • Government must refund overcharged motorists
    Labour is calling on the Government to refund motor registration fees to three-quarters of a million Kiwi motorists whose vehicles were wrongly classified under National’s shambolic ACC motor vehicle risk rating system, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says.“Minister Kaye’s ridiculous ...
    1 week ago
  • 90-day work trials an unfair failure which must change
    A new Treasury report shows the Government’s 90-day trials haven’t helped businesses and are inherently unfair, Labour’s Workplace Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “The Motu report found that 90-day trial periods had no impact on overall employment and did not ...
    1 week ago
  • Massey East houses a start but Nick Smith should think bigger
    The Massey East 196-home development is a start but the Government must think bigger if it is to end the housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “It is great the Government is finally realising it needs to build ...
    1 week ago
  • More changes needed to ensure fewer cases like Teina Pora’s
    Teina Pora spent 21 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, shafted by a Police investigation that prioritised an investigator’s hunch over the pursuit of credible evidence. Yesterday’s announcement that the government is to pay him $2.5m in ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Labour sends condolences to UK
    The New Zealand Labour Party is sickened and saddened by the murder of British Labour MP Jo Cox, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Ms Cox was killed in cold blood while simply doing her job as a constituent MP. She ...
    1 week ago
  • Shameful refugee quota increase still leaves NZ at the bottom of the list
    Minister for Immigration Michael Woodhouse announced this week that the government will put off increasing the refugee quota by 1000 places until 2018.  It’s a shameful decision that undermines the Government’s claim that it takes its international humanitarian obligations seriously, ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Paula Bennett as a victim hard to swallow
    The National Party spin machine has gone into overdrive to try and present Paula Bennett as the victim in the Te Puea Marae smear saga, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Bill English in Parliament today tried valiantly to paint ...
    1 week ago
  • Voters to have the final veto on paid parental leave
    New Zealanders will have the final right of veto on a Government that has ignored democracy and is out of touch with the pressures and demands on families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “Today’s decision by National to veto 26 ...
    1 week ago
  • Collins should put Kiwis’ money where her mouth is
    Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash is calling on anyone who has received a speeding ticket for going up to 5km/h over the 100km/hr open road speed limit to write to him and he will take it up on their behalf ...
    1 week ago
  • Where is the leadership on equal pay for work of equal value?
    The gender pay gap in the public service is worse than in the private sector. I’ve always found this particularly galling because I expect our Government to provide an example to the private sector on things like human rights, rather ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis’ real disposable income goes nowhere for the year
    New Zealanders’ hard work for the last year resulted in no increase in real disposable income, showing Kiwis aren’t getting ahead under National, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Today’s GDP figures reveal that real gross national disposable income per ...
    1 week ago
  • Pora case a case to learn from
    Conformation that Teina Pora will receive $2.5million from the Crown for more than 20 years of wrongful imprisonment does not fix the flaws in our system that led to this miscarriage of justice, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “The ...
    1 week ago
  • Government needs to start again with RMA changes
    The National Government’s proposed changes to the Resource Management Act have attracted more than 800 submissions, many of them critical of key aspects of the Resource Legislation Bill. There has been much criticism of the new regulation making powers given ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Bennett’s briefing completely unacceptable
    It is completely unacceptable that Paula Bennett briefed her political staff on the police investigation into Hurimoana Dennis after her meeting with him, despite it having nothing to do with her social housing portfolio, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to Green Building Council
    Building smarter, greener cities It will be clear to anyone who has been watching the public debate on the housing crisis that housing in New Zealand is sadly far from being economically sustainable when Auckland has the fourth most unaffordable ...
    1 week ago
  • Paula Bennett has more questions to answer
    It is unthinkable that Paula Bennett’s press secretary went rogue and tried to smear the reputation of someone involved in helping the homeless, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Political staff would not take such serious unilateral action without the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Speech on Notice of Motion on Orlando
    Mr Speaker, The Labour Party joins with the government in expressing our horror at this atrocity and our love and sympathy are with the victims and their families. Our thoughts are with the people of Orlando and of the United ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiakina Ngā Wai – Swimmable Rivers Report June 2016
    The campaign to clean up our rivers was launched at the Green Conference at Queens Birthday weekend. However, the work prior to the launch goes back a number of years. Russel Norman and Eugenie Sage deserve full credit for the ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • We can do more: Refugee quota should be doubled
    New Zealand is a better country than National’s miserable increase in the refugee quota that ignores our obligations to the international community and people in need, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little. “It is a sad day when the Government can’t ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere