I was going to have a blog free day today but TV3 has woken me from my slumber and made me compelled to comment.
Its latest article on the Labour Leadership contest posted today says this:
The winner could hinge on which of Mr Cunliffe or Mr Robertson can rally more support in caucus – and to what degree Mr Jones, the underdog, splits the caucus vote.
Actually the contest may depend on who gets Jones’ second preferences. It is a preferential vote, not a first past the post vote.
The next comment that really attracted my attention was this:
While Mr Robertson is the caucus favourite, and appears to have the widest public support, Mr Cunliffe has the backing of unions and party members.
I could not understand this comment because David Cunliffe has consistently out polled Robertson in the leadership stakes. Of the three polls I am aware of Robertson was third in all of them. TV3’s own poll stated that amongst the general population David Cunliffe has the support of 39.6 percent. Shane Jones was second on 31.6 percent and Grant Robertson third on 28.8 percent. TVOne’s poll had David Cunliffe well ahead of the other two contenders. He was picked by 39% of voters as being the most likely to defeat John Key in next year’s general election. Jones was second on 18% and Robertson was third on 15%. And the Te Kareke Digipoll reported that when Maori voters were asked who would do the best job leading Labour into the next election 37% said Shane Jones, 22% said David Cunliffe and 8% said Grant Robertson. Amongst Labour Party supporters 39% said Shane Jones, 25% Cunliffe and 9% Robertson.
So the evidence of Robertson having the widest public support simply is not there and this statement is contradicted by TV3’s own poll.
The article then descends into the banal and suggests that Jones would be the best person to put on a barbecue.
It continues the smearing of David Cunliffe, claiming that “voters were critical of Mr Cunliffe – saying compared with his competitors he’s more style than substance, talks down to people and is the least honest when compared to other politicians.” The reality is that less than one in three of the population reported negatively about David Cunliffe and given this is the proportion of the population who are tribal nats this response is not unusual. As Karol has said it was a shocking piece of manipulative reporting about a dodgy poll using a dodgy analysis.
Begrudgingly TV3 concedes that David Cunliffe has a better understanding of the economy than his opponents and would be the best leader in a crisis. Given that this was reported after the preferred barbecue chef rating you have to wonder about TV3’s priorities.
TV3 is quickly becoming the Rupert Murdoch of New Zealand’s media.