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Before the polls

Written By: - Date published: 6:29 am, August 14th, 2008 - 54 comments
Categories: polls - Tags:

There’s a Roy Morgan poll out today or tomorrow, then polls from Fairfax, TV1, and TV3 on the weekend. Naturally, people will be watching these closely to see if National has been damaged by the secret agenda tapes.

Do not expect the polls to show National taking a big hit and don’t take the lack of a big hit as proof the public doesn’t care about the secret agenda revealed in the tapes. These polls are simply too soon after the release of the tapes for their effect to be fully felt yet. The Roy Morgan poll, for instance was taken over the fortnight from July 28 to August 10, meaning half of the participants had been polled before the tapes were released and many of the rest before it became a running story. Moreover, it takes time for an event like this to flow into people’s voting intentions. Every swing voter I know who was swinging toward National (people National calls “Labour Plus” voters) is now having doubts but if asked they would still probably say ‘National, I guess’. Let it sink in for a few weeks that National has been cynically targeting and manipulating their feelings while keeping its plans secret and it could be a different story. And remember, poll numbers bounce around randomly anyway – that statistical ‘noise’ can hide or amplify underlying movements.

The media will make a big deal of the movement, or lack of, in National’s support, they have to justify spending $30-60K per poll somehow. But, unless the numbers are truly cataclysmic for National, don’t read too much into them. It’s the round of polls after this one that could be interesting.

54 comments on “Before the polls”

  1. monkey boy 1

    So much faux-paranoia. So even if the polls reflect badl on Labour’s prospects, we shouldn’t accept them because they (like Nationsal’s policy) aren’t ‘real’? Where does the line between politics and fantasy start to blur here?
    Looks like the Government is running out of time, if it is waiting for Nationals’s secret agenda to ‘sink in’ with the public. here’s an idea. Why doesn’t Labour, instead of focussing on ‘secret agendas’ and spinning a campaign of sistrust and fantasy, like – talk about its own policies? Or is it easier to talk about Nationals fantasy-agenda, than to treat the public with the basic respect they are due, and have Labour tell us what they stnad for, rather than what they stand against?
    I mean it is a ‘given’ that htye are against National, a five-year-old couls work that one out. But i seem to have forgotten (apart from rolling tax-cuts, a policy nabbed from National anyway) what Labour are going to do, if re-elected?
    Starting to look not so much like Labour has its own ‘secret agenda’ as much as they actually don’t have a clue. That is to say, if they have policy to fight the election on, they are mysteriously quiet about it, aren’t they?
    I mean, are they really going to claim the mandate to run the country simply on the basis that they are better at smearing the opposition than anyone else? Does that pass for policy nowadays?
    But then, The poll that will really count will be on election day, won’t it, so perhaps it is kinder to the sheep to pretend that this election is a fairy-tale struggle between good and evil?

  2. monkey boy 2

    ps pls excuse typos couldn’t get back in to proof it.

  3. MB – you’re a moron.

    [lprent: Please restrain yourself – too many grumpy people around this morning. ]

  4. sdm 4

    I think as we head into the campaign proper, when the date is announced, both parties will start to release more detailed policy. I think Labour will have some stuff around student allowances, which I think could be a risky move. I wonder if the perception of ‘giving too much to the bloody students’ could backfire – especially after loans were made interest free in 2005.
    I wonder if Labour will move on home affordability, or whether that will be seen to be ‘kicking a horse while its down’. Its almost as if the market is sorting the housing market, and for the government to intervene at this point might be problematic.

    The Polls – well neither side has had a great run of late. Winston’s antics wont help labour, but the secret recordings wont be good for the Nats. I take Steve’s point that these polls wont fully cover the later, but the fact that some do might cause some movement. I actually think the Winston thing will hurt Labour more than the tapes hurt National – people were angry enough over the EFA, and then to have a party of government (who voted for the legislation) to appear to act hypocritical might hurt the leader of that government (Clark/Labour) who have seen to have done nothing.

    I wonder if the two parties, who havent really been caught up in recent antics (ACT and the Greens) might see some bounce in this poll(s)…

  5. Rakaia George 5

    Still banging the “secret agenda” drum over here are we? I seriously don’t know anyone who isn’t a dyed-in-the-wool lefty who believes that spin.

    The reaction from most people I know is a combination of being turned off by the negativity (desperation?) of the shrieking from the left and a pragmatic feeling that National want to be elected on an uncontroversial mandate to have a chance to build trust and gain support for more radical changes later. Far from putting voters off, I think it actually makes them feel respected by the politians for a change…but that’s just my 2c as someone who has never been the member of a political organisation.

  6. Scribe 6

    Have you seen the embargoed results, SP? Just curious, given you seem to be going into damage control already.

    What, if anything, should we read into the polls if National is stretching its lead?

  7. forgetaboutthelastone 7

    The last Roy Morgan poll had National polling at its lowest for some time – something you might expect the media to mention – but they didn’t. So assuming the Nats aren’t polling any higher they will have to notice this time.

    Interesting comments from Roy Morgan last time:

    “The latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows the National Party support (47.5%, down 4.5%) weakening ahead of this week’s National Party Conference — the unofficial start of the National Party‘s election campaign.

    “National leader John Key’s expected warning to supporters about complacency at the Conference is timely given these results…

    Pity about that conference ay?

  8. outofbed 8

    I expect the trend for National’s poll numbers to continue downwards
    I will be very disappointed, nay gutted if they don’t

    Every KIWIBANK TV advert hits home methinks 🙂

  9. Scribe. Tin-foil hat time brother. As far as I’m aware there aren’t embargoed copies of polls given out before time and they certainly don’t go to bloggers.

  10. Rakaia,

    Such a nice name on such an asinine person.

    The idea is that you build trust before you get elected with an honest and open campaign.

    John Key’s snakeoil salesmanship is what is making us mistrust him and his marry band of fellow snakeoil salesmen.

    If you think that someone saying, “trust me, vote for me and after you have voted me in I will tell you what radical changes I have in mind and there is nothing you can do about them now since I am the Prime minister with an open mandate,” is good enough, you deserve everything coming your way mate.

  11. Matthew Pilott 11

    Rakaia George, I reckon you must only hang aroung dyed-in the wool righties then – you need to diversify!

    I’ve had a lot of people mention, with a groan, that National just wants to go back to the 90’s (or words to that effect) – they hoped National had moved on, but are now thinking they haven’t.

    I guess the people I’ve spoken to aren’t naive enough to believe that National will wait three years before the radical changes occur.

  12. randal 12

    the nats have been pushing their polls all year and about november I reckon all their polls are going to fall over.

  13. Rakaia George 13

    travellerev, wow abuse already…

    You’ve just bought (or are selling) the fear message. I think most people, wherever they sit on the spectrum, recognise that credibility is one of National’s biggest problems. This is evidenced by both JK’s efforts to project a unified front, and the left’s focus on trying to undermine that.

    Most normal people are also pretty cynical and suspicious about all politicians so the only way to build trust is on actions not words during a campaign.

    I think a long game is being played by National and a first term will be a confidence building effort to gain trust for more radical changes in future terms. Anything else would be a recipe for being a 1-term wonder.

    But then I am real (as opposed to political) scientist and a sales professional not a politician.

  14. Phil 14

    Steve,

    When it suits you one way, you’re a member of the media. When it suits you the other way, you’re a blogger… nice.

    I also like the way you completely ignored the second question in Scribes comment… “What, if anything, should we read into the polls if National is stretching its lead?”

    Lots of data goes out through media channels with embargo dates/times prior to publication – that way stories and commentary are available as soon as the data goes ‘live’. I have no doubt it’s the same with polling companies, especially with other media outlets that are part of the same ’empire’.

  15. forgetaboutthelastone 15

    “What, if anything, should we read into the polls if National is stretching its lead?’

    Rogue poll.

    lol!

  16. Bill 16

    Nabour or Lational?

    Wow!

    It’s kind of like a one horse race, but we, the punters are all drunk on a cheap version of democracy and are seeing double.

    “There’s two horses I swear. I see them with my own two eyes constables!”

    When it comes to the finish line, my money is on the Government. Same as last time and every time before that.

    Then us punters can stagger home to reel under whatever market driven programmes are piled on us while the horse is put back in it’s box until the next time around. Another one thousand, x hundred and so many days away.

    Ah, democracy! Don’t you love it?

    Okay. Cynicism aside. Nat is worse. They be going to shaft us without protection and with nothing offered to take away the sharper edges of the pain. At least Labour prescribe a little faux opium to moderate the screams.

  17. Rakaia,

    With your response I can safely say I rest my case.

    “trust me, vote for me and after you have voted me in I will tell you what radical changes I have in mind and there is nothing you can do about them now since I am the Prime minister with an open mandate,’

    LOL. you must be joking.

  18. Phil. Don’t be a jerk.

    Of course Fairfax gives it’s polling data to the people within Fairfax that need to ue ti before publciation, same for TV1, Tv3… but there are not embargoed releases of the data to people outside the orgs, certainly not to other media and even if there were you can bet that bloggers would not be on the list.

    Blogging is a type of media, by any definition of ‘media’, that does not mean that bloggers always get treated with the same privileges as professional journos..

  19. Tim Ellis 19

    SP I don’t mean to contradict you but your costings for polling are way off. A straight political phone poll costs about two dollars per response. One thousand responses costs about two grand. As far as I know Colmar Brunton does most of its polling in connection with its other surveying. Media organisations are not paying anything like $30-$60k per poll.

    I agree there is a poll lag between events and impact on voter intentions. But I don’t think you’re speaking from the basis of neutrality when you claim that the secret agenda thing is a big issue for voters. This is the kind of issue that tends to enforce existing prejudices about political parties: that on the one hand, National is supposedly running a secret agenda (the view of the entrenched Left), and on the other hand that Labour is up to dirty tricks campaigning by doing these secret recordings (the view of the entrenched Right).

    It is very easy to get caught up in the beltway and make assumptions about what voters are interested in based on your own prejudices. Unless you are on the doorstep asking voters what their intentions are, asking neutral questions, you don’t get an accurate picture of how people are feeling.

  20. SMB –

    Once the public realise what the EFA actually restricts, like lies, innuendo and other general bullshit put out by cowardly groups to clog up mailboxes of the unsuspecting public, then, I suspect, they’ll be all for it.

    Boscawen’s and Granny Herald’s facetious claim predicting “death of democracy” would be more accurately described as “the dearth of democracy” compared to previous campaigns, because well-funded cowards simply can’t get away their propaganda anymore. I have no problem as an EFA agent publishing my home address on candidate pamphlets and (later on) billboards, because I stand by (and can verify) what they say.

  21. Tim. Farrar told me it’s 30K plus.

    I’m sorry that I’m not speaking from a “basis of neutrality”. Like I say, I’be asked people who aren’t that into poltiics what they think and tlaked to others who have done the same.. my sense is that the secret agenda tapes are a big issue. We won’t know until the round of polls after this I guess.

  22. The cost of a poll depends on the number of questions and the number of responses, as well as the complexity of the questions. There is also a fixed cost per poll, and then variable costs based on the above variables of responses and questions.

    If you poll as part of an omnibus poll, the costs are considerably cheaper. But the data gets collected over a longer period of time and the sample can be less representative as omnibus polls take longer to conduct and less people will give up the time for them.

  23. Jasper 23

    This is totally offtopic but, given that there seems to be many crossovers between the two, at Nationals insistence of adopting as many children as possible.. The combined party could be called…

    Labotional
    Nationabour
    Lana Blotourina (sounds like a fat italian ballerina)
    Laura O’tio Nobal
    Natalia Bourlonon

    The possibilities are endless…

    In regards to the polls, people I spoke to last month who were for National are now wavering and looking to the minor parties. Act is actually much more visible these days (possibly due to the Bright Yellow that stands out like a sore thumb amongst the sea of black and navy suits)

    Act and the Greens seem to be registering a bit more, and its extremely amusing listening to people blaming Labour for the s59 bill. I have to bite my tongue from telling them it’s a Green bill, supported by National)

  24. Anita 24

    sdm writes,

    I wonder if the two parties, who havent really been caught up in recent antics (ACT and the Greens) might see some bounce in this poll(s)

    I would expect to see ACT get some response from Hide pushing the NZ First donation stuff so very hard.If that doesn’t work for ACT I don’t know what will.

  25. A Beautiful Distance 25

    Why bother dredging through the morass of polls? If you still believe that National won’t win the treasury benches in 2008 then you are in La-La-Labour Land a happy place for non-achievers to while away their days devouring the fruits of others’ industry,trade,ambition,etc…

    I regard the NZ Labour Party, particularly its parliamentary wing, as the primary cause of economic difficulties presently being experienced in your damp, cold country! Some lowlights:

    1 The buying back of a liability as is the rail network for a grossly inflated figure is stupid to the point of treachery, given the transaction was achieved with other peoples’ money!

    2 The blind adherence to Kyoto aand its pro-commie anti businiess dictates.

    3 The totalitarian nature of the EF Act.

    4 The raft of anti-business/tax hungering legislation.

    For Mr Pierson to be concerned about the polling differences between two very similar parties superbly highlights how out of focus to the realities of the world community in 2008, the NZ population has become.That may be a bit harsh, so I apologise, it may be that Mr Pierson is largely alone with his pre-occupations?

    While the faults of the Labour Party are easy to identify, I do not expect the National Party to lead a march towards common sense and principled governance.

  26. Rob 26

    Just heard on Talk back about the Vietnamese National and The Cambodian National who have been busted in Nelson with Paua Smuggling.

    They were both on benefits in New Zealand isnt this the wonderful Ruth Dysons Department and are we so rich as a country now that we can hand out benefits to other foreign countries Nationals so they can come in and rape our Country of its resources!! God spare us please from this incompetence

    [lprent: This proves what? That talk back radio uses dog-whistle promotion of their show.
    As I remember the last bust (wellington) there were over 60 people arrested and charged. I’d expect that this is likely to be on the same order. It would not surprise me is there were a few beneficiaries amongst them. That is of course why they have time to do it, and probably also have time to listen to talkback.

    Anyway, I’m putting you into moderation because you’re starting to act like a troll. Look over the responses to your previous messages. ]

  27. Rob. I just read about this guy who owned a finance company and by the time it went under he had made tens of millions but the people he ripped off couldn’t get any of that back because he put his wealth in a trust and got himself declared bankrupt.

    Using your logic, capitialism is, therefore, a hopelessly corrupt sysem that should be thrown out and it’s all the fault of incompetence in the business sector.

    What’s whose, this guy was a white guy and a Kiwi (even if he did have a funny surname), guess we should kick all of them out too.

  28. Matthew Pilott 28

    SP – I heard he once used a taxi, and once went to a cinema. Both must be banned forthwith. Regulate, my pretties, regulate…

  29. Bill 29

    Rob.

    Take that racist fucking bullshit your spouting, put it in a polythene bag and stick your head in after it ’til you turn blue.

  30. Let’s not put it that strongly in future, Bill.

  31. Bill 31

    Blood boiled. Point taken. Subtle, gentle suggestion from now on.

    eg Why don’t you fall on your ribs Rob?

    That kind of okay Steve?

  32. vto 32

    Ouch, I fell on my ribs off a skateboard last week. Feels like I cracked one – painful.

    Anyways, SP – when will you realise there is NO secret agenda. Or do you just keep repeating it to hopefully make it seem true in people’s minds? Like those crosby/textor people, that you must obviously admire, suggest.

  33. Bill 33

    You see? That’s where subtlety falls over!

    You might have fallen off your skateboard VTO. Because you fell awkwardly you cracked a rib.

    However, to ‘fall on your ribs’ entails that you are dead before you hit the ground.

    Meanwhile, everyone happy having their lives subordinated to the market? Having their humanity reduced to an expression of economic rationality? Is choosing who will administer the market dogma a good enough and satisfying option?

  34. vto 34

    I actually fell on my fist on my ribs on the tarseal. Its getting worse so off to the doc methinks.

  35. r0b 35

    when will you realise there is NO secret agenda

    It’s not secret any more, it got exposed. Excellent!

  36. vto 36

    ha ha rOb, witty. But what agenda got exposed?

  37. You guys are so much like Fox news, your like their little evil twin sister, if the poll was good for Labour, you will be stamping and cheering like a feminist at a playboy magazine burning meeting.

    The fact is, National has got this one in the bag, people are sick of the corruption and the bigoted policies of this group of misfits.

  38. Matthew Pilott 38

    Jeez, whose angry evil little sister are you meant to be, Brett?

  39. Draco TB 39

    The buying back of a liability as is the rail network for a grossly inflated figure

    Inflation adjusted – we bought it back for less than we sold it for.

    The blind adherence to Kyoto aand its pro-commie anti businiess dictates.

    I don’t see anywhere in the Kyoto protocol where it says to stop business. In fact, it could be considered pro-business but very few people have stepped forward to make the most of the opportunities presented preferring to keep to the old ways which happen to be killing the biosphere.

    The totalitarian nature of the EF Act.

    It’s not totalitarian. Everyone can still speak freely.

    The raft of anti-business/tax hungering legislation.

    Which resulted in us being one of the easiest places in the world to do business with some of the lowest taxes in the world as well.

  40. r0b 40

    ha ha rOb, witty. But what agenda got exposed?

    I’ll resist the urge to say “the secret one”.

    You should know already vto, it was on the telly. The plans to “sort out” (probably gut) Working for Families, to sell off assets like KiwiBank, to do “useful things” that “aren’t policy right now” because the public wouldn’t stand for them (they would “scare the horses”). To “swallow dead fish” to tell “the punters” what they want to hear, in short to lie their way in to government, while planning to do something very different once they got there. That secret agenda.

    You’re making a bit of a hobby out of denying there was ever such an agenda, and of course you will continue to do so. But in the court of the media and public opinion there certainly was, and it got exposed, and so much the better for democracy. The scandal would never have blown up as it did for National if it wasn’t for their lying duplicitous behaviour in the last election (a scandal that cost them their last leader), and their continued refusal to even admit using the most aggressive and underhand political consultants available. They are hoist by their own petard really, and the more you try and deny it the funnier it gets.

    Sorry about your ribs though. I had some fun with rollerblades a few years back and a speedy fall on concrete is no fun at all. Bye fer now…

  41. Draco TB 41

    And now I’m in moderation…

    /cries

  42. Roby110 42

    I think we need to stop wth the “secret agenda” and just say “same old agenda”. It isn’t secret but plainly obvious – and has been for a couple of years. Hasn’t changed since jenny and Jim really. I still don’t know why Labour isn’t hammering that.

  43. jaymam 43

    SP, I’ve known the guy with the funny surname for many years. I’ve been skiing with him, been in his Mercedes. I don’t think he’s a crook, but he gets a high out of doing “deals”. He does these deals because he can. No amount of money is enough for him. If he had hundreds of millions of dollars he would still try to get more. He cares only about himself and his family. His former business partners who now reside mostly in Switzerland are far worse in their quest to get more money than anyone else.
    One way to stop these people getting away with money from the gullible or the less well-informed would be if all transactions over a few thousand dollars could be logged by the Reserve Bank or suchlike, together with the from and to account details. These details to be archived for at least 30 years.

  44. mike 44

    “But, unless the numbers are truly cataclysmic for National, don’t read too much into them.”

    A laugh a minute SP. You accuse Mr Key of treating people like mushrooms and then come out with these clangers.

    You are completely obsessed with the man, repetitive posting, making stuff up about him and even wearing a John Key mask on tele outside the conference he banned you from??
    Get a life man

  45. Any Labour supporter accusing National of having a secret agenda has a short memory. Does the name Roger Douglas ring a bell?

    Oh, that’s right – some of you guys weren’t even born then!

  46. Roby110 46

    oh for christ sake!!! Roger Douglas?! Is that all you’ve got? So what is your point/argument here? That it is ok for Smith nd Smith to pull the wool over the electorate ye because Roger did? Now THAT really raise the level of debate isn’t it?

  47. Forget politics how about a medal you wankers . Has TVNZ got a medal for being wimpish retards?

    Get a life kiwi, as you can’t get a medal you pathetic gits.

  48. Razorlight 48

    I do not buy the argument that there will not be an immediate bounce for Labour. The Roy Morgan obviously will not show much, but any poll taken last week must show a large jump for Labour if they are to have any chance this year. The issue was running hot then. It has now more or less died. If it does not show in these pols it never will.

    National polled consistently below Labour until Mr Brash made one important speech. The result of Orewa 1 was an immediate 19% surge in the polls and ever since they have been above or near equal level in the polls with Labour.

    There are going to be 101 issues arise between now and the election. Everyone is expecting it to get dirty. If the taping is to have any effect on party support it will show now, not in a months time when everyone except SP will have forgotten about it.

  49. vto 49

    rOb, shorthand because its late.. From what I see they were basically saying ‘we would like to do blah blah, but we can’t because its not what the people want. Once we can convince the people of the goodness of our ideas we will proceed with blah blah’. That’s it. They are certainly not saying they will do blah blah without the consent or mandate of the people. They seem in fact to be at pains to say that they need and should have the people onside.

    Which of course they should because otherwise the national party will slide down the drainpipe forever.

    But of course this wee dram(a) fell perfectly into the hands of labourites so it has been spun at a furious pace no matter the truth of the situation.

    There is no secwet agenda. I will keep saying it as long as either the claimants stop so claiming or actual proof/evidence is provided. Neither looks likely.

  50. r0b 50

    There is no secwet agenda. I will keep saying it

    Good for you vto, it’s great that you’ve found a hobby.

  51. vto 51

    woops my second last sentence has a warp in it.

    rOb, it’s all a bit silly ay this carry on, but I genuinely do not see a secwet agenda. I see politicians doing what they have done since day dot, no matter their colour. And what I said above.

  52. insider 52

    All this spin proves is that you knew the polls were going to be bad, which means advance information and just confirms how close some of you are to the 9th floor. Why not come clean now?

    Otherwise, you’d have been better keeping quiet and pretending you knew nothing about them.

  53. lprent 53

    insider: Don’t be stupid. It doesn’t require special knowledge. It just requires a modicum of intelligence.

    Just look at the dates when the polls were conducted. I had to look them up this morning.

    Fairfax: Aug 4 to Aug 10
    Morgan: Jul 28 to Aug 10

    From the look of the posts here. The first tape was released on the evening of Aug 4th, and the subsequent ones were Aug 5th and Aug 6th.

    Typically when reasonable sized political events happen, it takes at least a few days for any impact to travel through. My personal estimate is at least a week, and usually weeks. It takes that amount of time for undecided or swing people to mull it around and come out with a considered opinion.

    Essentially both polls would have had very little chance of having much effect from the national conference tapes in them. So you have a post like the one above. It is essentially telling people on the left not to get disheartened if there is no immediate change in the velocity of the polls.

    Now about your insinuation? You’re aware that I don’t tolerate that. Would you like to rescind that based on the nice clear information I’ve provided above. Or would you like me to give you a ban? I’m prepared to consider it could have simply been insufficent coffee kicking the synapses.

    Lynn

  54. Matthew Pilott 54

    Insider, if the authors have “advance information” and are “close to the ninth” floor, do you think those mysterious people behind The Standard would allow a post that gave evidence? Or that they’d put up a post making it obvious?

    Or is it more likely that SP imagined there wouldn’t be a seismic shift in the polls? Doesn’t take a genius to figure that out, but you seem to be giving Steve a nice compliment, saying he’d have to have been told this stuff, there’s no way he could figure it out…

    You logic is truly underwhelming. Cheap, lazy shots too hard to resist huh? Shame.

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