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.