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Getting it right

Written By: - Date published: 10:25 am, December 14th, 2009 - 22 comments
Categories: articles - Tags:

Colin Espiner has a piece in the Dom Post today attributing Labour’s four point rise in the polls to Goff’s ‘Nationhood’ speech.

He goes on, in what can’t help but be interpreted as a wee dig at The Standard:

after 30 years in politics, it’s also possible [Goff] knows the electorate a bit better than some of the 20-something handwringers who write for Labour’s websites.

Dear oh dear, Colin. Here’s what I actually wrote:

It’s possible that Goff might have won over some of the iwi/kiwi racists with the speech, he might even see a poll bounce (though nothing that would compare favourably with Brash’s 17%) but even if it works, is this any basis on which to build a sustainable progressive alternative?

Looks like we called it right again. Which is doubly ironic, considering that at the time Colin was pretty dismissive of the political impact of the speech, warning that Goff “risks smoke damage” because he “has neither Winston Peters’ snake-oil charm nor Dr Brash’s colonial tea-planter’s honesty” and white working class battlers won’t believe he’s being genuine.

Regardless, I still wonder whether it was worth burning progressive bridges for what is a pretty small poll gain with no clear trend yet evident. But hey, I’m no big city political correspondent, what would I know?

22 comments on “Getting it right”

  1. The bounce may have had more than a little to do with the absolute shambles that NACT made of implementing the truely awful ETS changes. This occurred during the period this poll was conducted.

    Espiner’s coments are more than a little cheap. It seems to me that the MSM are relying more and more on blogs such as the Standard for analysis and breaking news.

  2. IrishBill 2

    It’s been a wee while since I was a “20-something” and I’ve never been a hand-wringer. In fact most of us are of advancing years. Maybe our youthful political vigor is misleading.

    • lprent 2.1

      Colin Espiner is just a spring chicken, and not a particularly bright one in my opinion.

      I’m 50 and the only 20 something that I know who writes here (admitably I don’t know a lot of them) is rocky at age 22. Of course she probably has more real life experience than a protected desk clerk like Colin.

      Unless he is talking about Red Alert? That is a Labour blog. This isn’t…. And they’re definitely not 20 something…

      Does Colin Espiner really live in his own fantasy world?

    • Bill 2.2

      Maybe he means 20 something as in couple of dozen? Which means he is saying that Goff might know a bit more than some unqualified number of them…one or two of them?

      Perfectly reasonable

      • lprent 2.2.1

        We haven’t made it quite to 20 people yet who can write here – there have been a few drop-offs over time. It would be close though.

  3. snoozer 3

    just read the article, ok skimmed it.

    I love that he’s gone out of his way to have a crack at you but hasn’t bothered to check his facts first. If you or other bloggers did that you would get hammered for it in the comments thread and rightly so.

    That’s one of the many things blogs have over msm journalism, the writers have the immediate feedback of the comments.

  4. Horse 4

    “considering that at the time Colin was pretty dismissive of the political impact of the speech,”

    If you spend any time reading Colin’s blog, you’ll realise that he generally has no memory of anything he wrote last week (or at least wishes he didn’t), and assumes you don’t either. That makes it much easier to describe the political events of the day as obvious to a careful observer such as himself.

  5. Tim Ellis 5

    Those are valid points Eddie.

    Underlying Mr Espiner’s thinking is the assumption that there has been a rise in support for the Labour Party. It’s very easy for people to get excited from poll to poll, but a four point pick up between two polls isn’t significant of itself. If there were a number of polls saying the same thing, then you could probably conclude that events in November were influential in a change in support. With just one poll however there isn’t enough evidence to say that there’s been any movement, and that it’s more than polling error between polls.

    Polls bounce around a lot. In my view there just isn’t enough information to conclude a shift from one side to the other.

    There certainly is evidence that Labour has lost support since the election, and National has gained support since the election, but the evidence of movement in the last few months is quite limited.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 5.1

      Good summary.

      The thing missed is that the Maori Party lost over 1/3rd of its support. It likely went to the Greens. Interesting to see if they recover that vote next time.

      • Daveski 5.1.1

        I agree with one of eddie’s posts and someone compliment’s TE comments.

        Have we entered the Matrix already???

        • lprent 5.1.1.1

          I think that Irish already asked that after he agreed with Garth George.

          But the posters here tend to be pretty damn skeptical about polls, and as TE says, you need to have a sustained change in direction to be interesting. Moreover you usually need to see the same trend between different polls to eliminate sample bias.

          That said, this poll is encouraging. It exceeded margins of error for most of the interesting numbers.

          However trying to interpolate why people shift position is always an interesting question. Polls are pretty weak on asking that type of information and people a really weak on knowing why they shift themselves.

  6. gingercrush 6

    Yes I’m not sure why they see the “Nationhood” speech as being responsible for Goff’s climb in the poll. When TV 3 poll actually just reflects the poll TVNZ released late November and the poll Roy Morgan released very early in December. Hell the TV 3 poll is still better than either the TVNZ or the Roy Morgan poll for National.

    The fact TV 3’s poll saw sizable falls for Key as preferred PM and for Key’s rating as a leader are perhaps significant but that would be growing dissatisfaction with this government than anything else. But my preferred opinion is that TV 3’s poll in October was so out of whack with other polls that this poll is merely a better reflection of where support currently lies.

    • snoozer 6.1

      I think the bigger story is the rapid slide in Key’s popularity.

      Like a lot of people have been saying, it’s up to Labour and Goff to seize the rapidly growing dissatisfaction with do nothing Key and his corrupt government by giving people a credible alternative to vote for.

  7. Sanctuary 7

    The reaction to the Goff speech struck we as interesting because it just reinforced how unrepresentative the blogsphere in New Zealand actually is. As it is, the NZ blogsphere simply acts as an echo chamber of the dominant ruling class in this country.

    Political discourse on the internet consists of a bunch of aging, bitter and angry white men (the right) arguing with a bunch of aging, worrying and leftish white men. Both sides are dominated by white, middle class forty *mumble* something men who bring to the debate all the arrogant certainty of their age, race, income and dominant class.

    It should be an important reminder that the blogsphere is a completely unreliable measure of public opinion, but unfortunately most of our journalists are drawn from the same ruling class, so they find that interviewing their browsers simultaneously strokes their class bias and gives them a fig leaf of “research”.

  8. You wont find me saying this often but I think Tim Ellis and Ginger Crush are ri rig righ correct.

    Heck that hurt to type.

  9. ieuan 9

    I think he is using the term ’20-something’ to mean ‘naive’.

    I doubt that any bounce in the polls for Labour is due to the ‘Nationhood’ speech, my guess is 99% of the population didn’t even notice it.

    Putting aside normal polling variations I would say a few natural Labour supporters are drifting back to the party as they see that National are really not that great, ACC increases, Rodney’s travel etc would have more of effect on the average voter than Goff’s speech.

  10. Jonathan 10

    “Labour is making inroads though, with the poll showing the party’s support has risen 3.6 to 30.8 per cent.”

    So still 3% less than on election night…so much for the success of this ‘nationhood’ carry-on aye..

  11. I think the significant factor is that Goff is now starting to rate amongst voters as a credible leader. Jonathan is right to point out that Labour are still behind the election night polling, but the drop since the election could well be those that voted Labour specifically because of HC’s personal mana.

    As Goff’s support rises, the Labour vote will also firm up. National’s vote has nowhere to go but down.

  12. BLiP 12

    The sheer indolence of the MSM is remarkable. The Espiner Twins, Duncan “doughnut” Garner and the rest of the gormless Gallery are all pointing to Goff’s speech as being the primary cause of the shift in the polls. Far easier to interview their keyboards and pronounce upon their musings than get off their backsides and consider what else might be involved.

    How about the on-going rorting by MPs, Chopper Tolley pissing off the country’s teachers, what about the tens of thousands denied on-going education, the tens of thousands now on the dole queue, and the growing realisation that National Ltd® is colluding in a tobacco-industry style obfustication of data in relation to the environment. And, although anecdotal, I have seen a certain shifting of perceptions at work and amongst family, mates and acquaintances at how, this Christmas, there’s not nearly as much to splash on presents and holidays as there was just a year ago. Don’t these have *any* impact on the poll?

    Nasty little snipes from Espiner et al should be greeted with cheers for they indicate the growing realisation amongst the MSM “churnalists” that they are becoming increasingly irrelevant in political and social discourse.

    • lprent 12.1

      The perception shift happened about 2 months ago. All of a sudden the government was perceived as being a bit shite (as one person described it to me). It was a whole pile of little things that did it.

      Goffs speech may have affected his ratings, but I think that much of it is purely the crap government getting through to people as the recession hits harder.

    • Macro 12.2

      You hit the nail on the head Blip! It’s suddenly starting to dawn on people just what they did at the last election – some people are VERY slow learners.

  13. gingercrush 13

    Weee more news of thought. More disagreed with Goff’s speech than agreed with it. Yet Duncan still seems to want to portray that speech as the reason for Labour’s rise in the polls and National’s fall.

    An overwhelming 61.1 percent said it was just to get more media attention as Labour’s leader. I had a wee chuckle at that tidbit. Goff has rejected the poll findings saying he was genuine. Yeah sure you were Goff.

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