Granny beside herself as polls turn

Written By: - Date published: 11:50 am, September 5th, 2008 - 20 comments
Categories: election funding, Media, polls, spin - Tags: , ,

As the polls start to turn on National – and a new poll out yesterday saying the Left working with the Maori Party would have the numbers why aren’t we surprised that Granny Herald’s ‘your views’ section today asks voters if they think the polls are accurate? Could they be more blatant in their concern that the mood is changing?

And has anyone else noticed they’ve pulled back from all their bravado about the Electoral Finance Act? They were going to publish the mug shots of every MP who voted to clean up electoral law every month leading into the election. That campaign seems to have gone a little quiet. Perhaps it’s because the EFA only ranks 1.1 per cent in the issues section of their Digipoll.

But then as one Standardista noted at the start of the year, the EFA never was the water-cooler issue the Herald made it out to be.

– From a reader.

20 comments on “Granny beside herself as polls turn”

  1. monkey-boy 1

    No I think it is a fair question to ask anyone who is interested. It appears you are convinced that the Herald is biased against Labour, but so what? Does this preclude that they can discuss any issues they desire to?. It is after all a newspaper – not a blog. You appear to only be endorsing bias that supports your own views, but then, this is a blog, not a newspaper.

  2. Wayne 2

    Of course it’s a fair question monkeyboy, but as with any editorial judgement timing and placement is everything. Why ask a leading question like that only once the polls start to turn?

  3. Matthew Pilott 3

    Last night the only link in the corner of the poll article was to… Key’s “unauthorised biography”. Weak, pathetic.

    As I noted on another thread, it’s almost begging people to read it and asking “why would you ignore this? We put so much time and effort into making him look good. C’mon, take another look. Surely you’ll vote for him now..”

  4. monkey-boy 4

    Well, objectively you have to ask did they ask similar questions when Labour were say 12 points behind? Besides, you are assuming the polls are starting to turn – which suggests you think the question is a leading one, when all they are in fact asking people is whether they think the polls are starting to turn. When would you time and place such a question – ‘when’ the polls have turned or ‘after’ they have turned for certain? I still think it is a fair question, and the Standard post is acting paranoid. It’s not like they said ‘Is Helen Clark right to ignore polls that show her party falling behind?’ – That would be mischevious!

  5. Matthew Pilott 5

    “Well, objectively you have to ask did they ask similar questions when Labour were say 12 points behind?”

    They didn’t.

    3rd one in a row looking up for Labour and they ask the question now. Given NZ political history, the 54% to National poll was the least likely to represent a real election outcome – why not ask then?

    …when all they are in fact asking people is whether they think the polls are starting to turn.

    No, now that polls are consistently looking better for labour they’re saying “do you really believe them?”

    They’re asking if they have any relevance, not whether the polls are starting to turn. The latter is a fact – they are starting to turn. The question about believing them clearly shows The Herald’s crude attempt to sow some doubt about polls – so the question is “why now”?

    The answer to that one is obvious.

    It’s not like they said ‘Is Helen Clark right to ignore polls that show her party falling behind?’

    If she went ahead and said “this one’s obviously right” without any justification, then it would be a fair enough question. She’ll probably say it’s encouraging, but that’s about it. Given past polls showed a result that was virtually inconceivable as an election result, they were met with healthy scepticism.

  6. Scribe 6

    Did anyone else notice these lines under the question?

    10:55AM Monday February 25, 2008
    Updated: 10:44AM Friday September 5, 2008

    That suggests they asked the question 6+ months ago — when National were well ahead — and have resurrected the debate now to see what people think.

    It’s a common strategy. And it makes the premise of this post look pretty silly.

  7. Scribe 7

    For example, here’s one of the comments from the your views topic:

    More people now do not have landlines which may eliminate low income, students from the poll which has to be looked at. They also apparently ring at 5.30-6.30 which a lot of workers won’t be at home. The 3% margin of error has been the same for 20 years yet they must realise that the way we live now is different. As a National supporter I think they are in the lead, but not by that margin. 10-15 points at most.

    Obviously taken when National were 20%+ ahead.

    Time for a new post…

  8. monkey-boy 8

    Intersting point Scribe – It seems the timing and placement is all!

    Matthew I noticed that you failed to respond to one of my points. Does that suggest some kind of agreement?

    Just to give you a fair stab at the point I made:
    “I still think it is a fair question, and the Standard post is acting paranoid.”…

    Were you accepting that you think the post isn’t ‘acting’ paranoid, or it actually ‘is’ paranoid? That is, was it motivated by it ‘faux-paranoia’ or actual ‘fear’? In your opinion?

    Try to keep it short, will you?

    IrishBill says: I just looked at your blog for the first time. You seem to be obsessed with us. I’m not sure whether to be flattered or frightened.

  9. Rakaia George 9

    So do we think that opinion polls about the accuracy of opinion polls are accurate? Hmmm?

  10. Pascal's bookie 10

    Monkey boy, are you alluding to “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” by Richard J. Hofstadter by any cahnce?

    If so I’m not sure you understood it.

  11. randal 11

    well the herald is schizophrenic if on the one hand they say they are objective but on the other their actions are partisan and biased. basic law of the excluded middle but they will never own up to being tory lackeys. they will just commit acts of omission. cowards really.

  12. Matthew Pilott 12

    MB – in short, after yesterday’s terse exchange, I thought I’d keep my opinions about paranoia – real, and of the faux variety – to myself.

    But if I don’t accept the premise that it is a fair question to ask at this time, then I’ll not accept the conclusion either. Scribe does raise a good point, which I hadn’t noted – I gather that must be from the linked page itself. So in The Herald’s eyes, National being 25 points ahead is reason enough to distrust a poll as Labout catching up? I guess so.

  13. Tim Ellis 13

    Quite right, Scribe. I noticed that too. It does look as if this debate has been going on at the Herald for a long time: this is not a new debate that the Herald have peddled out because they’re frightened of Labour winning, as the thread here at the Standard appears to suggest. Rather it looks like the article on the Morgan Poll made the discussion of political polls generally more relevant, so the previous discussion was resurrected.

    All of this would negate the main theme of this post: that the Herald is biased.

    I suppose it’s an easy mistake to make, though. I noticed this about six months ago, when the Herald resurrected a previous discussion thread, and didn’t disclose that much of the comments related to a much earlier point in time. I don’t think that’s deliberately dishonest, but it is misleading. They should have time-stamps on each of the comments, to show when people made the comments they did.

  14. monkey-boy 14

    Irish Bill don’t be frightened -that would be a paranoid response! – I think ‘obsession’ is a bit strong – ‘fascinated’ certainly. At least you have got that far (Looking at the blog) Did you read all three of the ‘The VDS – Is it for real?’ posts?

    – I was thinking about doing a similar series of posts about kiwiblog and its modes of operation because I am most intrigued by the different ‘narratives’ tht each side is employing during this election.
    Yours is ‘Starwars’ – a small band of mavericks facing the evil ‘Empire’. What would you suggest is ‘kiwiblogs’?

  15. IrishBill 15

    What would I suggest? I would suggest you get out more.

  16. that’s an awesome title for a post… even though it turns out the herald ‘your views’ thing was also used when the polls were showing a 20-point gap for the frist time, it’s intersting they bring it back when polls start to show the left in front.

  17. monkey-boy 17

    How rude! This from a man who just got a semi over the Nat’s Conservation Policy..

  18. r0b 18

    All of this would negate the main theme of this post: that the Herald is biased.

    The Herald is as biased as they come Tim. But I mean that only partly in the sense of deliberately biased towards National.

    Much more significant is their bias towards making money. To make money they have to sell advertising (and therefore incidentally newspapers), so newspapers have to be exciting. What sells? Excitement, scandal, change, new faces, bashing the establishment politicians. The commercial imperatives all add up to a “bread and circuses” approach to reporting politics that benefits the opposition, and this is a multiplier that combines with the Herald’s editorial bias towards National.

  19. Draco TB 19

    …it’s intersting they bring it back when polls start to show the left in front.

    The NZ Heralds policy regarding threads is nuts – I’ve seen them bring some threads back multiple times over several months and they don’t always relate to well to the article that they’re being referenced from.

  20. jaymam 20

    I’ve extended DPF’s “All Public Polls” graph to show the trend:
    http://i34.tinypic.com/wmgwzq.jpg

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