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How bad’s the poll?

Written By: - Date published: 9:12 pm, January 8th, 2011 - 59 comments
Categories: election 2011, labour, national, nz first - Tags: , ,

Farrar and Slater are trying to knee-cap a poll in the SST tomorrow. They know the numbers because Key’s office told them. Obviously jittered. Slater says it has NZF at 8.9%. Movement of ipredict stocks suggests bad news for Nats and Labour. If Nats are in mid-40s then they’re in danger territory. Very hard for them to find a majority.

59 comments on “How bad’s the poll? ”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    Why not just wait until tomorrow when you can make a decent post about it?

  2. interesting 2

    I think they are right thought that if a poll is way out of wack with other respected polls then it can’t be taken too seriously. But it could make for interesting viewing none the less.

    If it is an online poll, then they are also right it is not accurate.

    Do see what you mean though that it must be interesting if they are going to such lengths to dispute the findings.

  3. Zaphod Beeblebrox 3

    Farrar knows a lot about polling so its sort of interesting how he frames the spin.

    The government and its cronies should be more worried about our negative GDP figures and the damage that is doing to our families and businesses and less worried about how they look in the mirror. Wasn’t it Narcissus who was too consumed with his own image to worry about what was going on around.

    Truth is if English sends us back into recession they will be stuffed anyway.

  4. Carol 4

    Well the SST headlines with the good news for the Nats: ie voters believe that the Nats will romp in at the election this year:


    But when asked to reveal their personal voting intentions, the result makes the election too close to call. National is by far the single most popular party, with 40.4% of the 1718 people polled saying they will give it their party vote, compared to just 28.3% for Labour. But the poll also predicts 8.9% for both the Greens and New Zealand First, 2% for Act, 1.7% for the Maori Party, and 1.2% for United Future.

    When those parties are taken into account, a Labour-Greens-New Zealand First alliance (46.1%) would be a whisker ahead of a National-Act-Maori Party-United Future coalition (45.3%).

    The Horizon online poll differs from many others by asking “undecided” voters which way they are leaning. The polling company says that by extracting answers from undecideds, it is taking the temperature of the crucial “swing” voters who actually decide an election result, and thus presents a realistic and broad view of how people are likely to vote. It is a different view from the competing polls currently predicting far healthier results for National. If Horizon’s figures are replicated on polling day, New Zealanders won’t have a clear-cut result, because the parties would be jockeying to form coalitions under the MMP system.

    • higherstandard 4.1

      Feck I might sign up to that poll myself and win a couple of ipads.


      • higherstandard 4.1.1

        “The race is definitely on and much closer than many people are anticipating.” He said Peters had proven in the past to be a “reliable coalition partner”.

        Phil phil phil…. know when to STFU, first sentence good……. second sentence aye carumba !

        • Salsy

          Typical Goff, comments like that are the reason he apparently makes people “nervous”. He’s basically just totally uncool.

      • Bill 4.1.2

        Wonder what the demographics are for internet access? I’d be guessing that those who are poorer (in line with not having fixed telephone lines) have less access than wealthier sectors of society.

        Second thing I wonder about is the demographics of those who have internet access who also sign up to research sites?

        Went to Horizon’s home page and through to the poll results.

        And I’m having difficulty understanding 11.4% of the Act vote apparently voted for the Progressive Party at the last election.

        And why the November poll that had more respondents (1833) and showed Nat on 34.7% and that had a smaller margin of error (2.3%) wasn’t touted as being indicative of something or other.

        Far be it for me to suggest that polling companies make money and that spinning press coverage in a competitive market leads to more potential custom coming your way…

        • Shazzadude

          “And I’m having difficulty understanding 11.4% of the Act vote apparently voted for the Progressive Party at the last election.”

          That’s not actually what the chart says. It says that 11.4% of the total polled who voted for the Progressives Party last time now intend to vote for ACT.

          • sweetd

            Seems very odd, people shifting their vote from Progressives to Act, very much opposite ends of the political spectrum.

            • Pascal's bookie

              I think it’s just a simple matter of sample size. How many people in the total sample voted for progressives? Of those that voted for Progressives, slightly over 1 in ten are now thinking of voting ACT.

              If I’m reading the table right, 14 people say they voted for the Progressives so we are talking about an individual voter…

              • sweetd

                I understand the mechanics of the table, just the reasoning behind the shift I am confused about. Going from a very socialist party to a very capatilist one?!?!?! Whats the reasoning in people’s minds, “socialist voting hasn’t worked out for me, I know, I abandon this entire structure and go for a capatilist party and see if that works better for me?!?!?!” About as probable as Kim Il Jung waking up one morning, looks outside, and decides to abandon his one party state and hold democratic open elections.

              • Rich

                Who probably checked boxes at random, being primarily focused on winning the iPad.

                I have zero faith in this poll. It seems to be a hugely bogus methodology. The existing polling companies get within a few percent (3% last time on Labour/ Nat) so any different methodology really needs to prove itself against this.

                • lprent

                  Daft argument – the problem is that you don’t know how far the ‘scientific’ polls diverged from reality prior to election day.

                  Many people don’t make up their minds until quite close to the day. Since almost all of the polls this far out don’t show how the numbers of undecided they are only reporting people with relatively early fixed viewpoints. The polls that do show undecideds/would not answer as typically being about 20-25% this far out, and steadily reducing towards the election. Of course you’d expect polls to be more accurate coming up to the election, but it means bugger all at determining their accuracy now.

                  What you’re implicitly saying is that the undecided split in the same proportion as the decided. But there is little evidence that the two statistical populations are even similar.

                  The elections are typically won by the votes of the undecided. They tend to move a lot leading up to the election and that is why you see the polls moving quite a lot heading in closer to an election.

                  (and that isn’t even considering a pile of other arguments about the ‘scientific’ validity of polls)

    • Thanks Carol. The result highlights the issue with conventional polling where the reliance on fixed landlines has caused reliability problems. Perhaps Horizon’s method is the way of the future?

      Farrar and Slater are over this because they know the importance of poll results, the results can become self fulfilling no matter what the initial reality was.

      • The Voice of Reason 4.2.1

        My favourite bit of the article is Hooten calling for voters to reject MMP to stop National losing. Does he not know that the election is under MMP, no matter what the referendum decides for the future?

        This poll is National’s nightmare and puts Key’s comments last week into better perspective. No wonder he’s planning his exit strategy if this poll reflects their own canvassing. He’s gone and he knows it.

        • higherstandard

          I thought Hooten was quite coherent and made some good points worthy of debate.

          Especially in relation to Epsom…… why should the voters in a single electorate have such a huge impact on the country ?

          “But right-leaning political analyst Matthew Hooton said that although he had some qualms about Horizon’s polling practice of asking “undecided” voters to indicate their preference, the results showed that “small parties will continue to have a huge impact on the result of the election”.

          He said for that reason alone, New Zealand should reject the MMP proportional representation voting system.

          If Peters were to be cast in a kingmaker role, it would show that fringe parties with no public support, rather than the voters, get to choose the prime minister.

          Similarly, Hooton said, Horizon’s numbers suggested the result in Epsom would be “absolutely decisive”.

          “If National voters in Epsom vote for a National candidate, Goff will be prime minister; if they vote for Hide, Key will be prime minister.”

          Hooton said that although other polls had been giving National more than 50% of the votes it would be a remarkable feat if Key achieved that, because no party had taken a clear 50% of the votes in an election since 1951.”

          • Deadly_NZ

            If Peters were to be cast in a kingmaker role, it would show that fringe parties with no public support, rather than the voters, get to choose the prime minister.

            Sounds like the ACT party to me

          • Jim Nald

            And I thought the last line encapsulates this Nat Gov’s typical response in circumstances that does not seem so favourable to it.

          • Marty G

            Hooton is desperate. And flogging the dead horse of being anti-MMP won’t help him.

            This statement makes no sense “it would show that fringe parties with no public support, rather than the voters, get to choose the prime minister”

            um. in these poll numbers the greens and nzf have the support of 8.9% of voters. those people have the same right per person to influence who is the government as those who vote National or Labour. MMP delivers that. FPP would disenfranchise them.

            • higherstandard

              These polls are magnificent – I just took part in their survey as a life long green party member, female and over the age of 85 and said I would definitely be voting for Winston at the next election.

          • Lanthanide

            “If National voters in Epsom vote for a National candidate, Goff will be prime minister; if they vote for Hide, Key will be prime minister.”

            Um, I think he’s missing the elephant in the room. While Epsom may be the pivotal kingmaker, that is *only so* if the rest of the country puts them in that position. If enough people in the rest of the country vote left or vote right, it doesn’t matter who wins Epsom. I mean duh.

            The fact that MMP can put all of the decision down to one electorate like that may or may not be a good thing, but it’s really no different from having 20,000 party votes throughout the country decide it one way or the other.

  5. Did anyone note that Labour is at 28.3%? What mandate would Goff have to form a government with little more than a quarter of the popular vote?

    The only thing that this Horizon poll is going to achieve is to make people look even more critically at MMP, if that is the kind of result it could serve up.

    • The Voice of Reason 5.1

      If Goff has the ability to put together a coalition government, then he has the mandate. Same as National now, Labour in the last three and the Nats prior to that. That’s how MMP works.

    • RedLogix 5.2

      Hypothetically lets say an election gave this result:

      National 40%

      Labour 25%

      Greens 15%

      NZ1 15%

      (Wasted votes 5%)

      and that post-election there was a clear intention among the parties to form a Lab+Grn+NZ1 coaltion which would have a clear and stable 5% working majority in Parliament.

      Would you question the legitimacy of this govt because the leading party, Labour received fewer votes than another party that was outside the coalition?

      This is a perfectly possible result under MMP; how would you respond Inv2?

      • higherstandard 5.2.1

        It’d also be the death knell for MMP in NZ… as it would collapse into tatters within a matter of months.

        • RedLogix

          So now hypothetically the same election result was attained under First Past the Post…FPP.

          Less likely because of the way FPP works, but still not impossible. What would you think might happen then?

          • higherstandard

            NZ first getting 15% of the seats under FPP ?

            Sounds like Zombies Dawn of the Dead has come to NZ, let’s face it FPP will always (for the forseeable future at least ) be a race between Lab and the Nats and the smaller players have little to no relevancy.

            • RedLogix

              Diversion… the premise of the argument is not impossible. There is nothing in the rules of FPP to prevent such a result.

              • Perhaps RL, but how many NZ First electorate candidates can you name other than WRP or Brendon Horan?

                • RedLogix

                  Still diverting from the point which is … that my hypothetical election result would still result in a Lab+Grn+NZ1 coaltion govt regardless of the electoral system that produced it.

            • Deadly_NZ

              And for anyone who wants FPP just remember it was tossed out so that there could not be another Muldoon. No matter how hard Shonky Jonky wants it, and if it went back to FPP then the Maori, Greens, Act and NZ1st would all but disappear and then the country would be in a real mess, and I think that it’s the smaller parties that have probably kept some of the more radical policies where they belong. In the Bin. just because the big parties have to appease their smaller number maker uppers. (you could not call the Maori and Act party the Nats partners).

              • higherstandard

                The Maori party doesn’t rely on party votes for its seats in parliament.

              • Olwyn

                As I remember FFP was tossed out because of both Labour and National following radical right wing policies for which they had not campaigned.

        • Marty G

          Why would it be the death knell? A clear majority of people support the parties in the government in that scenario.

          In FPP, a party with 35% of the vote won a majority of seats with 20% of votes wasted.. Now that was undemocratic.

          • higherstandard

            Well as a start I was under the impression that the Green party didn’t really like Winston first all that much and he’d certainly want baubles extraordinaire to smooch up to Phil and Labour in general.

            At a 50% of the vote level all you’d need is one or other of Winston first of the Green party to dislike legislation and you’d be fucked.

            So essentially you’d have a do nothing bunch of retards sitting in parliament wanking themselves over the taxpayer for three years……. and I was under the impression that’s what we have at the moment and you don’t approve of them……. or do you ?

            NZ may have the most ambivalent voting public in the world…. but they do get righteously fucked off every now and again.

          • Deadly_NZ

            Well there was one year and I think that this was the death nell of FPP that Labour won more of the votes BUT the NATS won. There was a huge outcry.
            Anyway I have found this it’s the royal commission on why they chose MMP it’s in my google docs here’s the link. It’s quite informative


            • Marty G

              in 1978 and 1981, Labour won more votes but lost the election. Not to mention all the other elections were Social Credit or Values won large number of votes but little or no seats.

              In 1993, Nat got 35%, Labour 34.5% and Alliance and NZF the rest but only 2 seats each. National won and governed alone despite nearly two-thirds of voters being opposed to them.

              FPP meant that most of the time the government had the support of less than a majority of the voters.

      • Rich 5.2.2

        What’s illegitimate about having parties representing 60% of voters forming a government?

    • Marty G 5.3

      “What mandate would Goff have to form a government with little more than a quarter of the popular vote?”

      He would have the mandate of the support of the voters who voted for all the parties in his coalition – not just his own party.

      What mandate does John Key have to pass legislation when less than a majority of voters supported his party? Oh yeah, it’s not just his party that counts towards his government’s mandate – it’s UF, ACT, and MP too.

      • higherstandard 5.3.1

        Yeah I’m sure that the supporters of the Maori party and ACT feel that way every time that legislation is passed that they disagree with.

        • Marty G

          you vote for a party, giving that party seats in the house. your vote has to acknowledge that the party has a choice of what legislation it supports and you believe it will do the right thing more of the time than any other party.

          are you saying that the National-led government has no mandate? Don’t be stupid. It has a mandate because it has the confidence of parties that were elected by a majority of voters.

  6. interesting 6

    How did the polls on One News, 3 News, New Zealand Herald and Roy Morgan and Horizon leading up to their last poll before election day 2008 compare with the final result?

    Looking at these will help us to understand how accurate each poll is?

    Genuine question, looking for a genuine answer.

    • The Voice of Reason 6.1

      Don’t know about the others, but the Roy Morgan poll the week before the last election was pretty close to the actual result and they don’t seem to use leading questions, small samples or dodgy political hacks masquerading as pollsters.

      • Inventory2 6.1.1

        IIRC 3News got 2005 the closest (and was the poll that Helen Clark used to place most faith in), and Roy Morgan was pretty accurate with 2008. Both of those are way out of kilter with the Horizon poll.

    • RedLogix 6.2

      Bear in mind that as polling day approaches the number of undecideds probably reduces.

      • Kevin Welsh 6.2.1

        Also, the public get to see the leaders regularly on TV via debates and more extensive coverage.

  7. From the looks of the figures the undecideds must be about 12% which actually seems a little low. Labour’s and the Green’s jobs are to keep the pressure up and continue to cast doubt on the ability of this government to achieve anything, even a cycleway.

    This year’s election is not over by a long shot.

  8. Olwyn 8

    Polls that do not register the proportion of undecideds give a slightly skewed picture of what the electorate is thinking (50% of 80% is not the same as 50% of 100%, for example) and what is perhaps more important, fail to acknowledge the levels of general disenchantment among voters. This last is an important part of the context in which the other percentages are understood.

  9. tc 9

    Polls smolls….the only one that counts is election day poll etc etc and much like HR performance appraisal processes they can derive a pretermined outcome if you target how and where you sample the data from as some of the posts have outlined.

    The crystal clear message in my mind is that the election is the Nat’s to lose and very winnable by the others in an MMP setup as it’s designed to be rather than the horrors FPP delivered with a single party and no dilution of their given ideology be it right or left of centre.

    Key’s rolled the dice with his petulant “I’ll go if you don’t have me back” comment and the steaming pile that is SuperShity is yet to unfold it’s true costs to complete the task Wodney committed to getting done by 1 Nov 2010 onto akl ratepayers. I’ve heard there’s about another 2 years worth of integration and duplication to sort out that’s just stopped as the dosh has already run out !

    No competitive tender process on one of the largest Integration projects undertaken in NZ just another gravy train at akl ratepayers expense that’s not even completed the job.

    On top of Double Dipton’s double dip an arrogance and contempt for due process (Worth/Wong/Bennett/D Carter/Blinglish etc) and they’ll be asking for plenty of blind eyes from the MSM to be able to blag another term.

    • RedLogix 9.1


      Yes I can see Len Brown coping some flack over the integration process. Knowing a more than a little about local govt systems and the enormously complex asset base they manage, I’d imagine everyone has been rather playing down the enormity of the task in public, while hoping like hell in private that not too many wheels fall off all at once.

  10. Sanctuary 10

    A week is a long time in politics and I think we are going to see more of Bill English’s dodgy dealings around PEDA. It is going to be the first scandal of the new year. The MSM know the double dipper is on a yellow card, so they’ll go after him. If he can’t satifisfactorily explain what is a prima facie case of at best political nepotism and at worst out right corrupt appropriation of public money he is a goner.

    If English is brought down – or even better, politcally crippled by a refusal to explain or resign – that’ll really damage Key, and the government, as well.

    I also think that the economy will come into play this year. Another austerity budget WILL hit the government hard, regardless of Key’s appeal. If people perceive the government has no ideas for solving unemployment – a huge sleeper issue – then they’ll start looking for someone who has.

    • Lanthanide 10.1

      “If people perceive the government has no ideas for solving unemployment – a huge sleeper issue – then they’ll start looking for someone who has.”

      Yeah, I was thinking about that last night, before I found out this was a Horizon ‘online panel’ poll and therefore already out of whack with the other regular polls.

      Lower results for National support in the new year could be a reflection of a bad holiday season – people travelling around the country through more rural areas and small townships and meeting up with their relatives and seeing and hearing first hand about XYZ person who has lost their job. I think this would bring a lot of truthes home to people who otherwise might not’ve been very affected by the recession themselves.

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