John Banks is steadily dropping away from a possibility of gaining the Auckland super-city mayoralty. A Herald online poll has John Banks falling to third in preference behind Steven Tindall – who has not even declared that he is interested or would run. Len Brown is far higher in preference.
Self-selecting online polls are about as useful at measuring Auckland sentiment as a Granny Herald editorial. They usually reflect who can marshal up enough on-line troops to flood the poll (or a moderate level coder with proxy access). But they are interesting for trend. Unfortunately this simply reflects the on-going trend that the Granny writers have been pointing out since July, but apparently Heather McCracken doesn’t read Grannys articles.
Granny Herald proports that this is “Online poll’s mayoral surprise“. But that really just shows how lightly connected the Granny is to the various communities of Auckland. In fact they don’t seem to read their own paper.
As Bernard Osman pointed out in the Herald in July
Manukau Mayor Len Brown has leapfrogged Auckland City Mayor John Banks in a head-to-head poll for the first mayor of the Super City.
The poll of 482 Aucklanders, by UMR Research, had Mr Brown on 35 per cent, marginally ahead of Mr Banks on 34 per cent.
The poll is a huge turnaround for Mr Brown from a poll of possible candidates by UMR Research in April. That poll had him on 6 per cent, behind Mr Banks (17 per cent), Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey (10 per cent) and Warehouse boss Stephen Tindall (9 per cent). Mr Lee was on 1 per cent.
Or as Brian Rudman pointed out in December at the NZ Herald
Instead of delivering a message of hope and good cheer, Manukau Mayor Len Brown has delivered his right-wing rival, John Banks, a lousy package: a poll that shows himself ahead of the Auckland City Mayor by 11 points.
Mr Banks has tried to brush this setback aside, calling it a “shonky” survey by Labour Party pollsters and arguing that “no one really believes that a Labour candidate for the Auckland mayoralty can be that far ahead, with the National Party in Auckland 30 points ahead of Labour in every poll across Greater Auckland.”
But if that is so, why has he refused to reveal the results of his own polling “of 1500 people over two to three nights”. A survey conducted by the presumably non-shonky National Party pollster David Farrar.
UMR’s poll of 482 Aucklanders has Mr Brown on 42 per cent and Mr Banks on 31. This is a major change since the last published UMR poll in July which had the two contenders equal pegging, Mr Brown on 35 per cent, Mr Banks on 34. Mr Brown had not then officially declared his candidacy and had a point when he argued “my name recognition is nothing like John Banks’ is”.
So it is hardly surprising that a unscientific and indeed a really shonky online poll had
When the two declared candidates were pitched head-to-head, the Manukau mayor was ticked by 44 per cent, compared to his Auckland rival’s 19 per cent. 21.1 per cent would not vote for either and 15.8 per cent were unsure.
What should be surprising is if the online poll had not followed the trend of existing scientific polling. But of course the Herald online polls usually don’t accurately reflect the scientific polls. They’re more extreme because of the self-selecting nature of the respondents and the inherent flaw that allows activists to easily fiddle online polls. So Heather McCracken is probably just surprised that the online poll followed a existing trend.
Banks dismissed the poll results. “There’s 10 months to go,” he said.
“All of our polling shows the race is very, very tight and there’ll be many many more candidates yet to announce. There’s a long way to go in the poll that counts.”
Of course that has been John Banks modus operandi in previous elections. By selectively releasing internal polling to other left-candidates, he attempts to split the left-leaning vote by getting other candidates to declare on the left. In this case it appears that there is room for other candidates to declare to the right of Len Brown to splinter John Banks vote.
When put up against a wider group of contenders, Banks’ vote splintered, leaving him to slip to third place behind Brown and Tindall.
Next was Mike Lee (5.7 per cent), maverick Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt (5.6), former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley (5.2), broadcaster Paul Henry (4.9) and former MP Winston Peters (3.9).
Ouch – almost everyone else who is undeclared, but presumably is a possibility, is as popular as John Banks amongst the right. That has got to hurt. But really is unsurprising bearing in mind previous polling that shows Len Brown as gaining very solid support.
What puzzles me is why Heather McCracken writes that this poll is a surprise. Doesn’t she think that previous polls reported in the Harald indicate a long-term trend. Or was she expecting that a shonky self-selected on-line poll from the Herald would have given a variant result as they do so often before? That this poll would have given comfort to John Banks after a steady decline in reasonably scientific polls?
On-line polls are a waste of space because they aren’t representative. The Grannys on-line polls usually show a distinct preference for the right or the anti-votes.
I guess that John Banks isn’t well liked by either group. Which makes this a very unsurprising poll and a bit of a worry for the right. The Mayor wields a lot of power under the super-city travesty of a democratic process. It looks like voters are aware of that, and are seeking to get rid of some deadwood of the past.
[rocky: I hadn’t realised the NZ Herald have turned their online polls back on. Since I can’t be bothered doing it myself, I’ll buy a beer for whoever manages to hack them again 😈 Tips on how here.]