Granny is surprised, no-one else is.

Written By: - Date published: 5:29 pm, January 3rd, 2010 - 11 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, john banks, len brown, local body elections, polls - Tags: ,

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.

As usual

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.]

11 comments on “Granny is surprised, no-one else is.”

  1. Gooner 1

    Lprent, I cannot believe you would get excited about this when the election is 10 months away. A day is a long time in politics, 10 months is an eternity. It’s simply not worth considering at this time. But I realise this blog has an agenda to deliver a left wing mayor so I’ll put it down to that.

    [lprent: Fixed the http that was in your name. Have a edit next time – it appears to be coming from your cookies. ]

    • lprent 1.1

      The race is interesting even at this point. I guess you didn’t read my comments from 2007 and 2008 where I was pointing out to run an effective election campaign these days in NZ, you need to be running at least 12 months out.

      Those comments were in the context of the EFA, which in my opinion set the electoral period too short. NACT has reduced that down to what 5 months? For me campaigning for general elections has been starting over 12 months before the probable election dates.

      However the mayoral campaigning in Auckland by both Len Brown and John Banks has been going on since April last year, what 18 months before the election?? Similarly the campaigning for council positions is likely to start with a bang in the new year as soon as the wards are finalized after the tweaks are finished. The electoral period for local bodies is what – 3 months? Patently ridiculous.

      Perhaps you should read up on how elections are won. You don’t seem to understand how it operates.

  2. It is not the election date in question at the moment. It is the selection of the Right’s candidate. The Left has Mr Brown in the running; no-one with sense thinks that Mike Lee, the other possibility, will stand with the intention of splitting the vote. So where will the Right go? I’ve had my money on Ms Shipley for months. I doubt if Mr Tindall would stand as the Right candidate (and I think that his name is a ‘spoiler’ in the Herald poll). Mr Banks will not win, and there is a growing sequence of numbers to show this.

  3. andy 3

    The fringes of Aucks have a different problems than those of the centre , and the tub thumping nature of Banks scares the bejeeezus of those on the outer fringe.

    The centre has to replace ageing infrastructure vs building out for the future of the fringe. The good people of the fringe understand the nature of where they live, the Burghers of Remuera may like MR Banks but his style and innate conservatism but do not understand the nature of the wider city they inhabit.

    The ultimate irony would be Rodney;s stupid city entrenching a left wing council in Auckland, thus moving the national discussion (due to size, weight and inevitable demands of a third of the population) to the left.

  4. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this election will be incredibly tight. Len should get home because he is a good competent mayor and candidate and he is not John Banks.

    But the elections for the Council seats are going to be really important. The current boundaries are a joke and if they remain this way then the left are going to lose some good candidate battles. You only have to look at the Orakei Maungakiekie ward where the voters of Remuera and Kohimarama will likely swamp the voters of Otahuhu and Te Papa and elect two right wing councillors in an area that should have one of each.

    Overall I suspect that without a good campaign the left will struggle to get a majority and Len may struggle to organise and control the Council.

    By far the biggest problem however is that the heads of the CCOs are going to be appointed by Hide. These people will have extraordinary power and will effectively determine how super city is run during the next three years.

    What happened to my democracy?

  5. Sanctuary 5


    I also have these fears, especially as we have the character assassination of Hubbard by the C&R backing Herald as a precedent as to how the main local media player responds to a mayoral candidate who may be a threat to the local region hegemons.

    Fortunately for Len Brown, most people outside Auckland city proper don’t read the Herald, and TV is more even handed. But the election of Len Brown is only round one in a long fight to dismantle Rodney Hide’s Pinochet fantasy.

  6. Armchair Critic 6

    mickeysavage – “What happened to my democracy?”
    Under the cover of a range of distractions the government took it away from you, and everyone, and they gave it to their mates. You might get it back in ten or so years.

  7. quenchino 7

    I can’t recall if this has been linked to before, but it is highly pertinent.

    Detroit’s City Council doesn’t work that way. It works on what is arguablyso they thinka higher ideal. Their entire City Council, and also their School Board, is elected At Large. If you want to get on Detroit’s City Council, you get elected by the entire city. Same if you run for the School Board. The top vote-getters in every election, city-wide, get to be on the City Council, and the School Board.

    That sounds more liberal and more populist. But in truth, it’s a recipe for chaos. If you look at Detroit’s top vote-getters right now, what you honestly have is a bunch of incompetent morons who couldn’t care less about anything but their jobs. They almost all live in one very ritzy and nice part of the city. They’re totally isolated from those who actually vote for them. They don’t have to answer to anybody but “the entire city,’ which means none of them has to answer to anyone in the local neighborhood they live in. In fact, none of them has to live anywhere in particular in the city, except wherever they think is nice. So you’ve got this concentrated pool of elected officials who all live really near each other, and think of themselves as the ruling class. And the result has been one sad story after another of ideologues who have to answer to nothing but their own ideals.

    An interesting perspective from someone who has actual experience with Hide’s moose.

  8. tc 8

    They promised no asset sales, so this is the compromise….asset strip the queen city into your mates/backers pockets.

    They don’t give a toss if Banks runs and looses….Mickey S hit the spot, it’s a lame position designed that way by wodney and johnny clown co. Pity the sod who wins and expects to change that.

    Banks has thick skin to match his head so no damage happening on that count either…zzzzzz.

  9. prism 9

    Like the lively reporting in the Southern Squall – they refer to northern media casting Tim Shadbolt as a “twinkle toed” politician. And if the toes don’t twinkle the flashing teeth will blind the punters. That a large percentage are interested in him rather than Mike Lee shows confusion and a lack of wariness about their possible future. It is still early days though. But they may have to stop listening to the local commercial radios and their inane chatter and music and take time for major debates with facts and the various possibilities discussed.

    • lprent 9.1

      Yeah I read some of their stuff after they linked here the other day, so I popped them in the blog roll under ‘Other blogs’. Enjoyed the writing

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