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Last Roy Morgan of the year

Written By: - Date published: 1:00 pm, December 22nd, 2010 - 37 comments
Categories: greens, labour, national - Tags:

It’s First Past the Post thinking to look at the polling gap between National and Labour and conclude National will romp home. MMP is here and set to stay – it means the coalition with the support of a majority of MPs governs, not necessarily the largest party. The final Roy Morgan of the year lets us look at the trends in support for Left and Right.

So, what can we take from the Roy Morgans? The race is a lot closer than just looking at National and Labour’s numbers would suggest – and the gap is closing.

In this graph I’ve plotted the two major parties as well as ‘Right’ (National and ACT) and ‘Left’ (Labour, Progressives, Greens) over the past two years of Roy Morgans:


It doesn’t take a genius to see that there’s a turning point in mid/late 2009 and after that the gap begins to gradually close. Of course the numbers will jump around from poll to poll based on short-term events and normal statistical variation but compare the average Right v Left gap (this is the most important number to my mind) and net confidence in government figure for the four half years that National has been in power. I’ve projected the trend of the last three half-years into next year:

Average Right v Left gap Average net confidence in govt
1st half 09 14.5 47.2
2nd half 09 16.7 44.7
1st half 10 11.8 36.7
2nd half 10 10.3 32.2
1st half 11 6.5 25.4
2nd half 11 3.3 19.1

The gap is closing, gradually but surely. And it could be very close indeed by late 2011, which is why the smart money is on the election result being a lot closer than the current polls.

It would be foolish to say this process is inevitable, of course. And Labour’s leadership needs to pick up its act to get support into the 37-38% range where it needs to be. But the trend is away from National to the Left, that much is clear.

This makes me even more sure that Key won’t wait until November for an election. The gap is closing and there’s no reason to think it will turn around. If anything, Key had a lucky half year in the second half of 2010 with plenty of exceptional circumstances that favoured his smile and wave governance (the earthquake, for example) and the drop could resume more rapidly in 2011. Waiting until after the World Cup just throws in more unpredictable elements.

Finally, National knows that it will have sacrifice at least 5% of its support as the price of campaigning on issues like privatisation and cuts.

Whether or not the Left actually matches or overtakes the Right, it looks highly unlikely that National + ACT + Peter Dunne (if he makes it) will make a majority. Peters or the Maori Party become kingmakers in that situation and either of them could support a National-led or Labour-led government.

There’s a long way to go and it’s Labour, not the Greens, that will have to win back most of the extra support needed. That’s not impossible – most of the target voters have voted Labour in three of the past four elections. But they won’t get there if the campaign becomes a one-on-one personality contest and they have the more boring man in the room. Labour has to offer an exciting, radical economic vision to that not only works for the many but contrasts with the privatisation agenda offered by National that favours the few.

37 comments on “Last Roy Morgan of the year ”

  1. TightyRighty 1

    haven’t you read the leaked cables about the current opposition? The only vision existent amongst the current crop of labour MP’s is for some more cheese rolls at bellamy’s. They can’t see past the end of their noses, and if they can, not past their fat guts.

    • higherstandard 1.1

      Shouldn’t that be…

      ‘haven’t you read the leaked cables about the MPs? The only vision existent amongst the current crop of MPs is for some more cheese rolls at bellamy’s. They can’t see past the end of their noses, and if they can, not past their fat guts.

  2. Come on TightyRighty

    Care to make a reality based comment for a change?

    Capcha stupid !!!

    • TightyRighty 2.1

      it is based on reality nub nub. Those cables said the current labour party mp’s lack vision and are afraid to go against the failed policies and vision of the clark-era. can’t get much more real than that SFB

  3. Santi 3

    It’s a long, long wait until 2014.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Yeah John Key will hate being back in Opposition so much he’s gonna jump ship way before 2014. And where will NAT be? Only Power shows any hope out of that entire bunch. Although I’m sure Paula Bennett has her eye on the top spot 🙄

  4. The Voice of Reason 4

    Nice work, Marty G. This confirms what I’ve been saying for yonks, which is that an early poll is on the cards. Key’s a gambler and he’ll want to go for the pot while he still holds a winning hand. April/May, before winter sets in and well before the RWC.

  5. Rob Salmond 5

    Marty

    I want you to be right about this, I really do. I have a strong preference for a left-leaning government, as I think you know. But the number crunching here isn’t persuasive. A linear regression with N=3 and a cherry-picked starting point, projected out way beyond the data? Really? I understand the need to project until election day, I suppose, but the other elements make it all pretty uninformative. Hell, even if I keep the cherry-picked starting point and the ballsy linear projection just use weekly left-right gaps from the Pundit Poll of Polls (incorporating Morgan, Colmar, TV3, and Herald data) rather than your N=3, I get a projected gap on election day of 5.9%, which is probably too big to bridge in the post-election negotiating room.

    I also get a projected right-leaning vote share of 49.3%. That is not a majority, but 50% has to be pretty close to the middle of that projection distribution, making the claim “it looks highly unlikely that National + ACT + Peter Dunne (if he makes it) will make a majority” look a bit dubious.

    I would just hate for folk in Labour and the Greens to see this trending exercise and say “great, we just need to keep doing what we’re doing, cos on current trends we’re in with an excellent shot.” The left needs a game changer of some description, because in my estimation the current path leads to defeat.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      Thanks for verbalising the same unease I get looking at Marty’s numbers in a more sophisticated manner than I could’ve. The 10.3, 6.5, 3.3 series really looks out of place given the previous numbers.

    • Bright Red 5.2

      I don’t think we need to get too hung up on which regression is better – the point I take is the gap is closing and there’s no reason it can’t continue to close.

      I agree with Marty that Nat+ACT isn’t going to make a majority because they’re going to shed votes in the campaign on issues like privatisation.

      And I agree with you both that Labour will need to get more ballsy if it’s to win. I think that game change you’re talking about is the “exciting, radical economic vision” Marty raises.

    • lprent 5.3

      This projected numbers look a wee bit optimistic to me as well (well more than a wee bit). But the trend is in the right direction.

      Whichever way you look at it for the next election, I suspect it is largely going to be a matter of what minor parties get seats, how much overhang there is, and what percentages of votes are discarded under the 5% rules. I’ve been watching the ipredict steadily looking like a closer and closer race (once you read past the bullshit ‘analysis’ – feels like Hooten writes it). So I’d guess that other political people are feeling the same.

      At present it looks to me like both Act and UF are probably history at the electorate level. In UF’s case there is no particular party vote. But I suspect that Act will drop a few percent off the right. Progressive votes are likely to head largely to Labour as it winds up (but again not much vote).

      I suspect we’ll wind up in parliament with just Labour, National, Greens, and Maori party unless something interesting happens. I’d guess a likely overhang with the Maori party as they really don’t seem to budge from that percentage and the usual amount of strategic voting in the Maori electorates.

      I suspect it really comes down to how Labour perform in opposition and how many more times National screws up. But I’m picking a really tight election regardless when it is held. I’m still thinking a November election simply because voters get really unhappy with early elections without a cause. Of course either Act or the MP look like they could disintegrate internally and provide an excuse for National.

      • Herodotus 5.3.1

        All this analysis- is without any policy release from Lab and only a few catch phrases nothing to analysis if Labs proposals are a goer or yet another theoritical experiment thrusted onto the public with hope of it working attached.
        At least with Nat we know what we are getting, with Lab I and others are less cetain. I onl;y hope that time will reduce the uncertainity. perhaps Botany will be the test case to sample some of these potential policies.

        • mickysavage 5.3.1.1

          At least with Nat we know what we are getting

          You mean like the destruction of democratic institutions, privatisation of everything that has not been bolted down, destruction of long held workers rights, changes in policies to prevent us from becoming carbon neutral, mining of national parks, a continuous stream of bullsiht …

          • higherstandard 5.3.1.1.1

            Why don’t you run for parliament on the Nats ticket MS ?

            When it comes to a continuous stream of bullshit there’s few who aspire to public office that can hold a candle to you.

            • mickysavage 5.3.1.1.1.1

              HS

              I would rather have my lower limbs eaten slowly by rats than seeking public office on a National ticket.

              Care to address the post? Which of the following is not bullshit?

              1. The destruction of democratic institutions,
              2. Privatisation of everything that has not been bolted down,
              3. Destruction of long held workers rights,
              4. Changes in policies to prevent us from becoming carbon neutral,
              5. Mining of national parks,

              Examples and argument would be welcome.

              • higherstandard

                Why worry about your lower limbs wen your grey matter appears to already have been gnawed upon.

                1. We have as much/little democracy in NZ as we have had over the last several decades the ‘voter/public’ has fuck all say in anything apart from once every voting cycle and then it’s a choice amongst a parade of fools.

                2. Don’t be an ignoramus, NZ is and will remain quite a non-privatised country with government provision of those services which the public have come to expect to receive for ‘free’. The last true privatisations of any note/size occurred decades ago.

                3. I imagine you’re referring to the 90 day no fault law changes, meh if people don’t like it go to Australia, UK etc and get the same, imo that particular law has been a damp squib neither causing any great increase in employment or great outrages by employers on new employees.

                4. Yawn – it will make no difference to NZ if we become carbon neutral apart from a feel good factor and further hurting the economy in comparison to our international trading partners.

                5. From where I’m sitting there is no mining of national parks proceeding – more’s the pity as any discussion of mining seems to initiate bombastic utterances from far and wide which terminates any reasonable debate before it takes place.

                Regards c’est la vie have a good Xmas and New Year.

        • lprent 5.3.1.2

          A lot of the policy vacuum is the same with any major political opposition. You saw it strongly last election because National had lost twice by articulating policy early.

          You only release those parts that are unpalatable to your major opposing party prior to the campaign because they’ll pick them up and they have a lot more resource to get them done.

          You release most of the policy in the campaign or just before it.

          • Herodotus 5.3.1.2.1

            Yet as Lab are looking at completely changing the financial basis of this country- That has been established for over 25 years. Giving us a “few” weeks to take as close a look as the details that will be released. How then can we make an informed decision?
            My major concern regarding the expressed changes:
            What are they-details
            How are the transitions to be managed-to min profiteering from those that are able, capitial outflow, how will the banks finance. They are currently contributing more to the resecession than any other component IMO
            What can we expect to see- if they are working or failing
            What is plan B if they fail
            What are the positives and negatives from the changes.
            These cannot be thrown at us with a few weeks and all the other distractions around an election and RWC. Hiding behind this “keeping our powder dry” is crap. I would hate for another eroccurance of Labs last dramatic chnage in 84, and we were ambushed then. I do admit much of this was required… but not all. e.g. Works and a few other SOE being sold and to finance a few US Cup challanges 😉

            • mcflock 5.3.1.2.1.1

              “Lab are looking at completely changing the financial basis of this country”

              Yeah, I’ll believe that when I see it.

              Same old same old.

    • Marty G 5.4

      thanks for the comment Rob. Any projection needs to be taken with a grain of salt, the purpose is merely to show that things will likely be much closer than they appear if one simply says ‘well Labour has been in the 29-34 range most of the year and National has been 50-55’. I’m illustrating that there is a trend and, should it continue, which will require good work from the Labour leadership, then the gap will be close.

      I note the projection you came up with and mine only differ by the voting decisions of just over 1% of the population.

      If you look at why Hooton is so worried its because he has worked out that National has to discount even the decreased support it will have going into the campaign by the votes it is likely to lose over policy issues like privatisation, making it unlikely that the Right+United Future will be able to govern alone and, so, will have to turn to someone like the Maori Party or NZF for majorities, effectively kneecapping most of the rightwing’s agenda.

  6. Irascible 6

    The Botany by election date creates a limitation on Key calling a General Election doesn’t it? No by election within 6 months of a General Election unless agreed on by 75% of House.
    There was no vote on the announcement so Key limited to calling election in period from September to November.
    Even if he is a gambler he has surely limited his chances at the table with the Botany call.

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      No, it’s the other way around.

      They are allowed to have the by-election, and the full election the very next week or day after – nothing in the rules prevents that.

      What they need permission for, it to *cancel* the by-election because the full election is sometime within the next 6 months.

      All the by-election date tells us is that National is thinking, at the moment, that they probably won’t have an election within the next 1 or 2 months after that (or they look like they’re wasting public money on a by-election), but it’s far from a guarantee of even that. And things can always change very fast in politics.

      Now, if in the future National decide “hey, we’re going to have the election in June, why don’t we just cancel the by-election in March” they’d have to get 75% vote in parliament to agree to it. A ‘no’ vote could easily work for or against National depending on the circumstances around it.
      Pro National: Labour end up looking like they want to waste the public’s money on a pointless by-election.
      Con National: Labour vote ‘no’ as a protest to National’s power-hungry early-election.

      Most likely a no vote would work in National’s favour, against Labour.

  7. dave 7

    Some of this left/right thinking is as futile as first past the post thinking, particularly when United Future and the Maori Party have a larger “centre” than Act and Progressives and can swing either way. Any analysis on this post will not get you far in terms of what will happen on 26 November 2011.

  8. ianmac from Prague 8

    Lets all be optimistic. 🙂 There is a trend slight but cheerful. Honeymoons do pale usually after about a year, 2 if you are lucky. Irritating habits do take the glow off fancy cosmetics. And Governments lose elections rather than oppositions winning and so on. Good cheer!

    • rich 8.1

      Yeah, but it probably won’t happen, and Labour will be choosing a new leader around this time next year.

      They should really take a leaf out of the Aussies book and roll Goff real soon now. The only problem is their utter lack of a less lacklustre alternative, excluding first term MPs and senior UN officials. But maybe they should cast caution to the wind and adopt one of those.

      • MrSmith 8.1.1

        I like Goff well maybe not that much, “nice guy’s come last people ” so he has to go!

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.2

        They should really take a leaf out of the Aussies book and roll Goff real soon now.

        Did you even see what happened in Oz? Gillard rolled Rudd, and then her own stock promptly tanked.

        Yeah great example to follow.

  9. thomas forrow 9

    I think the National Party will be very pleased if Goff stays on to the election …. says it all really

  10. Zeroque 10

    I think you are right TF. It feels a little like how pleased Labour must have been when hearing that the Nats were going to stick with Brash for their leader a few years ago. But on a more positive note I agree with Marty G, Labour will need to come up with something appealing to gain back points. They are unlikely to be able to rely upon sexy leadership whoever that might be come the election. And I think the bit about the appeal coming from a radical economic policy that differs from the Nats would be great. But is this likely to happen? Wasnt it in the recent Aussie election that policy didnt feature? If that plays out here I think that will go against Labour.

  11. Gina 11

    The Polls may very well be complete crap. Yes they appeared to be fairly close to the money after the last election but there was another reason for that.

    Historiclly when there is a low election turnout we get a National party victory. No matter what the polls say the low turnout scenario allways gives the election to National.

    So why are the polls such a load of crap?

    1. 70% of those polled refuse to take part.

    2. Households without a landline are not polled. In the US studies reveal that adding cellphone only households to the mix changes the outcome in favour of the left by up to 7 points in states with the highest rate of cellphone only households. There is a direct correlation i.e. the higher the number of cellphone only households in a particular state the greater the polls favour the right when those cell only households are not polled.

    In New Zealand there are more households that do not have a landline than in the US so its possible there is an even greater difference.

    It looks to me like left wing voters didn’t vote at the last election. ? Was this due to disalusionment with Labour or becuase left voters believed the polls so didn’t vote? Maybe it was a bit of both.
    We really need to check out the 23% plus cellphone only households in NZ to know how big an influence this is in NZ as it could really make quite a difference. Seeing that differnce might make left wing voters realise the polls are not accurate and help inspire left voters to get out to the polls.

    If this US scenario holds true for NZ then as more households switch to cellphone only we will see the polls favouring the right wing continuing. With growing numbers of unemployed here the numbers of households without a landline will be growing thus distorting the polls further.

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