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Leftie Kiwis

Written By: - Date published: 9:14 am, April 21st, 2016 - 66 comments
Categories: polls, us politics - Tags: , ,

Received political wisdom is that NZ is a conservative country, tending to the right. Interesting then, to see this data on our voting preferences re American presidential candidates (Stephen Mills in The Herald):

If only Kiwis could vote for president

There has been some debate among New Zealand political commentators about whether a candidate like Donald Trump could emerge in New Zealand.

Perhaps one already has.

What is clear is that New Zealanders would much prefer a Democrat won this year’s contest in the US. Given a hypothetical vote in the US presidential election in a UMR survey in early April, 82 per cent would go for Hillary Clinton and only 9 per cent for Donald Trump.

If the choice was between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, New Zealanders would decisively elect the socialist senator from Vermont. He wins by 77 per cent to 8 per cent and even National voters prefer the avowed socialist by 76 per cent to 13 per cent.

Interesting!

New Zealanders are not too keen on Ted Cruz either. In a contest between Cruz and Clinton 72 per cent prefer Clinton and 14 per cent Cruz. If between Sanders and Cruz, Sanders wins 48-19 per cent, though 33 per cent are unsure of their vote facing this lower-profile match up. National voters veer a little right on this head-to-head but still prefer the socialist Sanders over Cruz by 39-28 per cent.

Perhaps there is hope for us yet.

We prefer Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders as well. Given that choice 55 per cent of New Zealanders go for Clinton and 25 per cent for Sanders.

Bother!

In an almost exact parallel to United States demographic breakdowns, younger New Zealanders were much more likely to go for Sanders. Among under 30-year-olds 39 per cent preferred Sanders and 34 per cent Clinton. Clinton had big leads among older age cohorts.

If only the young would get out and vote.

66 comments on “Leftie Kiwis”

  1. save NZ 1

    Interesting post. I wonder if Clinton wins in NZ due to Kiwis MSM not mentioning Sanders, therefore Kiwis have not heard of him. Older people in NZ probably still watch NZ ‘news’, where news is devoid of content.

    Apparently even the Guardian had reporting bias to Clinton.

    • weka 1.1

      When I asked my left voting elderly parents about Sanders vs Clinton, they said that they didn’t really know anything about Sanders. They’re reasonably thoughtful and informed people but they do rely on the MSM (TV, radio and newsprint mostly, not sure how much they look online). The fact that Sanders has had so little coverage is a disgrace in the US and here. But I also think it’s probably the NZ conservative element kicking in. Not political conservativism, just caution (hence the huge antipathy towards KDC). Liberals like my parents are still going to be a bit cautious about those that are perceived as more radical. However I’m pretty sure one of my parents, maybe both, would vote Sanders if he were actually being reported properly in the MSM.

    • Delia 1.2

      I have read plenty about Sanders in the UK press.

  2. david 2

    Fatal flaw in your argument, you assume ‘left and right’ of politics is the same in New Zealand as in America.

    I find it an amorphous term, more a badge of tribal affiliations than an accurate reflection of views.
    E.g is Brexit progressive or neoliberal? Depends on who is supporting it, it seems; than based on principles.

    If you look at Democrat’s policies of charter school, common core, health system based on insurance companies, interventionist foreign policy, TPPP etc.

    The Democrats are in the ‘far right’ category in New Zealand’s political taxonomy.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      +1

    • scotty 2.2

      Not sure about the relevance of where on the NZ spectrum the Democrats would sit .
      But the current National government is the most Right wing in New Zealands’ history.
      Some of our backward environmental laws and the ease at which private interests have usurped control over common water assets for example – would have Republicans dribbling all over their cheque books.

    • Mosa 2.3

      New Zealanders can’t make up their minds to be socialist or capitlist

    • Phil 2.4

      To flesh out your comment a little bit, I perceive the NZ left-right spectrum as being very tightly economic-focused: tax, competition/privatization, trade etc.

      By contrast, in the US there is a broad consensus about economic policy between the two major parties. The spectrum for left-right is much more about social conservatism and liberalism in areas where NZ policy is ‘settled’: abortion, justice and the death penalty, gun control.

  3. ropata 3

    The reality is politics bores most people, they have zero clue about policy, and just vote on fleeting impressions. Hence we have governments focused on PR and spin, but their actual policies are criminal.

    • James 3.1

      this

    • Nessalt 3.2

      that’s not true, people resent politicians taking them for granted when they talk about “all” or “representing” under an MMP system. proportinality is good, but voters feel disengaged from about half of parliament and hate it when a leader is electorally unaccountable in an electorate as there is no measure of how grounded they are outside of their soundbites. dismissing people as uninterested is almost as fascinatingly moronic as bomber cursing out middle new zealand for not voting how he wants people to vote straight after an election.

      • ropata 3.2.3

        The electoral consequences of voter ignorance

        Abstract
        A great deal of research has suggested that scholarly and popular concerns about low levels of citizen political knowledge are exaggerated. One implication of that research is that political history would have unfolded just as it did even if electorates had been more politically informed. This paper presents evidence that counters these claims, showing an infusion of electorally relevant information in twenty-seven democracies would have likely led to a lot of vote “switching”, ultimately changing the composition of many governments. The paper also directly and systematically examines what we might call the “enlightened natural constituency” hypothesis, which expects lower-income citizens to vote disproportionately for left parties once armed with more political knowledge. While the basic argument about how political ignorance disproportionately affects the left’s natural constituency is not new, the hypothesis has thus far not been tested. The analysis provides provisional support for the hypothesis.

        Highlights

        ► Large numbers of better informed voters would have switched their votes. ► Low income voters were more likely to switch compared with other groups. ► Left parties would have benefited if voters were better informed in many cases. ► Vote changes would have been great enough to alter the composition of governments in many cases

    • Whateva next? 3.3

      Bang on ropata

    • Incognito 3.4

      The reality is politics bores most people

      Politics is literally everywhere: at playgrounds, kindergartens, schools, workplaces, sport clubs, households, among flatmates, etc.

      It needs rebranding (and a new flag?).

      It’s a bit like sex; nobody wants to talk about it or discuss it but (almost) everybody is ‘interested’ in it!

  4. swordfish 4

    “We prefer Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders as well”

    So, the “received political wisdom” that we’re “a conservative country, tending to the right”
    is pretty much on the money, then ? 👿

  5. Lanthanide 5

    “Interesting!”

    Hardly. The democrats in the US are to the right of National in NZ.

    The Economist found in 2012 that most of the world would vote for Obama over Romney: http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2012/10/charting-us-election

    Unfortunately the actual voting app / large diagram seems to be broken, but you can see a small map in the article above.

  6. save NZ 6

    F**k Sanders, says Clinton aide, bragging “We kicked his a**” after massive voter purges and irregularities in NY primary
    Hillary staffer gloated to Politico reporter after beating Bernie in NY, amid accusations of voting problems

    http://www.salon.com/2016/04/20/fk_sanders_says_clinton_aide_bragging_we_kicked_his_a_after_massive_voter_purges_and_irregularities_in_ny_primary/

  7. Ad 7

    Any poll done on New Zealanders eight years ago on whether they preferred Obama over HR Clinton?

    • swordfish 7.1

      Yep … April 2008 Poll … 47% preferred Obama, 31% Clinton, 22% Unsure.

      Little difference between Labour and National voters:
      Lab: … Obama 47% / Clinton 33%
      Nat: … Obama 44% / Clinton 33%

      (National voters, incidentally, strongly preferred both Obama and Clinton to McCain in the Dem vs Rep match-ups: by 35 points (Obama) and 28 points (Clinton))

      And no appreciable Gender difference of opinion. New Zealand women were not markedly pro-Hillary.

      Particularly strong support for Obama from Maori, Pasifikas and those under the age of 45 (more or less mirroring Obamas key demographics in the US)

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    Received political wisdom is that NZ is a conservative country, tending to the right.

    NZ regional conservatism has very little to do with right wing neoliberal economic ideology.

    In that sense, both the Labour and National Parties have been hijacked – by the neolibs – for their own ends.

    John Key was spot on when he described NZers in general as being socialist.

    We are. And no political party in Parliament today is really able to speak to that constituency.

    They all primarily aim to speak to the pundits and the press gallery as if they are the constituents that they represent.

  9. Received political wisdom is that NZ is a conservative country, tending to the right. Interesting then, to see this data on our voting preferences re American presidential candidates

    When is the Labour Party going to realise that their portrayal of National as a far right cabal looting the country is doomed to failure and they need a new strategy?

    This survey shows NZers would never vote for such a party, and therefore that they do vote for National sends the message that they do not see National as such a party.

    Keep telling the voters that they’re stupid and wrong, that will win the election for you.

    • save NZ 9.1

      Or maybe the Nat lite strategy is not working anymore, being the lessor of two evils… Note to Labour, Sanders concentrates on getting taxes off the super wealthy not the middle class, he refuses to take corporate donations and wants to reform the political system against lobbyists buying policy, is firmly against TPP….

      The Democrats need to stop being the “lesser of two evils” party — starting now

      “According to a report from Pew Research Center, the least financially secure Americans largely preferred Democrats in 2014, but a majority of them did not vote. There is an understandable political apathy among lower class Americans — not to mention voter suppression, which tends to hurt poor people and minorities. After all, both parties supported corporatist trade deals that eliminated working class jobs, both parties supported Wall Street bailouts, both parties are largely dependent on big money donors — it goes on and on.

      When Sanders announced his candidacy last year, he barely registered in the national polls, and Clinton had a enormous 60 percent support. Today, Clinton and Sanders are just about tied in national polls (according to HuffPost Pollster, 47.9 to 44.1 percent). Sanders’ egalitarian vision has energized many Americans who had lost faith in the political process — and while Clinton’s hold on delegates may be insurmountable, her hold on the Democratic Party is not.”

      http://www.salon.com/2016/04/18/the_democrats_need_to_stop_being_the_lesser_of_two_evils_party_starting_now/

      • Ad 9.1.1

        Sanders is not Obama.
        Sanders lost against Clinton for a very simple reason.
        More people voted for Clinton.

        Don’t be Burned by sentiment.

        You win elections by getting more votes than they did.

        • RedLogix 9.1.1.1

          Clinton is more of the same,Bernie might not be. Sod your sentiment Ad.

        • Colonial Viper 9.1.1.2

          You win elections by getting more votes than they did.

          Tell that to Gore.

          “Democracy” in the USA does not work the way you think it does. Just look at the reports of massive Democratic voter suppression in NY targeted against likely Bernie supporters.

    • Colonial Viper 9.2

      When is the Labour Party going to realise that their portrayal of National as a far right cabal looting the country is doomed to failure and they need a new strategy?

      I’m picking sometime after losing the 2020 election.

      • Expat 9.2.1

        “I’m picking sometime after losing the 2020 election.”

        What, after they’ve been in for a full term already, I can’t see that happening,

        History says Key is gone in the next election, the Nats are tired and boring, run out of ideas and the voters are recognising NZ has lost it’s identity and respect as a clean, green country.

  10. swordfish 10

    I read recently that Democrats abroad (those eligible to vote in the various State primaries) have gone heavily for Sanders. In Germany, for example, close to 70% headed in the Vermont Senator’s direction. A specific example: 556 US citizens living in Berlin cast a vote in the Wisconsin primary and 79% chose Sanders over Clinton.

    In Japan the vote to date has been 1190 to Sanders / 176 to Clinton.

    Astonishingly, Sanders is even beating Clinton in Israel.

    Seems to be the same in New Zealand. On Super Tuesday … Among American Democrats in Wellington the Bern absolutely trounced Hillary by 21 votes to 6 (presumably leaving the former First Lady reeling) … http://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2016/02/new-zealand-feels-the-bern/471390/

    • Wayne 10.1

      swordfish,

      This is is not a reflection on New Zealanders, rather it reflects the nature of the US citizens, many of whom are students, who are in New Zealand. Seemingly the same applies elsewhere, including in the US.

      As I have indicated before that part of the Democratic Party that supports Hillary Clinton quite comfortably maps across much of the National Party, and the conservative part of Labour. So the level of her support among New Zealanders is no surprise to me.

      Conversely I am not surprised that left activists on this site prefer Sanders. I would note that many students shift right, at least to some extent during their lifetimes.

      On a similar theme Winston Peters support keeps getting renewed. Although his older supporters may die, there are new retirees every day. Once people retire, the pull of the two traditional parties seems to lessen and Winston becomes a realistic option for their support. I have certainly observed this in my wider family.

      • adam 10.1.1

        Does this you will make a come back with New Zealand first Wayne?

        Note: Tongue firm in cheek on that question.

  11. TC 11

    Ditch the whole left/right meme and align policy to equality, social justice and concepts voters can identify with.

    Johnny and his DP brigade love to dumb it down to lefty communism when it suits so change that conversation to poverty, equality etc

    Stop boring the crap out of people with pointless philosophical positioning.

    • Tautoko Mangō Mata 11.1

      We need the enthusiasm AND IDEAS from those young people who participated in the road blocks on TPP signing day. We need to LISTEN to THEIR vision of what they want for THEIR future. Bernie Sanders makes sense to the youth of USA. Here in NZ we don’t need just a watered down version of the status quo, the “don’t frighten the horses” approach. We need boldness.-
      We will pull out of the TPP if elected.
      We will raise the top tax rate if elected.
      We will implement a financial transaction tax if elected.
      We will have zero fees for tertiary training/study, etc

  12. Ian H 12

    One great thing about NZ politics is that whereas the religious right dominates the republican party in the US, our right wing parties, including our most right wing party ACT, are all socially liberal.

    In the US the culture wars are about social issues. Their political axis divides social liberals from the social conservatives. Abortion and gay marriage form their political dividing line. NZ is almost completely on the liberal side of that political line. The political axis in NZ is drawn at right angles to theirs and is economic. Our division lines involve things like taxes and asset sales.

    There seems to be about 5% support in the electorate for socially conservative Christian type politics, which probably is just about enough to get a right wing Christian party off the ground here. But every time someone has tried to form such a party it has ended in kiddy fiddling or bad poetry. Wonderful! Although I must say probably bad for Labour.

    National has been fortunate not to be beholden to a moral conservative party for its majority. Whereas people look at Labour with suspicion because of fear of the Greens, National has not been saddled with such a scary coalition partner. ACT does scare people a bit, but as they are marginal and depend on a deal with National for their electoral survival it is clearly National who are in control.

    • Redbaiter 12.1

      Ian H-

      National have completely capitulated in the battle of ideas.

      NZers are left wing only because the National Party willingly submits to the left’s rule over discussion and comment and refuses to argue for any alternative ideas.

      National are gutless far left scum.

      Far worse than Labour who at least have the guts and integrity to allow a political ideology to underpin their party and their policies.

      • swordfish 12.1.1

        “National are gutless far left scum”

        OMG This ^^^^, Sooooo much This !!!
        (as some of the younger, more impulsive Wellington feminists on twitter might say)

  13. Colonial Viper 13

    One great thing about NZ politics is that whereas the religious right dominates the republican party in the US, our right wing parties, including our most right wing party ACT, are all socially liberal.

    Ahhh, that’s the “received wisdom.”

    Because even though Trump admits that he’s not much of a church goer, US Republican evangelists have been voting for him in droves, ahead of uber faithful Christian Cruz.

    • Ian H 13.1

      This US election is unusual and I don’t think left vs right is the best way to view it.

      We are seeing tremendous disillusionment with politics right across the political spectrum in the US. And fair enough too – the US government is a total mess in a way which really has nothing to do with left and right. It is perceived over there mainly as a problem with the influence of money on politics. From my point of view the main problem is that their constitution sucks and their system of government has broken down and simply isn’t working properly, but you’d never get an American to admit there was anything wrong with their “oh so perfect” constitution.

      Trump and Sanders are the big news in this election. Both lay claim to being mavericks independent of the usual party political money machines and they owe much of their popularity to that claim and not to how far left or right they are.

  14. srylands 14

    “Received political wisdom is that NZ is a conservative country, tending to the right. ”
    _____________

    Says who?

    New Zealanders generally want a significant role for government and a strong social welfare safety net. There is simply no way that a right party would win an election. We currently have a centre-left Government. That is not going to change any time in the next decade.

    • framu 14.1

      ” There is simply no way that a right party would win an election.”

      thats why they spend so much on PR and marketing – the fact that the rights policies are unpopular is known and admitted by the right all ready. Its why act poll so low and why national swallow all those dead rats in o4rder to gain power.

      ” We currently have a centre-left Government.”

      no, we dont (not by a local yardstick anyway)

      please tell me your smart enough to know theres a difference between the advertising and the reality – for everything

      • Expat 14.1.1

        ” We currently have a centre-left Government.”

        No, we have a Govt that masquerades as centre left, while introducing right wing policies.

        Your right about the PR, but not too many are smart enough to distinguish the difference, not with the reinforcement by most media outlets.

    • scotty 14.2

      “We currently have a centre-left Government.”?

      As evidenced by the current strength of ACT.

    • Redbaiter 14.3

      “That is not going to change any time in the next decade.”

      Not as long as the spineless progressive surrender monkey JK has anything to do with it that’s for sure.

      You can take the boy out of the state house, but you can’t take the state house out of the boy.

    • We currently have a liberal government. That isn’t a centre-left government, it’s a right-wing government that pivots away from its conservative base on the odd social issue for PR reasons.

  15. Magisterium 15

    (T)o go from America — amid the G.O.P. primaries — to Down Under is to experience both jet lag and a political shock. In New Zealand and Australia, you could almost fit their entire political spectrum — from conservatives to liberals — inside the U.S. Democratic Party.

    Or as Paul Quinn, a parliamentarian from New Zealand’s conservative National Party, once told a group of visiting American Fulbright scholars: “I will explain to you how our system works compared to yours: You have Democrats and Republicans. My Labor opponents would be Democrats. I am a member of the National Party, and we would be … Democrats” as well.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/28/opinion/friedman-elephants-down-under.html

    • Phil 15.1

      I prefer the old Two Ronnies view of US politics:

      In America they have the Republican Party, which is a lot like our Conservative Party. Then they have the Democrat Party… which is a lot like our Conservative Party.

      • Expat 15.1.1

        That’s actually a pretty accurate description, how ever, one is more extreme than the other.

        I just prefer the “Two Ronnies” to the comical Trump, he’s funny, but not in a laughable way.

      • Te Reo Putake 15.1.2

        As unionist Bill Andersen used to quip that American politics was “the evil of two lessers”. But the Democrat party currently has millions of supporters who are voting to be lead by a socialist, so lets not tar the whole party as being right of centre.

        • Ad 15.1.2.1

          If they are lucky, Sanders will turn into a genuine democratic renewal for the Democrats.

          That will take skilful leadership from Sanders during the Democratic Convention, and immediately afterwards. While he’s now left it far too late to get a good position in a future Clinton Cabinet, he could still have a very positive role to play for the Democratic Party.

          I would not wish another incoherent Occupy/Black Lives Matter charismatic glug glug upon the efforts of Sanders’ loyal followers.

        • That’s more revealing about democratic voters than democratic candidates, however.

          Sanders had to run as an independent to get into national politics because the Democratic Party institution is designed to weed out candidates like him.

  16. Delia 16

    I found that heartening, had just about given up on many New Zealand voters,nice to see somethings, are just to ‘out there’ for them.

  17. The Real Matthew 17

    The Herald may have a poor standard of journalism but it has nothing on this blog piece!

    The majority of the Democrats would be to the right of National let alone the Republican Party. Why are these results are being portrayed like they are? Who knows but it’s a good laugh.

  18. One Anonymous Bloke 18

    This government is “right wing” insofar as it is bought: not a government of ideas or, a government of self-interest, policy auctions and back-handers.

    The first rule of Cabinet Club is you do not talk about Cabinet Club.

    • Incognito 18.1

      The first rule of Cabinet Club is you do not talk about Cabinet Club.

      What’s said in the pub stays in the pub AKA mum’s the word.

      At the end of the day, when you wish to feel really relaxed and comfortable, unruffled, and downplay anything that might upset your peace of mind you can always bring up the excuse Ich habe es nicht gewusst.

  19. Michael 19

    If you look at Hillary Clinton’s record and policies, she’d be in the National Party here. She’s a socially liberal centre-to-centre-rightist. Pretty similar to the more centrist faction of National. Just shows how far to the right the US political system is. Bernie’s policies are probably somewhere inbetween Labour and the Greens, with a little bit of NZF thrown in.

  20. DS 20

    Pretty much everyone in New Zealand would fit within the US Democratic Party. The only sorts who’d fit with the Republicans would be the outer fringes of ACT, the Sensible Sentencing Trust, Destiny Church, and the National Front.

    Fun fact – since World War II, when the Democrats are in power in the US, National tends to be in power here, and when the Republicans are in power in the US, Labour tends to be in power here. This rule has held during 1949-1953, 1957-1960, 1961-1969, 1972-1975, 1977-1981, 1984-1990, 1993-1999, 2001-2008, and since 2009.

    • Colonial Viper 20.1

      “Pretty much everyone in New Zealand would fit within the US Democratic Party”

      Sure, because most Kiwis are bankster loving war mongering arms dealing foreign country Wall St deregulating destabilising bastards

      • DS 20.1.1

        I suppose it never occurred to you that if the Democrats encompass virtually the entire New Zealand political spectrum, that means the Democrats themselves have a pretty broad range of opinions.

        No doubt there are plenty of “bankster loving war mongering arms dealing foreign country Wall St deregulating destabilising bastards” in the party. There are plenty of people who are not.

        • Colonial Viper 20.1.1.1

          Dude who cares who is “in the party”; have you never noticed who runs the party, its establishment, its hierarchy and what kind of creepy corporate malfaesants donates to the leaders of the party FFS?

          BTW most NZers would be considered commie loving hippies in the Democratic Party, with our belief in free socialised healthcare and universal guaranteed pensions for all.

          • DS 20.1.1.1.1

            Ted Kennedy was as Establishment as they come. He was also a big supporter of free socialised healthcare.

            (Obamacare is itself an attempt to replicate universal healthcare via the private sector. Obama went with that because, you know, it was all that had a chance of actually passing).

            • Colonial Viper 20.1.1.1.1.1

              Ahhh yest the US system which is totally compromised by corporate bought politicians.

              Also this talk about Obama did the best he could…laughable.

              This is why AMericans are turning en masse away from the establishment.

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