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Mishandled Rena costing Nats votes

Written By: - Date published: 8:02 am, October 21st, 2011 - 51 comments
Categories: disaster, election 2011, polls - Tags: , ,

Unlike some news organisations we don’t usually bother reporting Horizon polls here.  Their numbers generally sound like wonderful news for the political Left, because they tend to rate National led and Labour led coalitions as pretty much neck and neck.  But hyping these results would be intellectually dishonest.  Horizon’s methodology is so different, and their results are so far out of line with other polls, that they simply aren’t credible. (Horizon of course would tell you differently, and they have their own critiques of other polls, as I covered here.)

That being said, and with all due caveats and cautions, I am going to note a Horizon poll this time. It’s not the usual estimate of degrees of support for each party, it’s a question about shifting voting intentions:

Voters swing from National after Rena disaster

Eleven percent of people who voted for National in the 2008 general election say they will not do so when they head to the polls on November 26, because of the way the Government has handled the Rena disaster. The swing means the party’s nationwide support has dropped 3 percent on the eve of the election campaign trail kicking into gear.

A RadioLIVE/HorizonPoll survey found just over half of those who backed the party in 2008, 50.3 percent, believe it could have done more to prevent oil spilling from the ship and polluting the environment.

Sixty-five percent of all New Zealanders also feel more could have been done to prevent the loss of fuel from the ship. … The survey also found 46.8 percent of the 1,961 respondents rated Prime Minister John Key’s response to the crisis as ‘poor to very poor’. …

I’m not aware of any other poll on the impact of  the Rena disaster, so this first indication does seem worth reporting. It confirms that the expected loss of Nat votes is a real effect. In terms of the size of the effect, I don’t trust the Horizon numbers. I suspect that they over estimate the damage (as other Horizon polls overestimate support for the Left). But it’s early days yet. My guess is that National will keep losing votes as this crisis drags on, and more and more questions are asked about their credibility.

In other “for what it’s worth” poll related news:

Sliver of hope for Labour

A Phil Goff-led Government is unlikely, but becoming more plausible by the day, according to the latest forecast from prediction market website iPredict. …

If ACT lose Epsom and don’t reach the 5 percent threshold, this opens the door for a Labour/Greens/NZ First/Maori coalition, without the need for the Mana Party, whom Labour leader Mr Goff has ruled out working with. Recent polling has put ACT candidate John Banks behind National’s Paul Goldsmith, despite National’s insistence Mr Goldsmith is only campaigning for the party vote.

The Greens are currently expected to win 11 percent of the vote, and a record 14 seats – giving the left-wing bloc a real shot at toppling National. …

A study published last year claimed iPredict was more accurate than most traditional polling at predicting political outcomes.

Interesting times.  I’ll leave you with the most excellent Tom Scott, and his take on the Rena disaster…

51 comments on “Mishandled Rena costing Nats votes”

  1. I am not sure but my impression is that Horizon builds up data on users.  If so the shift is of people who declared themselves to be National supporters before the disaster and would be significant. 

  2. tc 2

    Rena has showed how clueless and lacking in genuine leadership the nats are, no prepared script or CT spin just like chch and pike river.
    A few akl folk of late are also waking up to how screwed over Wodney Johnny and the wrecking crew left them as the local boards impact or lack of kicks in.
    Focus everybody it’s a very close contest, of course granny etc want the folk to think it’s a foregone conclusion, far from it I reckon.

  3. King Kong 3

    It is terrible to see some on the left quite obviously hoping that the they dont manage to get all the fuel off the Rena and the thing breaks up with a decent ammount of oil covering some good beaches. All in the name of their side getting some traction in the polls.

    • r0b 3.1

      Yeah I knew some a hole would accuse me of that.  So glad you didn’t disappoint KK.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      We’d much prefer if the incident was well handled but it wasn’t. You want us to sit back and not do the best we can to change what is obviously a government that continuously fails its people? Maybe you’d prefer it if we clapped them on the back and said well, you tried?

    • mik e 3.3

      KK with your abilities you able to in one foul swoop fix it

  4. A coalition with NZ first…are you SERIOUSLY ?

    Winston needs to pack his shit up along with Bed n Breakfast (Brash n Banks) and head out to pasture.

    What possible contribution can these fossilised dinosaurs contribute to NZ that they haven’t already ? They’ll be as marginalised and irrelevent as Roger Douglas, that other toothless relic who did fuck all but take up space in the big house for the past 3 years.

  5. Lanthanide 5

    I don’t really believe iPredict is truly a prediction market. The vote percentages are largely influenced by the polls that get published, and speculation / profit taking outside of that.

    Seems difficult for iPredict to be so much more accurate when a lot of it is just people using the published poll data to take money off each other.

    • Blighty 5.1

      yeah. the ipredict predictions for the party results just follow the polls (or move ahead of them when insiders hear the results before the published).

      It’s real predictive value is in events where participants can have some information or insight that is not generally known. Such as people who know for sure whether someone is standing in a seat before they make an announcement.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      IMO, iPredict is a prefect example of the “free-market” especially the stock market. People buying and selling from each to make a profit while not producing anything of value.

      • Lanthanide 5.2.1

        In iPredicts case, the ‘value’ is in the research of prediction market behaviour.

        It’s run by Victoria university and apparently has been losing a lot of money and hasn’t yet made a profit. So they must think there’s sufficient value in the research to have continued doing it.

      • Colonial Viper 5.2.2

        The international equity markets are completely controlled and fraudulent. As you most likely know, they are exactly the opposite of “free markets”.

  6. BWS 6

    So hyping these polls would be “intellectually dishonest”, yet this is what you do.

    • Blighty 6.1

      I don’t think you could possibly describe Anthony’s post as ‘hyping’ the poll. If anything, he’s downplaying it far more than the news did last night.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      Can you not tell the difference between “hyping” and a cautious discussion looking at different scenarios?

      • BWS 6.2.1

        So the title “Mishandled Rena costing Nats votes” in the you know, TITLE, isn’t hyping a dodgy poll?

        • gobsmacked 6.2.1.1

          The poll was part of the lead story on 3 News at 6 pm yesterday. They have a few more viewers than the Standard, so a blog commenting on a major MSM story is hardly “hype”.

          Certainly this post has far more credibility than BWS who absurdly claimed (on here) that Labour MPs shouting “William!” to a colleague were in fact shouting to the man who tried to jump in Parliament, and therefore this meant Labour were in some way implicated. Yes, really.

          That wasn’t just drawing a long bow, it was re-inventing archery!

        • Lanthanide 6.2.1.2

          No, that’s not hype.

          Hype would be:
          “Rena disaster devastates National’s poll standing”.

        • queenstfarmer 6.2.1.3

          I think the title is reasonable.

  7. Zaphod Beeblebrox 7

    What about the credit downgrade that Jokey and double Dipper said would be the end of the world 3 years earlier? Would have liked to see the public’s response to that.

  8. JS 8

    Just got our new phone book delivered. OK the font is even smaller than ever, but it is the skinniest smallest white pages I can ever remember. I read somewhere that landline ownership has shrunk something like 40% in the last few years. So if the mainstream polls are only polling by landline (are they?) they cannot reflect 2011 NZ.

  9. randal 9

    National have turned into a gang of ostriches. anything they dont like they pretend is not even there.
    Or they get their flacks like richard loe and duncan garner to get up on the radio and pretend it is nothing.
    Well they are going to get a big reality check on November 26.

  10. tsmithfield 10

    I agree there has probably been a knee-jerk reaction with respect to the Rena.

    However, it is now emerging that the operation to remove oil is extremely difficult and complex, that the piping systems were badly damaged and not ready for pumping oil in the first few days, that the rate oil can be pumped anyway is very slow and would not have greatly reduced the oil load even if pumping had been able to start earlier, and that some oil on the beaches was probably inevitable even under the best-case scenario. Also, the government and relevant authorities have been much more visible of late, and appear to be much more on the ball.

    These factors are likely to provide context to the disaster that could well spawn a relief rally in support of the government if the worst-case scenario is avoided. Over-the-top criticism from political parties obviously in electioneering mode could well produce some sympathy vote for National, considering they have been in power when there have been a number of major disasters to deal with.

    So I wouldn’t get too excited on the left just yet.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 10.1

      Then again the oil clumps will be hitting the beaches all the way until Nov 26. Given the way they have been trumpeting public service cuts for 3 years, the obvious inadequacy of the Maritime Services Authority will be an interesting discussion point for a while yet.

      And how do you think the ‘drill baby, drill’ policy is going to go down in the BoP and East Cape?

      • pollywog 10.1.1

        Need`to get Hekia ‘Aunty Tom’ Parata down there on the beaches grovelling away in the sand with a bucket scooping up oil i reckon…

        ..and feed her some humble pie for lunch. That should score a few brownie points.

        • BWS 10.1.1.1

          Oh nice, more racist slurs against National MPs because they dared to do something so treacherous as not vote Labour.

          • Jum 10.1.1.1.1

            No BWS, Hekia Parata really is a nasty piece of work, whatever colour of party or skin she is.

    • queenstfarmer 10.2

      Agree with your first two paragraphs, but I think the idea of a “relief rally in support of the government” and a “sympathy vote” is rather optimistic.

      This sort of thing is a pretty much a lose-lose situation for whoever is in charge, and whatever the response. It give opposition parties something to seize on, and with smart, albeit possibly unethical, politicking (on a gloves-off, all’s fair in politics basis) can be powerfully exploited.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.3

      I agree there has probably been a knee-jerk reaction with respect to the Rena.

      I think of it as more the straw that broke the camels back. Nationals incompetence has been showing for awhile but this was just the final piece of stupidity that has got people thinking and saying that they won’t vote for these idiots again.

      However, it is now emerging that the operation to remove oil is extremely difficult and complex…

      Yeah, that’s because the ship got beaten up by a storm before the oil was removed. If the oil had been removed before that, as it should have been, it probably would have been easier.

      But, hey, I understand your need to excuse Nationals incompetence and stupidity at all costs – after all, you believe them.

      • Lanthanide 10.3.1

        “Yeah, that’s because the ship got beaten up by a storm before the oil was removed. If the oil had been removed before that, as it should have been, it probably would have been easier.”

        Yes, you’re essentially correct.

        When the ship was still ‘operational’, before the crew abandoned it, they had the capability to heat the oil up, making it much more viscous and easy to pump around. Remember how they emptied the forward tanks to the back of the ship? There’s no way they could have done it when it was ‘marmite’ consistency in the time they did it (overnight apparently).

        Now the ship has no power, and evidently they have no way to heat up the oil to any large extent, so they’re essentially having to ‘shovel’ it out with an Archimedes screw, instead of pumping it like a liquid as they were earlier.

        • queenstfarmer 10.3.1.1

          They interviewed an ex-merchant navy engineer on the radio the other week addressing this very point, saying that wasn’t the case for various technical reasons.

          But seeing that we are discovering that thousands of everyday Kiwis are actually maritime salvage experts who are fully capable of commenting knowledgably on all matters to do with cargo ships, and clearly know just as much if not more than the international experts on the ship itself, who is he to contradict them?

          • Draco T Bastard 10.3.1.1.1

            Yes, I recall that interview – he said it could have been done before the storm although he was hedging on the exact time frame he was certain that pumping could have started by the Friday.

          • McFlock 10.3.1.1.2

            Lol. So your anecdote about a media-professed expert in the area trumps everyone else’s?
             
            God forbid that we should do anything other than close our eyes and have faith in Maritime NZ. If we started questioning them we might start to think we could have valid opinions on the economy, the competence and ethics of market speculators, or even the competence of golden-boy Key himself. We should never question our betters, who we recognise because of they’re apparent wealth!

          • Jum 10.3.1.1.3

            Queenstfarmer,

            This is the best news for Key and backers; I’m not surprised they slowed down their response.

            Get rid of the clean green 100% and you can drill baby drill, dig coal, build more roads, kill more miners with bad regulations.

            And the piece de resistance – that last untapped wilderness lying south of New Zealand, which we once defended but no more – is open for plunder. Thanks John Key. Thanks for betraying us all. Piss off back to your masters in America. We’ll send on the knighthood your grateful backers have organised.

            Key’s and the nz business rotundtable’s dream is coming true. Just why did that container vessel head straight for a disaster on our most pristine beaches?

        • Luxated 10.3.1.2

          … making it much more viscous and easy to pump around.

          Less viscous, surely.

  11. Pascal's bookie 11

    Dead whales floating up onto beaches wouldn’t be a good omen for the game tonight. #toosoon?

    • ak 11.1

      You sense well young Bookie. Omens loom leaden at every dark turn. Putrescent whale/oils foul the strand as fat blue penguins writhe on the foreshore of gloom. Ghostly hootin’ derision at the joice brown lees on the barren banks. Skeletons stir as the golden key dims. Cave Quay St at the wane of the moon.

  12. I am of course biased ,however I am becoming more and more convinced that the poliical Right are in for a big shock. listen to the people in the street the majority are pissed of to say the least. In fact the world in in rebellion and this is already brushing of in Aotearoa.Im picking that the Greens are going to have a huge increase because the Rena disaster is making people suddenly aware of green issues. Im also wondering if we are on the brink of a world revolution. What is happening around the world was predicted by Hannan Swaffer in the 1950s.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 12.1

      The problem is that the media are owned by the 1%. Control the information source, you control the agenda.

      That way you get Fox News and people like Michelle Bachmann, Perry and and Hermann Cain in line for for the US Presidency.

      • Jum 12.1.1

        But, Zaphod Beeblebrox,

        the government does not own the blogosphere – yet.

        It does not own Kiwis – yet.

        It does not own our minds – yet.

        It does not own all the paper in New Zealand or all the pens and pencils – yet.

        Every New Zealand flagpole in every town and city in New Zealand is a place of freedom to wave signs and call out – at present.

        Whatever we do in just the next few weeks will determine how much control this government gets to have over us Kiwis – so it’s up to – us.

  13. tsmithfield 13

    This quote from the article is enough to prove that the Horizon poll is rubbish:

    “ACT is polling at 5.1 percent…”

    • McFlock 13.1

      Knock off 1 or 2% for the margin of error (yeah yeah we don’t need to get into the precise stats of calculating MoE for survey responses approaching zero) and it’s comparable to the other polls.
       
      Although there could well be a bit of a self-selection bias going on at that level, so I’m not saying Horizon are golden. If they turn out to be reasonably close to the election result, though, it might put the cat among the pidgeons. I  suspect they weren’t doing (public) surveys for the 2008 election(companies office says they were still under the name Inflite Advertising until mid 2009). Which will make comparisons between the phone surveys, Horizon, and the election outcome very interesting – but then I’m an analysis geek. I suspect the difference is not so much “one is better than the other at predicting elections” as “one is more accurate for some demographics or questions, another is better for others”.

      Offhand, Horizon results seem to be more consistent than the phone surveys, but if there’s a 20% pickup in interested voters we might find that Horizon is only accurate for the committed voter block, not the floaters. 
       
      There’s no such thing as bad data – just a bad analyst trying to use the wrong data for the wrong purpose 🙂

      • tsmithfield 13.1.1

        Just shows how far out of whack it is with other polls that put ACT at the 1% level, which seems to jell much more with reality than 5.1%.

        • McFlock 13.1.1.1

          Slightly out of whack on the margins, but not so out of whack that the error margins definitely don’t overlap.

  14. mik e 14

    In epsom

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