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Polity: National dropped 6% in 2008, 2011 campaigns

Written By: - Date published: 4:18 pm, July 7th, 2014 - 8 comments
Categories: election 2008, election 2011, election 2014, greens, labour, national, nz first, Politics, polls, uncategorized - Tags:

polity_square_for_lynnReposted from Polity, with a minor correction in the title.

At my briefing to Labour’s Congress over the weekend, I made a point about National’s performance in recent campaigns, which was later picked up in David Cunliffe’s speech.

National has dropped six percent each time.

For those interested, here is the data that sits beneath this claim. All I did was find any published poll where the field dates included the day three months before election day1, then compared that to the final election result.

2008 election: Final results compared to simple polling average 90 days prior

Firm Dates Nat
Roy Morgan 28 July – 10 Aug 48
Fairfax 6-12 Aug 54
Colmar Brunton 9-14 Aug 51
Average 51.0
Election 8 Nov 44.9
Difference -6.1

2011 election: Final results compared to simple polling average 90 days prior

Firm Dates Nat
Digipoll 19-26 Aug 52
Roy Morgan 15-28 Aug 52
Fairfax 25-29 Aug 57.1
Average 53.1
Election 26 Nov 47.3
Difference -5.8

This six point drop in National’s performance often went to parties opposed to National. Famously, in 2011 the big beneficiaries were New Zealand first, who rocketed from around 2.5% in the polls all the way to 6.7% three months later. In 2008 the Greens were significant net beneficiaries of camaign-time changes. For completeness, I should note that in those two elections not many of National’s went to Labour2, but I think Labour’s ground game, both in terms of our volunteer corps and with the technology that helps them work, is streets ahead of 2011.



  1. I did make one one-day exception to get the 2008 N up, but this does not affect the point estimate at all
  2. Labour also shed some support during these campaigns, but at less than a quarter the rate of National’s loss.


8 comments on “Polity: National dropped 6% in 2008, 2011 campaigns”

  1. McFlock 1

    but but but ipredict…

  2. swordfish 2

    Great stuff. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be posting a more detailed analysis (on me blog).

    First post will take a close look at the disparities between (1) Monthly average poll support for each party in the 18-month run-up to the last two Elections and (2) the proportion of the party vote they actually received at the subsequent Election (with a focus on explaining why both National and the Right Bloc fell so heavily – and, in the process, analysing the thesis put forward by Farrar, Whaleoil and the Right).

    Second post will build on that analysis by providing an overview of polling trends over the last 18 months and then applying the lessons from 2008 and 2011 in order to get to grips with where we are now.

    Both currently in draft form. Half-way through each.

    Also take a look at Puddleglum’s hot-off-the-Press analysis here…http://www.thepoliticalscientist.org/nationals-problem-more-glass-ceiling-than-complacency/

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    I think IMP is going to be a winner from National’s (and to a lesser extent Labour’s) predicted last moment point drop. But Labour can claw this back by announcing more hard hitting, attention grabbing left wing policy and advocating for it toe to toe within the media.

  4. McGrath 4

    National basically resurrected NZ First in 2011 with the “Cup of Tea” debacle. I cannot see what value ACT would give National this election given that they poll round 1%. Perhaps they might say “no deal” this time?

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      There was the re-post from Polity a while ago that showed that, mathematically, even a single electorate seat won by a coalition partner benefits those that are making the deal by ~0.5 seats on average. This is because such seats influence the formula and can change the way that the last list seat would be allocated.

      It’s rather counter-intuitive, but on the 2011 results, if National had won either Epsom or Ohariu, but not both, they would have ended up with 60 seats for a right-wing agenda. If they had won both or lost both, they ended up with 61 seats.

  5. Sable 5

    Yes well lets see what happens on the day. Personally I have my doubts Cunliffe can pull it off. I feel he comes across as too “personally” ambitious. Keys by contrast is very good at making self interest look like public interest….

  6. The Real Matthew 6

    That’s because National voters stayed at home assured of victory.

    Evidently those voters don’t comprehend MMP.

    It also puts paid to the missing miliion theory perpetuated by the left that all these left wing voters can’t be bothered voting. It’s National voters who aren’t voting. That’s why the polls differ so much to election day.

  7. Grant Clark 7

    I hope a drop of 6 per cent is not what you are resting your laurels on? What happens if they gain 6 per cent?

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