Poll Trends – National is soft

Written By: - Date published: 7:55 am, October 25th, 2008 - 42 comments
Categories: polls - Tags:

Polling trends

Polling trends

Rather than argue about individual polls, it is more interesting to look at the overall trends. A number of people have put an excellent summary of the polls up on wikipedia.

What is noticeable to me about this chart is that the National support looks very soft. Coming up towards an election with the less committed people making decisions, they are polling downwards. The recent polls are jumping all over the place, but National has a much higher rogue factor downwards.

Great work from the people doing this summary.

hat-tip: outofbed

42 comments on “Poll Trends – National is soft”

  1. Monty 1

    Ah – but in the last two weeks of the campaign, voters will begin to realise that the Five headed beast will doom NZ to economic ruin. The Five headed beast will invade our private lives and suck the blood and fortune from hard working NZers. They live in fear of the beast known as the five headed monster.

    But there is hope – and that hope is St John Key – He will slay the beast and the people will rejoice.

  2. the sprout 2

    yeah that was a great find, thanks oob.
    and thanks of course to whoever put it together – excellent stuff.

  3. Ianmac 3

    National+Act+UF+Maori=4 heads
    Labour +Green+Prog+Maori=4 heads
    Uhh?

  4. oob 4

    According to this It would seem that the left block support of 43.2% is just a couple of percent down on the 45-46% they have enjoyed for the last 9 years
    One would expect that to hold up as labours losses will be matched by the Green increase as the more environmentally friendly, young Green voters come on stream.
    So I am picking (as I have been for 2years:-)
    A LAB MP GR PR GOV
    Now that Key has ruled out Winston it only makes Labour have even more options If he gets over the 5%
    IF key and his advisors can make such woefully bad political decisions to rule out Winston, Thank heaven he will not be the PM

  5. oob 5

    http://www.beanpoll.co.nz/
    Strangely almost exactly the same as the Morgan poll

    Bean Poll NAT 45 LAB 32 GREEN 11 NZF 4
    Morgan poll Nats 43 Lab 32 Green 11.5 NZF 4.5

    weird eh?

  6. forgetaboutthelastone 6

    i was so pleased when Key ruled out winston. He was always the one who could go either way but was likely to do his “go with the party with the most votes” trick.

    If Winston was still an option for them, they would be set.

  7. Ianmac 7

    Great graph!
    And if you look at it sideways red and blue look quite feminine!

  8. Daveski 8

    IF key and his advisors can make such woefully bad political decisions to rule out Winston, Thank heaven he will not be the PM

    At least some truth.

    Bugger any principles (Winston has none) it’s about winning and dare I say it power.

    So let’s work with Winston even though he’s a proven liar, a xenophobe, an asset seller and everything else the left believes it does NOT represent.

    It doesn’t matter so long as “we” win the election.

    At least that makes everything clear.

  9. Quoth the Raven 9

    Daveski – Shall we quote Bill English – “Winning is everything”

  10. Akldnut 10

    Daveski “It doesn’t matter so long as “we’ win the election.”

    The left just aren’t stupid enough to say it out loud

  11. Except that winnie got bugger all policy concessions and allowed Labour almost all of their policy?

  12. oob 12

    Daveski seeker of truth, when Bill English is leader of the opposition I won’t be the only person who will say it was a woefully bad political decision

  13. Felix 13

    Ianmac

    “Great graph! And if you look at it sideways red and blue look quite feminine!”

    Eh???????? (no really, WTF???)

  14. forgetaboutthelastone 14

    Felix:

    sideways the labour/nat bit has a quite ‘woman-like’ shape.

  15. Daveski 15

    My point was simply to contrast the reality of politics with the surreal and sanctimonious comments that have often been made about the left and principles.

    I would even argue that National may have even though ditching Winston would be a vote winner.

    Just don’t try and tell me that the left are innately “principled”when the evidence shows one politician is much the same as the other, regardless of their political colours.

    As a slight digression, election night will be fascinating for us political tragics and a disaster for those wanting a result on the night.

  16. Pascal's bookie 16

    Daveski, it isn’t about personalities. Winston is what he is. That is not Labour’s fault, or the Green’s fault or anybody else’s fault but Winnie’s. People vote for him, that is their fault. It is also their right. It is again not Labour’s or the Green’s fault that people put Winston in parliament.

    The fact that he is there means that those votes that he has in Parliament will be cast, if other parties can get NZFirst’s votes to support them. what is wrong with that? It is not an endorsement of Winston. It really isn’t. If Winston wants to be in Government with the left than he gets none of his reactionary racist stuff done, (even if he wants to, which I doubt).

    It’s ironic that NZFirst is the only minor party that National has spawned, and yet National hates them. I suspect it is as much from a sense of betrayal than anything else. Labour has spawned the Progressives, ACT, United Future, the maori Party, amoung others. The only one labour can’t work with is ACT and that is for policy/ideological reasons.

  17. Felix 17

    fatlo,

    yeah, I just don’t see it. Looks like a sprouting kumara to me.

  18. bobo 18

    Seeing Roger on the news the other night he looked very old and fragile almost in the beginning stages of dementia , I very much doubt he could handle a full 3 year term if he got in.

  19. Lew 19

    bobo: Listen to the Radio NZ Economy debate for more of the same. Frightening.

    L

  20. Quoth the Raven 20

    bobo: You make a basic error. You presume Douglas is human.

  21. Daveski 21

    PB Interesting points re the spawning of the parties and valid too. I’m on record as being pretty pragmatic about the whole political process so I’m not criticising a bit of pragmatism, just the consistency.

    One of the interesting points that could be merging is the potential for the Greens to cannibalise Labour’s vote. I also wonder, regardless of the origins of NZF, there is also a potential for the left vote to be fractured by NZF.

    Frankly, I’d be delighted with Winston out but he is the master of the comeback.

  22. PB,

    I’m pretty sure there’s audio file somewhere which recently has JK saying how he isn’t going round and round enzed to put acters in. Yeah, that was then and this is now and flipflop john is known to more.. than before..

    monty,

    five heads with wheels > five heads no wheels… yes?

  23. Ari 23

    And this graph just illustrates another fact- that Labour supporters aren’t going to National in large numbers. The only support they’ve noticably “stolen” from labour turned around pretty quickly. National really just cannabalised a whole bunch of United Future and a small amount of New Zealand First support.

    We should also note that while labour is down recently, the Greens have seen a dramatic upturn. Either we’re mobilising new people to vote a lot, or we’ve bitten into a little bit of Labour’s support. That’s good news for people who want to see a principles-based broadly left-leaning agenda, which we haven’t really gotten enough of from this last term under Labour.

  24. Lew 24

    Heh. Someone on KiwiBlog is offering bets on National getting 55%. I don’t (and won’t) have an account there, but I think that’d be well worth a bottle of Talisker.

    L

  25. bobo 25

    It’s interesting how the media still think in first past the post terms in implying how bad it is to have a larger party not become the gov over a coalition of the smaller parties as if its a flaw in the mmp system.

  26. NeillR 26

    Lynn, what do you have to say about Labour’s downward trend?

  27. Any poll average is distorted by the three “Tory” polls (Colmar-Brunton, Fairfax and Herald-Digipoll). CB has had a well-documented 6% to 8% lean to the National Party for most of the past 10 years. That Fairfax and The Herald now mirror the C-B poll is interesting as their pollsters have – for some reason – chosen to adopt a sapling bias that has a proven track record of failure at accurately predicting election outcomes.
    Perhaps they thought that where one poll couldn’t swing the outcome they wanted, perhaps 3 major polls might be able to do it.

    Whatever, the Roy Morgan poll has been the most accurate for the past several elections and the historically reliable TNS poll has been showing similar levels of support for the various parties, the 3 News TNS poll tends to favour National more than when TNS polls for other organisations. The TNS Conversa poll back in July showed levels of support similar to those being seen today in the “narrowing”.

    I’ve come to laugh at the “overnight shifts” in voter support claimed by polling companies attempting to explain why their polls in the months prior to the election were out of line with the final outcome. Meanwhile, pollsters making the effort to have ruly representative samples are able to accurately gauge public opinion.

    Maybe it just boils down to money. You get paid the same whether or not your poll is accurate….and better to be wrong in favour of the interests of the group paying the bill.

  28. NeilR: Labour’s downward trend? Well within statistical noise levels…..and if those votes are leaving Labour, they aren’t going to the Right.

  29. forgetaboutthelastone 29

    wow – the extra bits of the herald poll are quite damning for Key:

    “On competency, Helen Clark was even stronger. She was seen as more competent than the National leader by 53.3 per cent of those polled. Mr Key was well behind on 34.8 per cent.”

    Link

  30. hi all,

    this may at first sight appear off-topic, but it is not offered as such.

    This morning I heard from Brian Schaffner@pollster.com. His team have been following US polls in the potus race, noting quite wide variations. When they began putting them together they spotted a significant difference between folks polled via cellphones and those w/o cellphones.

    In the first case(cellphones) the leading candidate consistently showed a 10+ percent lead on his opponent.

    In the second case(w/o cellphones) the lead varied between 3-7 percent.

    Unavailable unfortunately was a decent-sized sample of both in say equal measure(50/50)..

    Lprent’s excellent ‘polling trends’ data above does appear to suggest a softening as the Election approaches to both main parties support. One could take heart from the ‘wisdom of crowds’ – like you guys here – insofar as Labour has displayed a tough core vote and its so-called broad church appeal—which shall also read out as perhaps complementary ‘factions’ under the aegis of MMP.

    We might care, however, to inquire as to whether the softening and or polling differences come from cellphone use skew. Or not.

  31. lprent 31

    NiellR: It is broadly flat (ie has bugger all slope). If there is stuff going anywhere in the recent bump (if that is a trend) downwards (as SW points out) it is going elsewhere in the ‘left’ – mainly greens

  32. Tim Ellis 32

    Except it’s a continuum though, isn’t it LP? Logic would say that when voters shift from right to left, it is National bleeding votes to Labour. It’s unlikely that National voters would jump past Labour and vote Green. Likewise if the Green voters lose votes and Act increase votes, it’s unlikely to be because Green voters are going to Act.

    If National’s vote is declining, Labour is static, and the Green vote is increasing, then that suggests to me that National votes are bleeding to the centre-end of Labour, and Labour votes at the left-end of Labour are bleeding to the Greens.

    I don’t think the graph suggests that National votes are soft. There looks to be a degree of volatility–probably about 10% of the vote, that will shift in opinion between Labour and National.

  33. lprent 33

    TE: It could be more basic than that (and probably is). The votes aren’t bleeding anywhere – that is a convenient fiction that assumes a static sampling pool. That is clearly not the case bearing in mind the known refusal and undecided rates.

    The population that the polls is drawing from is increasing coming up towards an election, The composition of the increased population is different from the diehards who were willing to answer a pollster earlier in the year.This is what always happens in the election cycle

    Essentially the sample of people willing to answer pollsters between elections are usually people who get concerned about ‘moral outrage’ issues and idiotic ‘scandals’ – ie the talkback/bloggers audience. Beats me how they find time to do that stuff. My bet is that they have a lot of spare time on their hands.

    The people who are now willing to answer are people who get more concerned about more fundamental issues, like work, income, costs, bringing up kids etc.

    What I think is happening is that we’re seeing the wingnuts getting diluted by people who have little time (ie concentrate on working and family) and don’t share the talkback audiences obsessions. They appear to be viewing the Nay’s with considerable skepticism.

    Note that I think that the poll of people unable to be contacted by the pollsters because of the land-line issue are likely to dilute the talkback even further.

  34. NeillR 34

    NiellR: It is broadly flat (ie has bugger all slope).
    Maybe in the last month or so, but since the last election the trend has been down.

    As for National, i would say that they have lost some support in the last few months as people became more aware there was a good chance that National would command an outright majority – that suggests to me that people want change, but not at the point that it would give one party outright rule.

    While it may not appear so, this is dangerous for Labour, and doubly so after today’s announcement that UF will form a coalition with National. Firstly, it shows that National is more centrist than the Left would have you believe. Rather than turning to ACT, they are positioning themselves to form a coalition of the centre.

    Secondly, it allows that support that National has lost over the last month or so to go to UF. Punters can still change the government (which is what the last 12 months of polling has indicated), yet by voting for UF they know that there will be some moderation of that new government.

    So, look to see a firming of support for UF (and don’t think the timing of this announcement was a coincidence given the small party leaders debate tomorrow night) – if that occurs then the chances of a Labour led government being formed will drop to almost nil.

  35. Trevva 35

    Glad you all like the graphs. I’d never thought of them as women before, but it certaintly adds some more interest to the work!

    If you have any suggestions of what else you’d like to see analysed from these data, please make some suggestions on the wikipedia page!

  36. outofbed 36

    If you super impose the preferred PM on the Party vote as below
    http://www.nelsongreens.org.nz/images/NZ_opinion_polls_2005-2008_-PPM.jpg

    It yields a strange result Labour Mirrors HC and National is 8-10% higher then JK
    Is this significant ? or did I just cock it up ?

  37. Trevva 37

    That’s an interesting observation! The two of course aren’t really comparable, but…. its still an interesting observation! You have to wonder who the 20% of potential National voters who don’t want Key as PM do actually want (hint: its not Brash!).

  38. outofbed 38

    trevva,

    Yes its an interesting observation I wonder if any poll gurus out there
    can tell me why the difference ?

  39. outofbed 39

    in a vain attempt to get an answer to his question
    OOB moves this post briefly to the top

  40. Phil 40

    Trevva/oob,

    It’s because the two questions are asked separately, and the results for one aren’t discarded if you say “don’t know” to the other.

    I can think of two reasons why the result might be as it is for pref-PM…
    1) Some people intend to vote National, but don’t know who the leader is
    2) Those voting for minor parties predominantly prefer Clark to Key

  41. outofbed 41

    DPF once said “The party vote is everything and the correlation between preferred PM rating and party vote rating is not that strong. ”

    but it appears to match exactly. for the preferred PM and Lab

    so yes it does appear that a large number of voters do not know Key is the Nats leader
    Do you think, if they ever find out, the National party votes % will drop? 🙂

  42. Phil 42

    He might have been talking about Australian polling. 🙂

    I don’t think the Nat’s will be worried – it’s a similar phenomenon to what Brash, English, Shipley, and even Clark, went through as new leaders. I think those of us acutely aware of politics forget just how little interest the rest of the public has in this, and don’t know the personalities involved (outside of the proper campaign period).

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