Plenty of polls lately. Do we really need so many? Last night we got a 3 News / Reid poll:
National slips a little in poll, but still going strong
National has taken a hit in the polls, following its budget which made cuts to the popular KiwiSaver scheme.
Labour has been the major beneficiary, it’s received it’s largest boost ever in our 3 News Reid Research poll.
The numbers are at Curiablog:
National 53.0% (-4.5%)
Labour 32.8% (+5.7%)
Green 6.5% (-1.2%)
ACT 2.2% (+0.5%)
Maori 1.6% (-0.9%)
United Future 0.2%
NZ First 2.4% (-0.4%)
The big jump for Labour is mostly correcting a previous rogue (yes they really do happen). Also last night, a One News / Colmar Brunton:
National loses support after Budget – poll
Support for National has dipped after the Budget this month but people are more confident about the economy, according to a new poll.
Tonight’s One News Colmar Brunton Poll put support for National at 52 per cent, down from 54 per cent last month, while Labour remained unchanged on 34 per cent.
The numbers for this one are similar to the 3 News, so I won’t list them. Obviously the direction of the movement is good for Labour. Equally obviously the size of the move isn’t good enough yet, unless it is the start of a systematic trend. We can only hope, as the paucity of ideas exposed by the budget sinks in, that a trend does gather force. I don’t think (as some commentators are claiming) that these results mean that National have survived the sub-zero budget at all. These things take time to register with the electorate, and there is time enough yet.
While still on the subject of polls, notice that no one here at The Standard thought it was worthwhile running this nonsense last week:
Labour and National coalitions neck-and-neck
A new political opinion poll has the potential post-election coalition blocs neck-and-neck.
Horizon Research says its latest survey shows the National-ACT-Maori Party-United Future group with 42.7 percent support, and Labour-Green Party-New Zealand First on 43 percent.
Ahh if only! As we’ve frequently commented here, these Horizon surveys use such an unrepresentative methodology, and generate results that are so different from every other poll, that I don’t see how any supposedly reputable news organisation (hello 3 News?) can go about quoting them at face value. They may be marginally useful for spotting trends within their own data, but the raw numbers themselves are nonsense. Interestingly however, on Saturday, Horizon took some methodological potshots of their own:
Political poll results may exclude 30%?
…However, Horizon Research says an investigation may show some polling firms are excluding up to 30 out of every 100 people who respond to them from published results, providing a distorted picture of party support levels in the electorate as a whole. This could over represent support for larger parties and under represent support for minor parties.
Horizon says if 30% of respondents have been excluded from published results for the latest post-Budget DigiPoll this would be an example. In that event, it would be rating National at 16.3% to 19.6% higher than its actual support. Labour support would also be over stated, while minor parties’ support could be understated by up to about 3%.
Horizon says the differences arise because some of the polls are publishing results only for those who say they have decided which party they will vote for. This may include people not eligible to vote, not registered to vote and not intending to vote.
However, respondents who do not know, choose not to vote, and prefer not to say may be being excluded. This precludes providing a total picture of the electorate.
In its post-Budget poll of a representative national population sample of 2,254 Horizon found 15.6% undecided, 6.3% choosing not to vote, 3.9% wouldn’t say and 4.2% voting for minor parties (other than NZ First, United Future, Mana and ACT), a total of 30%.
I’m unconvinced. While individual polls can be all over the place, historically rolling average “poll of polls” results have been very good predictors. I don’t see any way that current polls can be out by as much as Horizon claims.
But on the other hand, I don’t think current poll results are set in concrete either. The election campaign hasn’t properly begun yet, National have no constructive ideas and are running an unpopular line on privatisation. There is plenty of time for things to change. Leftie commentators who have been getting a bit hysterical lately, like Matt McCarten and Chris Trotter, should take a few deep breaths, and have a little faith. Look out for Labour’s policy in the run up to the election. There’s plenty of work to do. Onwards!