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Pollwatch: 5th August, 2018

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, August 6th, 2018 - 40 comments
Categories: act, greens, jacinda ardern, labour, maori party, national, nz first, polls, Simon Bridges - Tags: , , ,

The pollwatch continues!The most likely result from Colmar Brunton's 5th august poll as a pie chart: 7 Greens, 51 Labour, 6 NZF, 1 ACT, and 55 National MPs.

In this ongoing series, I look at trends, why Matthew Hooton shouldn’t quote things out of context like I warned him not to, how healthy the Greens are, and whether National is on a decline. (I may disagree with my fellow author on that last one, at least somewhat)

Colmar Brunton, whose name I almost wrote as “pollmore,” came out with a poll on Sunday, pretty on the button for Jacinda Ardern’s return to the Prime Ministerial hotseat. (which likely means it was reflecting the end of Winston’s turn there when it was taken) It will surprise nobody to hear that Bridges continues to poll abysmally as National leader, Winston got a bit of a bump as Preferred PM when he was on his best possible behaviour, and Ardern is pretty steady, but as they’re not approval ratings and rather more of a name recognition, take that with a grain of salt. (although my understanding is that Bridges is underwater in net approval ratings, too)

The most likely result from this poll, featured right, isn’t particularly different from the current Parliament. It features NZF, the Greens, and Labour needing to govern together, but with NZF able to vote with National on issues where its social conservatism doesn’t allow it to compromise with the Government.

A pie graph of election simulations: 2.9% National-ACT governments, 8.8% hung parliaments, 46.7% NZF-Green-Labour govts, 41.7% Labour-Green govts. 2,000 simulations.Within the margins of error, there’s actually a lot going on here, so let’s go on to my simulation project. (basically, while the above Parliament is most likely, there’s still somewhere between 0.6% and 3% margin of error in each party’s result, so I run random distortions of each party’s result in excel, then put each set through an MMP seat calculation, and total who’s got the numbers to control who forms a govt via the fiendish art of addition and lookup references) No outright chance of a Labour-only government here like that crazy outlier poll in late February, and as I disclaimed last time, National’s odds of forming a government were artificially inflated by a very bad poll for both medium-sized parties, and were also an outlier.

Mostly, where NZF is over-threshold, (47.5% of the 2,000 simulations shown to the left) they have the numbers to be the kingmaker, but there’s a small sliver of times that the Greens actually had that 1 critical seat that would allow for a Labour-Green government. (most of that result, however, is from NZF falling under threshold, a scenario where it’s drastically unlikely National still manages to win based on this single poll) There’s now more likelihood that Parliament is hung and either NZF or ACT are forced to cross the floor or abstain to form a government than of National governing on its own or together with ACT.

Now only under threshold in 3% of simulations, the Greens are back on solid ground again at 6%, which given all that’s going on suggests a pretty stable base of support. (Matthew Hooton please take note, as he mischieviously misquoted my last analysis, with no link to debunk his own misinformation, that the Greens might actually end up under threshold on the strength of one public poll, a claim he has been suspiciously silent about since)

So let’s look at trends for a bit. Is National in decline? Well, yes and no. Their polling is steady, so in a completely objective sense, they’re not. You have to really get into subjective analysis to make any claim they are, and that’s because, honestly, the government has been spinning its wheels a bit with Ardern gone. Peters has been on relatively good behaviour and hasn’t crashed the car on a joyride, true, but neither has he wowed his skeptics. NZF’s insistence on the Electoral Integrity Amendment Bill is squeezing the Greens with our base, and making Labour look absolutely bankrupt. Meanwhile, Labour is the only party in Parliament that won’t commit to honouring the result on a referendum about decriminalizing cannabis, when even National says it will respect the result.

You’d be forgiven for thinking the opposition would be scoring points everywhere, but honestly, it’s failed to gain popular traction and even had some spectacular misfires- Chris Bishop thinking LinkedIn endorsements matter comes to mind, and their insistence on reinstating charter schools is preaching to the choir. And then there’s Dan Bidois claiming we should give authoritarians mandatory platforms. No thankyou. Even Hooton has stopped hooting about the possibility of a National Party-only moonshot strategy into government.

If anyone’s in decline here, objectively, it’s Labour, the only List party to go down in polling since May, with no strong push for labour laws, or making more money available in budgets for underpaid teachers or nurses possibly hitting them a little, (especially when there is objectively room to do so in this budget) but with all that happening, Ardern will be privately bewildered but ecstatic the Opposition haven’t scored a hit, and are still playing silly buggers pleading for charter schools.

So, that discussed, I’ve given you a new graph this time. This is a stacked line graph (think of it like a bunch of stacked bar graphs in a row, but easier to read when the results aren’t evenly spaced, like polling) The distance of each line from 0% (for National-ACT) or the line below it (everyone else) represents that scenario’s share of the overall probability- we can see NZF-controlled governments dominating the pre-election polls, with a revival of minor chances for both National and Labour-Green government scenarios at the end of the year. (the Green and red lines being in exactly the same place means no chance of Labour governing alone)

What this really shows is that since February, we’ve had a couple of blips, but overall whatever outcome we’ve had, if NZF doesn’t change sides, National doesn’t really have a hope, exactly like you’d expect. There have been strong results for Labour, and strong results for them together with the Greens, but not as strong lately with NZF now looking to have a decent chance of coming back in above threshold.

As always, this stuff is a bit early to call as results tend to adjust and become a bit closer up to an election, but right now it suggests there is broad support for the Government, the Greens are stable above the threshold, NZF is enjoying a bit of a bump, and Labour’s party vote is sagging just a little, likely with a small bleed of support to National, which has in turn bled slightly in favour of ACT. (who actually had two MPs in some of these scenarios, although with National contesting Epsom next election, there’s a real possibility of them having a rounder number, like zero.)

Oh, and I guess the Māori Party showed up at 1% again, but that doesn’t really mean much until we know if they have anyone who looks likely to win an electorate next time. (like New Zealand First that one time, we should probably give them the benefit of the doubt that they’re not entirely dead unless they lose two elections in a row)

40 comments on “Pollwatch: 5th August, 2018 ”

  1. Paaparakauta 1

    Umm .. yeah. Who’s going to win the next election ?

  2. Cinny 2

    That was really interesting, appreciate all the graphs and data, thanks for the info.

    simon appears angry and worried, I wonder how long until they roll him.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2018/08/bridges-no-bright-shiny-thing-playing-the-long-game.html

    • ianmac 2.1

      Cinny you could have added “bluster” to Simon’s list. (Re Newshub interview.)

    • mary_a 2.2

      Hi Cinny (2) … personally I think Simon will be rolled before Christmas. Have a feeling the two Natz nasties Collins and Mitchell are beginning to sharpen their knives.

      However, that said, in some respects I hope Bridges is still there leading Natz going into the next election, for obvious reasons.

    • Grantoc 2.3

      Cinny

      I imagine that he’s angry because the media insist on playing personality politics, whilst failing to focus on the more significant dynamics that are in play; such as National’s party vote remaining very strong and consistently ahead of Labour’s party vote.

      And also he probably angry because if the media insist on only focusing on the popularity contests, they are too lazy or too infatuated with Ardern to note that Arden’s vote was up just 1% point and that it failed to influence Labour’s party vote.

      And also, despite being in the spotlight for 6 weeks as Acting PM, Peter’s could only muster 5% in the popularity stakes compared with Bridges’ 10%. On the basis of your analysis Peters should be even more worried about his leadership.

      • Sacha 2.3.1

        “the more significant dynamics that are in play” – if we still had FPP. Two decades is long enough to get over that change, surely.

  3. dukeofurl 3

    Good that you mention they ARENT approval ratings.
    Are we the only western country that uses a ‘preferred PM’ polling when every one else uses the more rational approval ratings where each person is just given ‘approve/disapprove’ question on how they are doing their ‘current job’

    • Matthew Whitehead 3.1

      Newshub runs the net-approval poll I was mentioning, but hasn’t switched their reporting over from Preferred PM yet for some strange reason, even though having different results would be a draw factor.

  4. dukeofurl 4

    Couple of other points . national has always stood a candidate in Epsom, but not really contested it but the numbers are reasonable enough getting 28% to Seymours 43% in 2017. The ACT share has been fairly stable for some time after Hide went and Goldsmith peaked at 37% in 2011 to Banks 44%
    Trying to refer to 1 or 2% changes as meaning anything is pointless. Jumping around is what polls do and should be referred to as margin of error noise. For obvious reasons media abhor the phrase margin of error unless its in footnotes.

    • Matthew Whitehead 4.1

      Running a candidate and contesting an election are different. When contesting it you actually try to win.

      1% or 2% changes absolutely can mean things, the question is whether they persist or deepen in the next poll or not. That’s why we talk about looking at trends.

  5. dukeofurl 5

    Hooton ( note the spelling not Hooten, the Cheshire town is in the Doomsday Book as Hotone) is till bullshitting about the Greens leaving the Alliance party in 2002 as not happening under the waka jumping- which is absurd as it was called Alliance for a reason. Alliance of existing parties and Greens didnt leave the Caucus after they said they would stand under their own existing party name. In parliament there was no break of Greens Mps from their commitments to the Alliance right up till the house was dissolved for the election.
    Weird that a well known public relations professional has such a reputation for falsehoods.

    • Dennis Frank 5.1

      Well done. Domesday Book: “Domesday is just a Middle English spelling of doomsday, a name which only came to be applied to the survey a century after its compilation, at first facetiously as being an unavoidable and final judgement”.

    • alwyn 5.2

      It is also rather weird that you seem to think that anyone should take any notice of your comments when you don’t even know when the Alliance and the Green Party split.
      As a hint it was not 2002 so when you talk about “the Greens leaving the Alliance party in 2002” you are simply inventing history. Try using the line so often claimed for an old TV program, Dragnet. “”Just the facts, ma’am”.” That wasn’t ever actually said in the show either.

      • marty mars 5.2.1

        Yes but the fact of the comment IS correct. Hooton is wrong and deliberately imo trying to sully the greens. That s what rwnjs do.

        • Matthew Whitehead 5.2.1.1

          Yes, this is absolutely his game, and why he misrepresented me in the last Pollwatch.

  6. Wayne 6

    Looks pretty much like the continuation of the current situation, which has been the same since the election.
    Basically the current government gets back in. NZF and the Greens will both go with Labour in 2020, unless something drastic has happened, but if that happens the polls will change.

    • alwyn 6.1

      I imagine that the National Party will be a great deal happier about this poll that Labour would have been at the corresponding time in 2009.
      National were on 56% and Labour on 31% I believe.
      Actually I think that both NZF and the Green Party will be gone in 2020 with the 5% line for getting any seats. I wouldn’t be surprised if the current CoL try and drop the qualifying percentage for getting any seats down to about 3%. That is what they are going to need to get the rats and mice parties back into the house, but to stop Morgan having another go with his TOP lot.

      • Wayne 6.1.1

        If both NZF and the Greens go under 5% in 2020, I think a change of government would be just about certain.

        Will that happen to both NZF and the Greens?

        Difficult to predict at this stage, but more it is likely with NZF than with the Greens. Virtually all the Green vote is from the left, but the NZF vote is split between left and right. Some right voters will keep voting NZF to moderate the Labour/Green bloc, especially if it looks likely the left will be the next govt.

        • Dennis Frank 6.1.1.1

          I agree with all that. The next leader of the Nats will have to be a magician. One that can demonstrate real wizardry by conjuring up a coalition partner. Doesn’t rule out the incumbent – could be there was a phone call to Gareth: “Let’s talk.” Which would explain the peculiar decision to put TOP de-registration on hold pending unspecified discussions in non-smoke-filled rooms…

      • dukeofurl 6.1.2

        Why do you refer to 2009 ? The last time the situation mirrored now with labour in and national out was 2000. I dont have a number from the polls around then. And of course national is alone with its 44%.

        As for NZ First
        After the 2008 election, they stuck below 5% in the polls for 3 years and then at the election what happened ? yes it was 6.6%

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_New_Zealand_general_election,_2011

        • alwyn 6.1.2.1

          As far as I can find there were only 2 polls in 2000.
          One had Labour on 43 and National on 32.
          The other had Labour on 36 and National on 41.
          It its of course a more realistic comparison between 2009 and 2018. That is because in both cases the leaders of the losing parties in the election quit and there was a new, less well known replacement, for the leader of the party.
          After the 1999 election Jenny Shipley remained as the National leader for about 2 years.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_New_Zealand_general_election,_2002#Individual_polls_2

          You must remember that New Zealand First were not in Parliament after the 2008 election so wouldn’t have had any publicity until the next election. Looking at their polling in that period is pretty futile as they wouldn’t have been mentioned by any of the news outlets until the 2011 election approached.

    • Matthew Whitehead 6.2

      I agree that with any rational analysis this is a continuation of the previous trend, but not all the analysis on the last poll were rational. Some claimed it made a ridiculous moonshot strategy of a National-Labour parliament with National in government a real possibility. Those people were ill-informed.

  7. Puckish Rogue 7

    2 years out from the next election Nationals in not a bad position at all, 45% with an unpopular leader is pretty good especially given that both Sir john Key and Sir Bill English only recently left

    Imagine what’ll happen when/if Bridges is replaced with someone more electable

    • Dennis Frank 7.1

      “Imagine what’ll happen when/if Bridges is replaced with someone more electable”. I tried but it didn’t work. Perhaps replace electable with sexy?

    • AB 7.2

      “both Sir john Key and Sir Bill English only recently left … Imagine what’ll happen when/if Bridges is replaced with someone more electable”
      Sir Judith Collins
      Sir Puckish Rogue
      Sir Don Brash
      Sir Michelle Boag
      and many others – each truly a dark [k]night of the soul.

    • Robert Guyton 7.3

      The harder National works to make Bridges seem appealing, the more deflated National supporters will feel about the Party’s chances when he is ousted. They would be best to run him down in the public’s eyes now so that their new pony looks better when it’s taken out for its first prance.

      • Puckish Rogue 7.3.1

        Naah it’ll be more of a relief feeling rather than deflated

      • greywarshark 7.3.2

        For goodness sake Robert et al. Stop telling National how to do things better.
        Let sleeping Gnashional dogs lie under bridges I say.

        I suggest, and wait for this great pronouncement, we cut out advising National that Bridges is not this or that, just go Hmm and cut down the column lengths that go to aid the enemy. Because that is what National is. Every day news comes up about how their whole-hearted adoption of neeliberalism etc has led to us all being hole-hearted. And it can never be repaired; that hole.

        So let them go their complacent, callous way. And hope they trip over one of their great mistakes and get a bloody nose. They will have plenty of help to avoid it from their well-paid advisors. Why would the Left set out to provide helpful advice so they can finish us all off? At present we are on the Titanic. For God’s sake let us all keep watch, close the hatches, check the lifejackets, ensure that the navigation and life-support systems are working and set up sensible operating practice teams, with everybody on board having a share in the work that keeps it all going safely.

        • Puckish Rogue 7.3.2.1

          I don’t know for certain but I’m going to guess that Nationals tacticians don’t in fact follow The Standard for ideas on how to win elections

  8. Phil 8

    I love your work Matty, but that last chart is bloody grotesque.

    How does it look as a stacked area or even just a simple line chart?

  9. bwaghorn 9

    What really matters is wether Winston can get through another election . If he can’t anything could happen if nationals sleeper agent Jones gets the rains of nzf. With out them national can’t rule unless nzf and the greens slide under 5%.

  10. Bewildered 10

    Does not really matter who is in government, we have two major parties that back neo liberalism and capitalism, none promotes socialism over capitalism in regard to nationalisation of means of production ( thank god) , the only real difference is how much redistribution they promote vis social policy, even here not much different The whole nz political scene really just comes down to blue team vs red team re pick a side and celebrity

  11. mosa 11

    There is talk of Mark Mitchell heading a conservative party on the right to help National in 2020 with Rodney being the next gifted seat.
    A realignment on the right is overdue given ACT is terminal.

    • Matthew Whitehead 11.1

      Yes, it is overdue, and I prefer to go with cancerous. They sometimes grow but never in a healthy way.

  12. Jackel 12

    Yay though he appears as but a mouse yet watch him like a lion. These rwnjs are toxic, watch them with much awareness.

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