Reading the tealeaves

Written By: - Date published: 12:06 pm, April 21st, 2008 - 25 comments
Categories: polls - Tags:

One News reports on their Colmar Brunton poll showing a 19 point lead to National and Key ahead in the preferred PM stakes:

Labour continues to trail National – There’s more bad news for Labour in the latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll. It’s trailing well behind National but the results suggest the governing party could also lose a key ally.

Espiner puts Labour’s poor showing in the poll down to attacking John Key and notes that Key’s flip-flops don’t appear to have hurt him – he’s ahead of Helen Clark in the preferred prime minister stakes and “a fourth term appears to be slipping from her grasp”.

3 News reports on their poll showing just a 10 point lead to National and Helen Clark back ahead in the preferred PM stakes:

Poll shows Helen Clark making a comeback against muddling John Key – The latest 3 News poll provides some welcome relief after months of pain for Prime Minister Helen Clark – her Labour party has made some significant ground on the National Party.

Garner interprets the results as showing Labour’s “attacks on Key for being a vacuous empty space appear to be working”. He puts Key’s drop below Clark in the preferred PM stakes down to “Key’s at times muddling leadership”. The lesson in this poll claims Garner, is that “National need to take some positions on policy… it needs to stand for something… Helen Clark ain’t dead yet”.

25 comments on “Reading the tealeaves”

  1. Tane 1

    Dammit a_y_b, we’ve double posted!

  2. higherstandard 2

    Thanks for the balanced post.

    Just shows that polling is volatile and apart from highlighting broad trends over time pretty much meaningless.

    It always surprises me that people get so excited by the polls perhaps if they came out a little less frequently they would be more useful.

  3. r0b 3

    Dammit a_y_b, we’ve double posted!

    More evidence that The Standard is a Vast Leftwing Conspiracy run out of the 9th floor of the Beehive!

  4. r0b 4

    It always surprises me that people get so excited by the polls perhaps if they came out a little less frequently they would be more useful.

    Amen. Also, it’s time for a serious upgrade to polling methodology. What is anyone supposed to make of polls that are so far apart?

  5. mike 5

    The real concern for Labour must be the lack of ground they were able make-up during a golden month for them.

    I not seeing much here about Mr Williams embarrassing lie fest…

  6. Steve Pierson 6

    I think one of the reasons for the difference between the two polls is that one of them is colmar brunton. Astrologers have more predictive capability than that lot.

  7. all_your_base 7

    mike – re your first comment, I think you’ve missed the point. re your second, I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest a “lie fest”. I guess after the fiasco of Audrey’s “confidential insider strategy documents” that turned out to be little more than scribbled delegates notes I’m a little more skeptical of these kinds of media-driven beat-ups than you are.

  8. mike 8

    AYB: My first point is that although the polls showa big diff in results and commentary they both still show a good lead for National after a less than ideal month.
    Secondly its interesting that you call being caught red handed telling porkies to the media “a media-driven beat-up”

    I hope williams keeps his job – he is much more valuable to National where he is.

  9. Santi 9

    Read not only the tea leaves, but also the coffee dregs: they do indicate the mood for a change in the nation (whatever that means) is unstoppable and should see Labour moving to the opposition benches after the election.

    What does it mean for Clark? That life after being PM can be quite cozy and comfortable, which she’s about to discover. A nice sinecure overseas in a useless UN outfit (UNESCO or something similar).

    What could be harder to swallow for the more radical left-wing of the socialist Labour Party will be seeing Goff elected as leader and the party coming back to the centre.

  10. gobsmacked 10

    “the mood for a change in the nation (whatever that means) is unstoppable”

    Yes, what does that mean? If there’s a mood for change, why don’t National suggest some?

  11. hmm 11

    The polling periods are also slightly different. TV3 ended two days before the TV1 one.

    That means that the TV1 may have just caught the Fisher & Paykel job losses on the 17th (which in the eyes of the public the Government could be blamed for – whether that is fair is another matter) and the culmulative effect of the ‘ministers do bad folk pop’ video being replayed and replayed by media organisations.

    That doesn’t explain the 9 point difference but if you add in an margin of error of around 3% it goes some way to doing so.

  12. Ah yes Santi – I see you’ve used your valuable insider knowledge and analytical skills to show… no hold on, you haven’t got either have you? What you have got is a strange KBR fantasy that you are trying to sell.

    Santi – you’re amateur-hour. Which reminds me – I thought you’d be busy reading “Absolute Power” while touching yourself inappropriately today…

  13. First Time Caller 13

    I’m surprised that the Standard can offer a relatively balanced interpretation. Sadly Steve lets the side down by snidely making digs at Colmar Brunton.

    It’s fair to say that John Key’s National Party has a whopping lead over Labour. The UMR polls–Labour’s own polling company, are consistently much closer to the Colmar Brunton than the TV3 poll.

    It would be a bold person indeed to take any single poll in isolation and claim a great trend, other than that Labour is generally failing to make much ground, and National is still commanding a strong lead.

    There will be a lot more volatility to come. People like Steve are setting themselves up for humiliation by crowing about individual results.

    In a way, it’s a good thing that the TV3 and TVNZ polls come out at the same time. It gives a good perspective that it’s the general trend, and not individual results, that count.

  14. The UMR pollsLabour’s own polling company, are consistently much closer to the Colmar Brunton than the TV3 poll.

    No they’re not.

    Why should I believe anything you write when you start your comment with an outright lie?

  15. Santi 15

    It’s always good fun to read the postings of the dim-witted Michael Porton, aka robinsond.

    He’s bending over backwards to fob off all attempts to discredit his beloved socialist Labour (he says he’s a Greenie, if you believe him).

    Way to go moron!

  16. First Time Caller 16

    Pardon me, Robinsod. That’s a very aggressive thing for you to say.

    The UMR poll, Labour’s own polling company, has consistently shown a 16 point lead to National over Labour for the last three months.

  17. Santi – I see that you are once again drawing on your political genius. You know nothing.

    FTC – If that’s the case then it is different to the UMR work I’ve seen – link please?

    Oh and Bro? Give the whole “Pardon me” faux-politeness thing a miss. I’ve read your comments on Kiwiblog and you really ain’t fooling anyone.

  18. Hoolian 18

    Ooooh, Robinsod’s getting titchy – quick blame Kiwiblog, or another far-out Right conspiracy.

    It would be a bold person indeed to take any single poll in isolation and claim a great trend, other than that Labour is generally failing to make much ground, and National is still commanding a strong lead.

    Yes, bold or desperate. I totally agree with this!

  19. I note, Hoolian, that your blog is named politics and prose. A more prosaic political mind than yours would be hard to find.

    But you shouldn’t worry about it bro, you got your blog’s name right – there’s some small hope for your wee aspirations yet…

  20. By the way FTC – I’m still waiting for that proof.

  21. DS 21

    In 2005, Colmar-Brunton was predicting National 44% Labour 37%. The actual result was Labour 41% National 39%. Or in other words, CB was 9% out in picking the party vote lead. Which, by curious coincidence, is now the difference between them and the TV3 poll (which incidentally got the 2005 result between the two major parties almost dead-on).

  22. rod 22

    All political polls should come with a warning.

    BEWARE ! Mindbenders At Work !

  23. randal 23


  24. deemac 24

    no-one expects different polls to produce identical data, but when they don’t even agree on the trends, something dodgy is going on – I would always suspect poor methodology before political interference but in the current overheated atmosphere anything is possible

  25. randal 25

    DEEMAC… you are right…national has been trying to run a ‘permanent campaign’ and all they have succeeded in doing is winding their troops and media supporters up to the point of a full fledged mania. all we are getting now is a torrent of lies, speculations and mis-truths garbled up and meaning nothing. the rest of the world is agog!

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