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Reviewing the weekend polls

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, August 18th, 2008 - 35 comments
Categories: election 2008, polls - Tags:

As I said last week, the polls that came out this weekend can not reflect any impact of the secret agenda tapes. The Roy Morgan poll was 50% over before the first tape even came out, and remember it was not until mid-week that the story was really big. Similarly, the Fairfax poll was mostly conducted while the story was still emerging (Colmar Brunton have not provided any period for their poll). On top of that, a wealth of experience and scientific study shows that it takes time for a political event to flow through into poll results. That, of course, did not stop any of the coverage from concluding that the tapes had either had a significant effect or no effect, depending on the contradictory movements of parties in the three polls.

And the polls do contradict each other quite strongly. Take a look at the range of results each party secured in the polls. The range of results is surprisingly high, higher than one would normally expect due to statistical variance; perhaps some one or more of the polls have methodological issues.

Nearly every party were up in one or two polls and down in the remainder. Labour will be heartened to have moved up in 2 of the polls (including an 8% gain in the last two Colmar Brunton polls) and recorded no change in the third. The Greens polled under 5% in two of the three polls, but nobody seriously expects that they won’t win 5% on election day.

Interestingly, the TV3 poll that Duncan Garner mentioned in his blog last week did not materialise on Sunday. Presumably, it was pushed because of the Olympic coverage and will be out tonight. If they, unlike TV1, decided the poll shouldn’t be drowned out by the Olympics that could mean it will make interesting reading. But, of course, it cannot possibly reflect the impact of the secret agenda tapes.

[both major parties’ internal polls show the gap narrowing, about 4-5%, not sure what the period of those polls was.]

[lprent: I could not stand it – fixed a couple of typo’s][You could have got the ‘fo’/’of’ while you were at it. SP]

35 comments on “Reviewing the weekend polls”

  1. higherstandard 1

    Polls are a bore.

    I find myself agreeing with the Prime Minister that they will close up somewhat pre election and the greens will get over the 5% mark.

    What is almost certain is that the Nats will get the highest portion of the vote (near to 50% although I doubt over 50%)

  2. Agreed. I fully expect National to get the most votes, but it’s the most popular party, not necessarily the most popular party, that has the mandate to govern.

  3. lew. did you post a link to a cartoon a while back with Republican elephant and Democratic donkey, with the elephant arguing all kittens should be killed, the donkey against any being killed then the pragmatic centrist coming and saying only half should be killed? still got the link?

  4. Rob 4

    Steve
    Will you still be saying in the next Poll that Secret agenda tapes haven’t kicked in as well!! The Public aren’t worried about it they just see it as Politics only the people on here are focused on it. I believe they did take account of it but also took account of the National policy releases which they saw as pragmatic and the good outweighed the bad.
    The trend is still there for National and they will govern like it or not

    [lprent: Tell me? Do you ever read posts or comments (or can you read?).
    That is exactly what SP said, and what I’ve said on virtually every one of your comments this weekend. ]

  5. Principessa 5

    I won’t quote Josh Lyman just yet, but I do believe it’s all about the big mo…

  6. ak 6

    Good summary Steve. As you note, the range is the salient feature, indicating a nervous volatility accompanying the normal narrowing trend. The range for the minor parties has been so wide this year that their results can almost be ignored: you can bet the farm that the Greens will get there, and I’d put a couple of paddocks on Winnie squeaking back too.

    Brolmar-Cunton is the interesting one: allowing for its endemic pro-tory bias (and noting both Helen’s preferred PM rise and the continuing trend), the real Lab-tory gap could now well be in single figures. And if the polling “refusal rate” is still up at 70% (and it’s still “landlines at evening” only), even that advantage could be illusionary.

    Best news of the week is the fact that the Secret Agenda bender has forced the tories to play the solo-mum-bash card early; the fillip it would definitely have brought will be dissipated by November, and has been overshadowed by the big sport weekend. With the MP cannily snookering the mighty “one law for all” trump by continuing to flash a bit of ankle, substance and experience have won through as the major factors. Advantage Left.

  7. Rob. “Will you still be saying in the next Poll that Secret agenda tapes haven’t kicked in as well!! ”

    We put question marks at the end of questions, not exclamation marks.

    No. I expect there will be movement in the next round of polls and, if not, I conclude there has been no effect.

    Like r0b says, both parties’ internal polls are showing a narrowing of 4-5%

  8. Steve. From the Colmar Brunton website: “Poll Conducted Saturday to Thursday evenings inclusive in week prior to release”

    http://www.colmarbrunton.co.nz/index.php?pageLoad=17

  9. Principessa 9

    About 5 years ago I worked as a phone interviewer for Colmar Brunton (Consumerlink). The polling didn’t always run from Saturday to Thursday- it would run until it was done and because it was so popular and everyone wanted to have a say so they could see their results on One News it often ran out Wednesday or even Tuesday night.

  10. sdm 10

    Anyone know what the undecideds were?

  11. Tim Ellis 11

    Okay, SP. I will take the bait. I realise you’ve only said it to promote the idea that there are leaks within high quarters of the National Party, but what sources do you have that National’s internal polling shows that? Or is this another case of several secret sources telling you things that you don’t go back and check, and you expect us to believe, despite your overwhelming Labour Party bias and ability to exaggerate the truth?

  12. Tim. If I went around on the blog telling you the name of every one who spoke to me, then no-one would speak to me. But the stuff article also mentions the parties’ internal polling.

    And Tim, I’m a Green voter, so “overwhelming Leftwing bias”, if you would, please.

    Cheers, jafapete and Principessa

  13. lprent 13

    ak: It was certainly a very quiet weekend. Shows in the numbers. We dropped back to weekend numbers from about three months back.

    Hell – even I had a look at some sport (some of the code was pretty boring), and I don’t usually.

    BTW: my view on sport is that if I’m not doing it (or the family progeny) then I’m not interested. It was pretty exceptional for me to watch, but I saw the shot putter ecstatically running around the track, and that was pretty cool.

  14. burt 14

    Steve P.

    No pie charts this time? It’s a bit hard to visually compare this set of polls with the normal format posted here at the standard.

    captcha: ing climbers – I’ll say!

    [lprent: Yep. That is probably because Steve did a post on the polls. Usually Tane who does them, but it sounds like he has been busy. Different toolkits and approaches to how to present posts. ]

  15. 2_dead_dogs 15

    The tapes began emerging on Saturday the 2nd and Sunday the 3rd. The last statement was made by Lockwood Smith and the dEAD fISH tapes were aired on TV3 on the 5th of August. The Fairfax poll began the very next day and ran for the proceeding 6 days. I would have thought that time period would have the most impact, considering people would have been interrupted from the damaging news bulletins to answer the questions. The story had all but died by the 12th, save a couple of tabloid weekend recaps.

    Interestingly, the Fairfax poll, gave National a higher rating than the Roy Morgan poll which as you say was half over. According to Fairfax, National *gained* 3% over that time.

    All this says to me is that either, none of this is new to us, perhaps National are soaring in the polls *because* of a ‘secret agenda’ rather than in spite of it, or that noone cares.

    As for ‘dead fish gate’ being reflected in the next round of polls, I would say not. It didn’t reflect in either of the two polls we know the dates for (nor the one we don’t) and given that lack of public interest, it wouldn’t be in Labour’s favour to continue the smear for another 3-odd weeks because that is the only way it is going to remain in the public conscience.

  16. Rob 16

    I believe people are dwelling on Helens & Labours achievements before giving their vote to the Pollsters I would like to list a few of them below for you.

    [deleted]

    [lprent: I’ve warned you before to link rather than copy and paste. Took me a minute to find the site you copied that from. This is a site for discussion not for dropping whole posts into the comments section. Learn to link from the FAQ. Learn to discuss by attempting to engage with other commentators. And don’t do the next obvious step of link-whoring without adding your own comments and putting the links you add into context of the threads discussion. ]

  17. Tane 17

    Lynn! typo’s is a typo!

  18. J Mex 18

    Centerbet currently has the odds of Key being Prime Minister at $1.28 and Helen Clark at $3.70 (note: The Key odds have narrowed in the past 2 weeks from $1.30 to $1.28).

    For those full of confidence in another Clark-led govt – Here is a chance to make a pretty packet.

  19. lprent 19

    Hah! Pedantic. I’ve been done over more pedantically everyday by experts. For instance….

    What is really pedantic is this bloody software that insists that it should try to insert O’Connor Street into a MySQL database like:-

    INSERT INTO Table (Street) VALUES (‘O”Connor Street’)

    Idiot program.

  20. dave 20

    [lprent: I could not stand it – fixed a couple of typo’s][You could have got the ‘fo’/’of’ while you were at it. SP]<?

    Not only is “typo’s” a typo, but you could obviously stand this
    “Colmar Brunton have not provided any period for their poll

  21. lprent 21

    Arggh! I’m surrounded by critical [expletives deleted] 🙄

    Either pedantic human punctuation critics or pedantic SQL parsers that don’t like my (almost perfect) code.

    I’m not into grammar or punctuation unless it is able to be described by lex.

  22. Kevyn 22

    Iprent, There is another explanation for the drop in numbers. Nothing to do with TV sports. Simply that most of your visitors/commenters must be from mid Canterbury where it was a beautifuls sunny weekend. After a month of wet weekends of course they’d all be outside instead of sitting in front of a screen nitpicking on your spelling and grammar.

  23. Current polls also don’t show the corrupt taint of Winston Peters. People and parties seen to be aligned to Peters or protecting him from the censure he richly deserves will, I am sure, be negatively affected.

    Peters serves no purpose and has no valid constituency. He makes a mockery of parliamentary democracy. In doing so he sneers at New Zealanders and abuses his position.

    Hopefully the only poll that truly matters will take Peters out. The mood of the market: we want to see Peters’ head on a spike outside the beehive.

  24. Pascal's bookie 24

    “Peters serves no purpose and has no valid constituency.”

    Apart from the people that voted for him you mean?

    The problem with Peters is that while an overwhelming majority of people can’t stand him, he does in fact, have a constituency.

    There is a segment of society that see themselves as put upon by the powers that be, and will support a politician that a)stands up to those ‘elites’, or b)is opposed by them.

    All the sturm and drang is just as likely to be helping him with those folks than not.

    If that’s the case and he sneaks through on 5 percent, then he is legitimate, however much we loathe him.

    It also follows that the large parties then have a duty to their supporters to cut a deal with him if that’s what it takes to form a government.

    Ain’t democracy grand? 😉

  25. burt 25

    Pascal’s bookie

    It also follows that the large parties then have a duty to their supporters to cut a deal with him if that’s what it takes to form a government.

    I don’t agree with that. If I stood as a white supremacist and received just over 5% of the vote would there be a duty for National/Labour to cut a deal with me?

    I think the large parties have a duty to their voters to stand on their principles and refuse to cut a deal with parties that violate said principles. I can see how Labour would have no problem cutting a deal with Peters given the self serving things they have done such as retrospective validation and the EFA.

    Labour campaigned on a new standard of openness and accountability and if you ignore their actions over the last 9 years that campaign position currently makes it impossible for them to cuddle up to Winston. If however we take Labour on their deeds rather than their words then it’s a different story.

  26. burt 26

    Pascal’s bookie

    BTW: A new standard of openness and accountability is not the same as “It was not illegal”. The “it was not illegal” angle is cop out that flies in the face of openness and accountability. Labour supporters should be sending a very strong messager to the party leadership that thisn position is not acceptable. Expect the Labour “power at any price” position to be punished in the polls – the voters ain’t all stupid.

    Ain’t democracy grand?

  27. Pascal's bookie 27

    Well burt, we elect politicians not priests for a reason. It’s a murky business at the best of times, and is an excerise in yucky compromise. The alternatives are worse.

    There is policy, which is what counts, and highfalutin moral absolutes that politicians like to talk about but simply cannot be lived up to. Unless you have some successful counterexamples?

    And no ACT doesn’t count because they are simply leaches on the public purse striking poses that leave them in permanent opposition. Preening sideline antics is all they’ve ever brought to the party so far. But who knows, maybe they’ll change.

    Let’s say your white supremist has ten percent and the other two main parties 45 each. I’d say the most likely outcome would be a grand coalition that may not last long. A truly odious minor party wouldn’t be the only option, see?

    So let’s instead talk about reality, where the small parties are tolerable little weirdo personaility cults like NZF and United, or ideological but mainstream like the Greens and ACT.

    In this case the big parties have a duty to their supporters to cut a deal if that is what it takes to become the government. You seem to want all parties to just get in there and shout about principle and brook no compromise. This ignores the fact that not everyone agrees about matters of principle. A politicians main job is to broker deals so that their policy principles are enacted as much as possible given that fact. That means no one gets exactly what they want unless it is supported by a majority.

    Your view to me seems childish and petulant, but you are of course, welcome to it.

  28. Pascal's bookie 28

    Democracy is grand burt. Murky mucky and grand.

    Your belief that I’m a partsian Labour supporter who approves of or is happy about everything that they do however is just boring.

  29. lprent 29

    Keyvn:

    There is another explanation for the drop in numbers.

    The relative spread of IP’s around the country is pretty ‘even’. I ran a test a while back looking at geographical locations using a site that was pretty effective at localising IP ranges as far as is possible.

    As you’d expect there was a concentration in the cities, but a surprising number were in rural/semi-rural as well. Can’t remember chch being particularly over-represented. Wellington was of course – but not massively. Auckland was relatively under-represented – but that is the nature of the city.

    Bugger all sun in auckland this weekend. Mostly solid cold rain. But I had too much work to do, so let it rain is all I can say.

    We normally get significant drops in traffic over the weekends, typically about half of the average weekday traffic. This one was more than usual on friday night and saturday. Then it went close to normal later on sunday. It was a pity I was otherwise occupied, because I’ve been looking for a low traffic period during the day to put in the upgraded code.

    There have been weekends where the traffic gets higher than weekdays for no apparent reason.

  30. burt 30

    Pascal’s bookie

    Yes childish and petulant. A real adult would just accept that Labour need Winston’s support and therefore have no interest in accountability. A real adult would just shut-up and let the self serving govt get on with destroying the public confidence in parliament because a real adult knows that what the politicians do is so more important that anything they say.

    I’ll grow up and join the adults: I like not knowing how much money has been donated to political parties. The provisions in the EFA allow it to continue so it must be good. I like it when Winston refuses to answer questions because it shows how strong a leader he is and it shows how good Labour are for not expecting him to act according to his parties principles as published on their own web site. Hey ignoring this stuff keeps the coalition together and all adults know that is more important than anything else in politics ever.

  31. r0b 31

    What’s your problem Burt? Peters and his lawyer present an interesting case. I believe it exactly as much as I believe the Nats and their “anonymous” trusts. Do you think the Nats should be investigated and held to the same account as Peters? If not, why not?

  32. burt 32

    rOb

    The Nat’s didn’t file nill returns. Labour did from their property trust so is that telling us that we should be comparing Labour & NZ1 and leaving national out of this debate?

    DPF has an interesting point on this, worth reading.

  33. r0b 33

    The Nat’s didn’t file nill returns.

    No they didn’t, they just used a “separate” organisation (organisations plural actually, the trusts) to do their dirty work, same as Peters is claiming has happened with his lawyer. Peters files a nil return, and the Nats claim that their donations are anonymous when they aren’t (and in doing so they committed a corrupt electoral practice according to Section 214G of the Electoral Act 1993).

    Labour did from their property trust so is that telling us that we should be comparing Labour & NZ1 and leaving national out of this debate?

    I don’t know anything about Labour’s property trust, but I do know that the Labour party accounts are published openly (the only political party to do so), so they can be checked.

    I also know that NZF and the Nats are exactly as trustworthy as each other. In my opinion the only way to stop these tawdry goings on is to ban all private donations completely and have completely open and transparent public funding of our political process.

  34. Tim Ellis 34

    Rob said: “and the Nats claim that their donations are anonymous when they aren’t (and in doing so they committed a corrupt electoral practice according to Section 214G of the Electoral Act 1993).”

    No they didn’t, Rob. The Nats did not claim that their donations were anonymous. They claimed that the donations were made by the trusts, which is correct. Those donations were disclosed on National’s electoral returns. Peters’ never declared the donations, anonymous or from his lawyer, or otherwise.

  35. r0b 35

    No they didn’t, Rob. The Nats did not claim that their donations were anonymous. They claimed that the donations were made by the trusts

    That’s exactly right Tim. They evaded the intent of the law and technically kept the letter. But they knew full well who their big donors were, and the public doesn’t know as it should, so to my mind they have breached the law.

    The Peters case (though I haven’t been following it closely) appears to me to be similar, he appears to have evaded the intent of the law and technically kept the letter.

    I think it sucks in both cases, and as above, I think public funding is the answer.

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