The Curia poll investigating Aucklanders preferences for the next Mayor has caused a bit of a splash. The published results suggested that Leo Molloy and Efeso Collins were level pegging and that Viv Beck and Wayne Brown were close behind.
And various media outlets picked up on the results and reported them faithfully.
The Ratepayers’ Alliance-Curia mayoral poll has Labour councillor Efeso Collins and restaurateur Leo Molloy each on 21.7 per cent, Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck on 20.5 per cent and businessman Wayne Brown on 20.1 per cent.
Freelance media operator Craig Lord, who came third in the 2019 mayoral race, was four points behind the leading pack on 16 per cent.
The poll of 500 Aucklanders excluded four other mayoral candidates – Hibiscus and Bays Local Board chairman Gary Brown, New Conservative Party co-leader Ted Johnston, John Lehmann and animal justice campaigner Michael Morris.
Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesman Josh Van Veen said the poll shows the four main candidates are equally weak and uninspiring, but Collins has the advantage thanks to the Labour Party machine.
“The time has come for National to get off the fence. In the interests of local democracy, we are calling on the Opposition to endorse a candidate for change in Auckland,” he said.
And Newshub also trumpeted the figures and gave Molloy the chance to spout a whole lot of mistruths, like Labour thinks that the race is in the bag. Or that he was socially liberal, the guy who wants to turn sprinklers on the homeless.
One thing that Molloy did say is that people are tired of idealism. Funny that. I always thought that idealism was a core requirement for our political leadership.
I thought that the figures were weird because they had Craig Lord on 16%. There is no way that he is going to repeat this figure in the actual poll.
Then the news broke that the undecided figure for the poll was 53%. The total sample size was 500 so the results were very unreliable.
I went to have a look for the source document and was able to click through and download it from the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance site, even though the poll was said to be available exclusively for Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance Supporters. I can confirm it would be a cold day in hell before I could be considered one of their supporters.
A poll that placed four candidates for the Auckland mayoralty all but neck and neck in fact had one response way out in the lead: undecided. Polling company Curia – which conducted the survey for the Ratepayers Alliance, a sister group of the Taxpayers Union – has confirmed that 53% of those polled answered “don’t know” or “undecided”, even though they were presented with five candidates and encouraged to choose one “even if not entirely decided”. With a sample size of 500, it suggests that even the most popular candidates were selected by just 51 people each …
The undecided number, first reported over the weekend by BusinessDesk, was not mentioned in the original news report revealing the poll, nor in the document released by the Ratepayers Alliance, which described the five candidates as “statistically tied” after those surveyed were asked: “If the Auckland Mayoralty is a choice between the following candidates, which one are you most likely to vote for at this stage, even if not entirely decided.”
The intent behind the publicity is interesting. Presentation of the results is statistically inaccurate and the poll result has been given way more credence than it should have been.
The intent appears to be to get National to sort the field out. From the Ratepayer’s Alliance newsletter:
“The time has come for [the National Party] to get off the fence. In the interests of local democracy, we are calling on the Opposition to endorse a candidate for change in Auckland”.
With too many ‘change’ candidates running, the lack of leadership by National could see a continued high-spending, high-rates, Mayor for Auckland. Ratepayers deserve so much better…
The episode has all the hallmarks of Dirty Politics. And it has blown a rather large hole in Curia’s reputation.