The poll shift and the flag fiasco

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 am, April 27th, 2016 - 37 comments
Categories: john key, national, nz first, polls, winston peters - Tags: , ,

Roy Morgan polls are erratic, but the latest one seems to show a pretty simple shift, National down 3.5 and NZF up 3.5. (Overall the result is good news for the left as currently being discussed elsewhere).

I have never found Morgan’s commentary on the polls to be useful. It always looks like trying to spin “beltway” issues to account for noise. The commentary on this poll is a fine example of the effect, attributing NZF’s rise to Winston’s theatrics (ejection from Parliament, claims on a joint policy platform). Who, in the real world, knows or cares?

A straight 3.5% swap National to NZF looks to me like the impact of the flag fiasco. A chunk of conservative Key supporters got pissed off with him dissing their flag and went to the patriotic Peters. Simple.

It is often said that it takes a while for big events to have their impact in the polls, and I think those who pronounced Key “unscathed” after a poll quickly following the flag fiasco were wrong to do so. He took a (self-inflicted) hit.

37 comments on “The poll shift and the flag fiasco”

  1. Jenny Kirk 1

    Ah ! and then after a while, they’ll forget all about the flag fiasco and go back to supporting the Nats. So the next Roy Morgans will have the Nats bouncing back again.
    So how do you account for the drop in Labour’s support ?

    • AmaKiwi 1.1

      @ Jenny Kirk

      Is there a meaningful difference between Labour and National? Labour leaders from Helen Clark to the present all abhor the idea that the people should have the power to veto parliament’s actions. I have personally asked every one of them.

      Both offer us a choice between a blue dictator or a red dictator. What an exciting choice!

    • leftie 1.2

      Jenny, part of the strategy?? particularly when National takes a hit, Labour has to be seen taking one too. Mr Robins is right in what he says about the bullshit commentary RM likes to make to excuse any drop in National’s support. One does gets the impression that RM is biased towards John key/National.

      Less people use landlines now, so how does Roy Morgan randomly call mobile phone numbers? No directory, telcos do not give out that information. Outdated polling methods due to changes in technology are making opinion polling unreliable.

      Cellphones make political polling tricky

      <a href="

      Don’t trust the polls: the systemic issues that make voter surveys unreliable

      <a href="

      • Bob 1.2.1

        You might be onto something leftie, the poll of polls clearly shows support for the Greens being grossly overstated and NZ First grossly understated before the last election:

        So Green Party supporters list their landline numbers in the directory and NZ First supporter mainly use cellphones, is that how it works?

        • leftie

          No, and you appear pretty confused Bob. Try reading the post again if that helps.

  2. Tricledrown 2

    Not with a land tax coming to NZ.
    National supporters will not be happy missing out on capital gains.

  3. esoteric pineapples 3

    Sad commentary on the New Zealand voter that they become disillusioned with National over a flag rather everything else that has been going on, and the party they turn to is a more old school version of National that has done very little to earn a rise in the polls. The most salient fact from the last election was that 60 percent of voters voted for conservative parties. Whatever way you slice the polls you still have a conservative voting rump.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Dude, when 60% of voters go for what you term “conservatives” then you better realise that the 40% left is the “rump”, not them.

      • mac1 3.1.1

        You have some support there, CV, from Winston Peters himself who when criticising the National Party to the recent Grey Power AGM referred to them as ‘not conservative, but reactionary and for the rich’. Clearly, he posted himself as a conservative. So, according to the latest RM poll, 42 + 14 plus bits and right wing bobs is 60%, as you say.

        The fight in NZ politics has always been for the middle ground- and both left and right have their rumps. The thing is, the right will vote far more often than the left when disillusioned. That is where the fight lies- to get people voting again.

        And that is I believe why National will not reinstate election enrolment on election day itself, as those 27,000 voters in 2014 who were disallowed would most likely have been protest votes against the government, considering their late choice for getting involved.

        • Colonial Viper

          Yep, National will do all their little tricks to lower voter turnout.

          The fight in NZ politics has always been for the middle ground- and both left and right have their rumps.

          I would slightly disagree with you here: the fight in NZ politics has always been to define and shift where the middle ground lies.

          • Wayne

            Except for the inconvenient fact that in the last election the voter percentage went up, mostly because of non voting people being so annoyed with Kim Dotcom.

            • maui

              The inconvenient truth that KDC was showing little ol NZ was involved in a global spying program was a little hard to take for conservative NZ. Plus the FJK video was confronting for them, but they’re starting to jump on the Winston train now and there’s growing support for such videos.

  4. AmaKiwi 4

    @ Anthony Robins

    You are correct. Poll discussions based on “beltway spin” are nonsense. They might just as well explain poll results using astrology.

    On the other hand, there is a huge amount of historical and empirical data demonstrating the link between approval/disapproval of incumbents based on the mood of the public about their economic circumstances. When we have Granny Herald daily chastising the government for unaffordable housing you know the public is getting pissed off.

  5. Te Reo Putake 5

    National’s chicken’s are coming home to roost. Key’s at odds with his party; he knows he’s on the way out, hence his hapless scrambling to find a legacy project. The party, on the other hand, can’t conceive of a Key-less future. They haven’t got a plan B. So we have a pragmatic PM, who recognises he’s not likely to lead the next Government, and a party that hasn’t begun thinking about succession planning. Good times!

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Succession planning is a relative strength of the National Party, given that it is a typical corporate strategy.

      • Te Reo Putake 5.1.1

        Except they clearly haven’t done any since Key was parachuted in a decade ago. Who’s the next leader? Bennett? Bridges? Joyce? Or are they planning to repeat the Key plan and bring someone in in a by-election later this year or early next year for grooming for the future? An ex All Black captain or similar populist figure?

        • Colonial Viper

          I don’t get access to National Party board meetings. But after 3 terms as PM I’m pretty sure that Key has already told them that he will be walking within one more term, max.

        • b waghorn

          I don’t know who nationals next leader will be but prince max will pop up in the national party in the late 2020s

          • leftie

            God forbid!!! But that wouldnt surprise me in the least B Waghorn.

            • North

              No. Said person is an entitled punk. E! Channel through and through. We haven’t got, indeed we never will, get that low. The desired New Camelot has fucked out into the Big Shamalot. Imagine a stroll in South Auckland…….

      • Lanthanide 5.1.2

        Can’t say I particularly agree with that. English and Brash were both dud choices – and then Brash took the opportunity to double-down and prove it by taking over Act.

        Seems that John Key was a lucky shot. I can’t see Bennett or Collins being very popular, and the hubbub surrounding Bridges as being a future leader seems to have died down.

        Edit: snap, TRP.

        • Colonial Viper

          I should say, succession planning does not always go to plan. Look at the young idiot Bill English supported to fill his shoes in Clutha Southland.

        • AmaKiwi

          @ Lanthanide

          “I can’t see Bennett or Collins being very popular”

          I couldn’t disagree more. An angry public wants a leader who can reflect their anger (Trump and Sanders). Bennett and Collins both fit the bill. They will have to wait until the resentment towards National has worn off.

  6. risildowgtn 6

    Judith Collins be planning to execute her coup to take over once Key gets rolled

    Knives are out

  7. Puckish Rogue 7


  8. My latest post touches on these issues, and I am sure given it is extremely critical of John Key and National, readers of The Standard will find something of interest in it.

  9. swordfish 9

    Not sure you can assume a straight 3.5% Nat-to-NZF swing, Anthony. There’s usually a lot more churn than that going on under the surface of the net changes – swings and counter-swings occurring in various directions.

    Note too that:
    While the Nats are down 3.5 points, the minor parties of Government are (collectively) up 1 point and the minor parties of the Right (ie Govt minions + Cons) have risen by 1.5 points.

    While the following scenario is, no doubt, itself an over-simplification, I suspect it gets closer to the truth than the idea of a simple Nat-to-NZF swing …
    Labour to Green swing = 0.5 points
    Labour to NZF swing = 1.5
    Nat to NZF swing = 2.0
    Nat to Minor Parties of Govt/Right = 1.5

    (I suspect the (putative) Lab-to-NZF swing was actually greater than the Nat-to-NZF swing, but that this was partly off-set by a small Nat-to-Lab swing. Let’s say Lab-to-NZF 2.0 / Nat-to-NZF 1.5 / Nat-to-Lab 0.5)

    Putting aside, of course, the usual caveats around margin of error.

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