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The trouble with polls

Written By: - Date published: 2:43 pm, September 13th, 2016 - 186 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, greens, john key, labour, national, nz first, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags:


So yesterday’s Colmar Brunton poll result was not the best and allowed for Government cheerleaders such as Matthew Hooton and Phil Quin to trumpet that all is doom for the left.

Labour has responded by releasing its latest UMR results which show a decidedly different result.  The figures are National 40 (down 4), Labour 31 (up 1), the Greens down 1% to 14% and NZ First up 2% to 11%.

Perhaps more importantly the favourable/unfavourables for Andrew Little improved by 8% and National’s favourable/unfavourables are negative and Labour’s are positive.

This result certainly matches my impression of politics lately.  The Government has had a shocking time and there is a real sense of anger and loss in how our society is changing.  It also matches my personal experience.  I have been talking to a lot of people lately and they have been very keen to talk to someone wearing a Labour rosette and they are concerned with the way that things are going.

The UMR has a reputation for producing results which do not vary wildly and show consistency.

This is unlike some of the other polls recently reported.  For instance in the latest three Roy Morgan polls National dropped 2.5%, surged 10%, then dropped 7%.  And the Greens went down 2.5%, up 3% and down 3%.

It may be possible that National’s support has increased but I doubt it.

Maybe they are relying on continued feelings of wealth generated by an out of control Auckland housing market the effects of which are now rippling through the country.  We are all rich!  At least those of us who are older and who own property.

This perhaps highlights the dilemma for the Government.  If they don’t do something then there will be continued misery and the threat of an almighty crash as a major correction occurs.  But if they do something they will puncture the feel good value of having your real estate increase in value by significant amounts regularly.

186 comments on “The trouble with polls ”

  1. Clean_power 1

    Oh, dear. This is serious trouble for Andrew Little, who keeps digging a deeper hole for Labour.

    [lprent: Oh dear, You are banned for 2 years for performing a quite deliberate diversion troll. It is quite clear you didn’t read the post and hopped in to get the first comment. I guess that isn’t going to happen again for a while.

    You have a track record of comments that look exactly like this one and you have been warned about violating policy before. I can’t see any point in giving any further warnings. Lets see if you can grow up in a few years instead. ]

    • I am sick to death of people like you ‘ clean power’ who will use any means to denigrate Labour.just use your Right-wing ramblings on some other blog.

      Have go at your Tory mates complain about Key and his failings regarding the homeless, the unemployed ,the underemployed and everything else this ghastly right-wing National government has done to the working poor. I believe that Andrew Little is an excellent leader ,at least he tells the truth which is more than the lying Key can claim ,Key cannot tell the truth he is just a persistent liar. And Little does not assault young women by hair pulling and he is not in habit of making jokes about rape .
      If National is really on top of the gallop-polls then their is something seriously wrong in our society.

      • Gangnam Style 1.1.1

        Thank you Pink Postman, it needed to be said.

      • Sam C 1.1.2

        This is hilarious. And irrational.

        • WILD KATIPO

          Hilarious ? …. Irrational?

          Nay , Harragat ,… the wishful thinking of the far right nutjob is whats truly hilarious… hoping against hope the good times of good old fashioned exploitation of their fellow human creatures will never come to an end… I guess BREXIT was a hard pill to swallow… and a damn nasty boot up the a – hole as well. Remember that old commercial about ” It wont happen straight away , but it WILL happen ”… well, that’s like the wests views of the demise of neo liberalism …

          And no matter how much a- wishin you want to do…the times they are changin… esp for the intercepting of Opposition MP’s e – mails by the Parliamentary Services…and Lovey Key knows that too… and deep down?… he just wants to be a lil more like this guy , kid around, pull a few more ponytails , wear a silly hat and tell a few more jokes on our national radio… he even looks a bit like him…

      • esoteric pineapples 1.1.3

        The reason you get a lot of trolls on progressive blogs is because the content is much more intelligent and informed. Even trolls get bored with bullshit. You don’t bounce off it, you just end up wearing it.

        • Sam C

          I get bored with “this is a rogue poll”. That’s what I get bored with.

          Pull your heads out of the sand. None of the commentary around this poll result is intelligent or informed.

          • Wensleydale

            Including your own, presumably.

          • Anne

            Go away and stay away. Standardistas can’t be bothered with right wing dunces like yourself who have nothing intelligent to contribute.


            • Sam C

              Anne, you are living in some sort of delusional bubble.

              My intelligent contribution is questioning why you continue to defy every poll presented to you. Why is Little’s lack of traction everybody else’s fault?

              • I don’t have anything of much intelligence to offer , but what I can offer all you neo liberal liars and dunderheads is a wee song, – and that if you don’t start shaping up in the near future, …your future may end up being like that of the main protagonist in this song…. swingin’ on the gallows pole.

                So here’s one for all the greedy kids out there… enjoy.

            • jcuknz

              From my understanding of polls is that few or none are ‘rogue’ but just a different sample of people and how they feel at the time they are questioned. That only an average of polls which increases, one can hope, the sample size from the usual miniscule sample of a few hundred has any point.

              My wife used to do a ‘shopping’ survey and left the political section to me and I was a fan of Winston at the time and he consistently rated well …. but then I stopped adding my tuppence and Winston dropped back … funnt? 🙂

      • Leftie 1.1.4

        Loads & loads of +1’s The Pink Postman.

        • Sam C

          Yep, loads and loads of +1s in the echo chamber Leftie, that’ll do the trick.

          • Hanswurst

            Is that the same echo-chamber that contains your posts and many others like it?

            • crashcart

              You have to realise he doesn’t actually know what the phrase “echo Chamber” means. It is just a cool sounding phrase he saw some one use in a derogatory sense and so spouts it out in the hopes that someone will think he is intelligent as well.

              Not working though.

    • Anno1701 1.2

      “Oh, dear. This is serious trouble for Andrew Little,”

      do you get gold star for getting in first or something ?

      • mike 1.2.1

        matter of fact anno I think they are being paid.
        Almost every post that comes up here has a ‘trump’ as the first commenter.
        The pattern has become obvious in my view.
        With the money that those bastards have got, what’s to stop them employing someone to sit on the standard site and rush to comment whenever a new post arrives?
        It’s pathetic, I know, but it looks like an orchestrated smear department, with severely underdone humans sloshing back acid drops, getting help to pay their student loan by none other that the bloody national party.

        • Gangnam Style

          A ‘trump’, great term mike!

          • whispering kate

            Don’t give them any oxygen, ignore their comments, do not take the bait and react to it. Trolls just feed on reaction and nothing will bore them quicker than to just let the comment stay where it is and do not comment on it at all. Treat it like it doesn’t exist and is just in their imagination and not in reality. I am just going to reiterate – starve them of oxygen and they will go away and leave the rest of us in peace. They are paid moles and pretty useless at that.

            • Sam C

              I’m not paid, Whispering Kate. I enjoy checking in here to be treated like I don’t exist… Just like 46% or thereabouts of New Zealanders don’t exist, eh?

              Good luck starving me and the majority of the electorate of oxygen.

              You really are a battler.

  2. James 2

    I think we can all agree that this is the poll the majority of Standard readers want to believe.

    The others are all bogus, Little is doing just dandy in favorable leader poll.

    Just curious – Little said he had seen “other polls” – so there is this one – what are the others – because they are all saying the same thing – and none of them have National on 40%.

    Or was he just talking about UMR saying the same thing each month?

    • Enough is Enough 2.1

      I think everyone can agree that both the Roy Morgan and Colmar Brunton polls have been rogues.

      This looks like a better representation of what I have been hearing on the street.

      • Patrick Cummoskey 2.1.1


      • Puckish Rogue 2.1.2

        Absolutely I agree, every other poll that has Labour doing badly is wrong and this poll showing Labour doing not as bad is obviously the correct one to follow

        Onwards to victory comrades!

        • Anno1701

          “Onwards to victory comrades!”

          grow up……………

          • Puckish Rogue

            Hey now think positive, we have proof without doubt that the tide has turned and NZ now see real John Key, this single, individual poll proves it

            • Sam C

              In the words of so many clowns on this blog Puckish Rogue, +1 trillion.

              Oh, and Fuck John Key. It is all his fault.

            • mickysavage

              Did you read the post? I mentioned both results and said why I think the UMR result was more likely but left open the possibility it was not. Yet you chose to interpret it as something completely different.

              Why is that?

              • Tom

                But the UMR quoted by Labour is a single poll. I ask you this what has been the average of Colmar Brunton polls since the last election. Or any of the 3 main polls , or all of them put together?

            • Anno1701

              “Hey now think positive”

              Im just disappointed Darwin was clearly wrong…

          • mauī

            Puckish’s bedtime is at 4.30. You usually see the tantrums and the pestering for a nappy change from about this time on. Phew only half an hour to go!

            • Puckish Rogue

              That kind of negative talk is not helpful, please report to your local re-education camp for remedial training

              Ask for Phreddy

      • Sam C 2.1.3

        By “hearing on the street” do you mean reading on the Standard and talking to your lunatic mates down the pub?

      • Leftie 2.1.4

        +100 Enough is Enough

    • mickysavage 2.2

      Labour is skeptical about the result for National because it dropped so much. This is unusual. It could be the result of everything that has gone wrong lately or it could be that National’s support has been under reported.

  3. Enough is Enough 3

    New Zealand First is still required for both sides.

    That is not a place the left wants to be. We do not want Winston Trump having any sort of influence over the next government. We have a huge job to clean up the destruction caused by Key. That job will be impossible with a bigot like Winston calling the shots.

    Although the UMR is encouraging we need to get to a place where Winston is not a factor.

    • srylands 3.1

      For god’s sake – what is this “destruction” that needs to be cleaned up? The country is humming. Go out on a Friday night and the bars and eating establishments are heaving with thousands of people spending up large.

      Immigration is booming. The welfare state is bigger and better than ever.

      You are being hyperbolic.

      Also, I doubt that there will ever be another Labour Party led Government. Ever.

      • mickysavage 3.1.1

        Yep we are all spending our equity. Great position to be in.

      • Siobhan 3.1.2

        Slightly problematic measurement of wealth don’t you think?? When I was a penniless youngster I was out most nights of the week spending up large, probably half my wages on…whatever…..DID NOT, in any way mean I was well off.

        Anyway, as to your large Welfare State from Treasury this..
        “The shrinking of total welfare expenditure, as a percentage of GDP, is striking. It shrinks almost as much as spending on each of healthcare and NZ Super is projected to grow. This stark decline should prompt us to consider whether these projected numbers are realistic, or whether future governments will want to spend more on welfare. Here are some examples of areas where we could imagine governments wanting to spend more:..”


        So, unlike you, treasury thinks the Welfare State is shrinking..and if you read the rest of the report they think it’s a potential problem…and that’s the Treasury speaking, not exactly a big spending Leftie organization.

      • Anno1701 3.1.3

        “You are being hyperbolic.”

        ” Go out on a Friday night and the bars and eating establishments are heaving with thousands of people spending up large”

        your just lying…..

      • Righty right 3.1.4

        We are huming along on debt and misalocation of capital that never ends well

      • Ffloyd 3.1.5

        Good grief! The littlies are out in force tonight. Must be going for their ‘grown up badges’. Pity they are all so incoherent. I get far more intelligent insights from my 8 year old grandson. Plus he is far more entertaining and has a wider vocabulary. The young nats need to source some new blood. You know, like some wine barons’ moronic son who beats up female police officers. Hope to see him on here soon. But not really!! He will be far to busy doing Community service, like washing daddys’ car or something. Sorry, digressed there.

      • appleboy 3.1.6

        My god – there you have the right wing world view in a nutshell – if the bars and restaurants are ‘heaving’ all is well! There’s so much wrong with that on so many levels. I fewer words, ‘f%%k em all I’m all right Jack’. National Party policy in 7 words really.

  4. I don’t think it’s ever about picking one poll to believe. If a new poll shows a positive or a negative trend, you don’t start believing it unless the next poll is still showing the same direction, and ideally the one after that.

    That the polls seem to be jumping around wildly at the moment is a little confusing, and probably suggests some methodology problems for at least a few of them.

  5. Enough is Enough 5

    David Farrar is in panic mode over this. It is hilarious the amount of spin he can generate


    • srylands 5.1

      You really think Farrar is panicking? He is not.

    • Lanthanide 5.2

      I don’t recall National ever having released their internal polling, the way Labour has done.

      Now I don’t think Labour/Little are panicking, but I definitely wouldn’t say it was Farrar who was.

      Interestingly he does say this:

      National has not polled 40% in any public poll since 2006.

      He did say “public poll”, because that’s all that he’s willing to share, and all that the general public can verify with. But it leaves open the possibility that at some point since 2006, they have been polling at 40% or lower in their private polling.

      • Chuck 5.2.1

        “I don’t recall National ever having released their internal polling, the way Labour has done.”

        No, I agree can’t recall National ever doing so.

        “Now I don’t think Labour/Little are panicking, but I definitely wouldn’t say it was Farrar who was.”

        Call a spade a spade…Little has been rattled big time and is panicking, just watching the video link below. The journos smell blood…


        I wounder if Little will also release the methodology used by UMR for this Labour internal poll?

        But hey most other polls are “bogus” or “rouge” however labour can always count on there private (not any more!) UMR poll to keep the troops happy 🙂

        • Lanthanide

          Just watched that clip and Little didn’t seem “rattled” to me. More annoyed at having to waste time answering questions about a poll he thinks is wrong – and with some reasonable justification, too.

          • Chuck

            By calling out the Colmar Brunton poll as bogus, he has inevitability just trashed all the other polls done by CB, including the ones Labour have used to attack the Government with.

            Little panicked, he can’t have it both ways…either he accepts that Colmar are a reliable polling company or not.

            What this tells the public is that Labour and Andrew Little are very sensitive and nervy when a poll shows a result that they do not agree with.

            If Little truly believed his own UMR poll then he would of been much more relaxed then he was yesterday and today.

            Just watch, from now on Little will have to either continue to release Labour internal polling (The invoice from UMR will go up) or each month have to bat away why he won’t continue to release internal Labour polling. What a clusterfu#k.

            • Lanthanide

              “By calling out the Colmar Brunton poll as bogus, he has inevitability just trashed all the other polls done by CB, including the ones Labour have used to attack the Government with.”

              If you’re a simpleton, yes.

            • In Vino

              You’re chucking it again, Chuck. “Rouge’ is French for red. The word you were struggling for is ‘rogue’. And next – “then he would of been..”
              Would’ve, please. There is no such thing as ‘would of’. Only clusterf***ers write such rubbish. Your attempt at logic is equally silly. Little was quite right to produce some evidence that this Colmar Brunton poll was questionable, and it does not oblige him to make any future releases at all.

              • Chuck

                Yes dear.

                “and it does not oblige him to make any future releases at all.”

                Great he (Little) will then have to concede that all future polls (be it CB or others) are about right. If he does not…the precedent has been set.

                I wounder if In Vino logic can work that one out…

        • Johan

          To Chuck: Perhaps it is you who is panicking and scared of a reality check.

        • maninthemiddle

          I’d suggest the term ‘explaining is losing’ is appropriate.

          • marty mars

            What do you mean?

            • In Vino

              Yes, I hate cryptic responses like that. Manininamuddle should elucidate.

              • maninthemiddle

                Not that cryptic really. Little is trying to deflect criticism of his leadership by trying to explain away poor poll results. In doing so he:

                1. Draws more attention to those poor results.
                2. Opens himself up to an accusation of hypocrisy…how can he dismiss the CB political preference poll, yet use other CB polls that suit his narrative?

                • In Vino

                  Great. You took marty’s bait and explained. You have said what that means. You should not write rubbish if you are going to pour it all over yourself.

                  • Chuck

                    Its not really fair…I can understand why that is all you can respond with In Vino.

                    Andrew Little is very short on advice at the moment, with no chief press sec and Matt packing his bags…maninthemiddle is spot on with why it was not a good move by Little yesterday.

                  • maninthemiddle

                    My reply was to you, not Marty. Note the word ‘cryptic’. Do you have anything meaningful to contribute?

                    • In Vino

                      I was backing up Marty, prompting you to lose by explaining. The word ‘cryptic’ was just a little more bait for you. Hook, line, sinker, and just about the fishing rod as well.

                    • maninthemiddle

                      “I was backing up Marty, prompting you to lose by explaining.”

                      I wasn’t explaining away a poll result. I was educating the ignorant.

    • ianmac 5.3

      Enough is Enough. If the rebuttal given by Farrar is his best shot, then he must be deeply concerned.

    • maninthemiddle 5.4

      Far from panicking, Farrar’s analysis is spot on.

      If Labour want to pat themselves on the back over this one poll, while ignoring all others, they will continue to ignore the wishes of the silent majority and continue to slide into electoral oblivion. And good riddance.

    • Bearded Git 5.5

      What Farrar should be saying is National 45% Lab/Green Bloc 43%.

      Standardistas need to get into this bloc habit too.

      p.s. David F the word is advise not advice

  6. Anne 6

    At last! I’ve been doing my nut on and off for some time about Labour releasing the UMR results for public consumption. Perhaps they finally heard me. 😉 They need to do it every time one of these ‘bogus’ polls are released.

    It may be coincidence, but Swordfish was doing his nut here a few weeks back because the Colmar Brunton poll was overdue. I postulated (and I think he did too) the possibility they were holding out for a better polling period for the govt. A month ago the Nats were in deep poo over several issues but particularly the revelation families were living in cars in the depth of winter and Paula Bennett’s subsequent lies on the matter. Best to hang fire for a few weeks eh?

  7. Puckish Rogue 7

    Now this is a game changer everyone, Littles supporters have nothing to worry about and its clear run to winning the next election

    So don’t worry about anything and whatever you do don’t change anything either and Labour will sleepwalk to victory!


  8. BM 8

    UMR is probably just telling Labour what they want to hear.

    • Puckish Rogue 8.1

      The problem with this poll is its sort of like a drowning man kind of thing. Labour are drowning and, like a drowning man, their supporters will grasp onto anything they can

      Now that’s not always a bad thing but some on here will be convinced that this poll is the correct poll and every other published poll is wrong because John Key, MSM, neo-liberal, *insert buzzword here*, new world order etc etc

      This means that’s when National are re-elected there’ll be a lot of genuinely surprised people who simply can’t believe it happened “because all the people I’ve talked to want John Key gone” and then there’ll be the talk of a fixed election, a petition will be started because the result doesn’t seem right and so forth

      False hope is what it is

      • Infused 8.1.1

        Like last time:

        “Half of new zealand is stupid”


        etc etc

      • maninthemiddle 8.1.2

        They used to be convinced the RM was the correct poll.

      • Johan 8.1.3

        BM and Puckish Rogue, keep up the good work as a Tory Trolls, over confidence on your part is just what Labour/Greens need;-)))))

      • Red Hand 8.1.4

        False hope that a government of the right would ensure every child born will thrive, workers be paid a just living wage, the ill and disabled cared for according to their needs, education and skills training freely available and a secure old age.

      • Richard Rawshark 8.1.5

        Heya PR, I hear where your coming from and what point your making. Fair enough it is too.

        As for polls, I never trusted polls and if Farrar has anything to do with one then i’d ignore his results for sure.

        However, Considering the editorial


        Published in Today’s Herald isn’t it also a great tactic to post a poll and quickly back it up in the Herald with this editorial. I mean co-incidence?

        Polls are like … stupid in that, the only thing that will matter is the result come election time.

        As for Labour, your team outsmarts them constantly PR, yet they still think they are the smartest people on the block.

        When you grow up in the hard schools of life you can spot when your being played, Labour have been played since key came along, funny that isn’t it.

        • Puckish Rogue

          I guess what beggers belief for me is that even after 8 years in power there are still people who say that John Key is simply a “money man”, that he simply repeats Crosby lines, that he’s not “intelligent”

          I mean I get the dislike for him, I get why people think he shouldn’t be PM, I get all that but the left seem to be going out of their way to make it easier for John Key by constantly and consistently underestimating him

          Labour have been played by Key but Labour have made it so much easier for Key to play them

          Is it like the left don’t want to acknowledge how good a politician he really is because that will somehow “legitimise” Key?

    • And Colmar-Brunton doesn’t tend to do the same thing by consistently predicting National would govern alone last election cycle? Sure their last poll before the election was close, but that’s a ridiculous measure when you’ve been getting the trend wrong the entire time, showing National support growing significantly when it was actually shrinking, and the house was held onto by pure virtue of re-distribution from the Conservative Party and electorate-trading with ACT and UF.

      Look, it’s something of a toss-up whether they get the specific numbers right. What you’re generally looking for in polls is a trend. Do national go up. Do Labour stay still. Are the left cannabilising support from each other, or growing their bloc? Did Labour rise after their recent policy announcement? Has the MOU been good for both parties? etc…

      And generally the trend has been pretty good for the opposition, minus that absurdly rogue Roy Morgan that I imagine even John Key had a laugh at, because there’s no way they announced any policies that could have justified that dramitic a shift. (nor did they make any unusual errors compared to the time of their uptick) We’ll see if that stays the case after we get a couple more polls to compare this CB one to, but at this stage I expect it’s CB being CB.

      • Cricklewood 8.2.1

        “and the house was held onto by pure virtue of re-distribution from the Conservative Party and electorate-trading with ACT and UF.” No it was held due to labour failing to provide a unified front with endless white anting and backstabbing coupled with a refusal to work with other parties of the left in a more constructive manor.

        • Richard Rawshark

          I thought it was the people balking at dotcom and the joke/farce the election had become and voted for the status quo?

          • Cricklewood

            Defo part of the picture but there was no credible alternative in labour at the time. You had leadership changes and for all intents and purposes a devided caucus more intent on infighting than winning an election.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            Mana losing its seat didn’t help, but it’s only one seat, and it’s a matter of two seats that the government is currently holding on to power. Those two seats would be gone if not for electorate horse-trading to minor parties, and the votes that have been lost from Conservative supporters being redistributed will also hurt National in the next election. If either the MP or UF disappear they’re in real trouble, even if the latest CB poll turns out to be accurate.

        • I don’t disagree with you, but at the same time, National’s electoral techniques and the failed vote from the Conservatives are all that kept it in government this term even with said back-stabbing.

  9. RedLogix 9

    On the basis of this polling … Labour and the Greens need to be urgently talking about how they are going to present as a coherent block. (And how to pitch it to Winston.)

    As I said yesterday, the establishment and MSM in this country still expect the largest party to have first and prime crack at forming a govt. And at this point a Lab/Grn combination is too easily prised apart to look like any kind of ‘largest party’.

  10. mauī 10

    This was some commentary on the Colmar Brunton poll released last night:

    “Warning signs for Labour tonight..”
    “National as strong as ever..”
    “National shows no sign of fatigue..”
    “Labour struggling to make headway..”
    “National with 58 seats is well and truly in the box seat..”
    “It’s fan base is as strong as ever..”
    “National has a tail wind, its driving it right through to next year..”
    “Big alarm bells ringing for Andrew Little..”
    “They will need Labour to lift its game..”
    “This slide is a kick in the guts..”
    “There’s some better news for the struggling Labour leader..”
    “Ok Corin, tough results for Labour..”

    No that commentary wasn’t from a right-wing nut jub, it was from the two newsreaders and the political reporter of TV One all within the space of a couple of minutes. Thank goodness for our unbiased, impartial, independent media that beam information into households every evening. Yeah right.

    [Reference] –

    • alwyn 10.1

      My God. Were they really saying those things?
      When the left leaning Labour Party shills on TVNZ start saying those sort of things Labour are really in trouble.
      Not to worry though. As far as I can see the Radio New Zealand reporters are still keeping the faith and never mentioned it the poll at all.
      They will probably quote, admiringly, the UMR figures this evening. John Campbell will be likely to wet himself.

      • Gangnam Style 10.1.1

        “left leaning Labour Party shills on TVNZ” You show up your own lack of credibility with bollix like that my friend.

    • RedLogix 10.2

      That’s my basis for what I’m saying above. Until Labour poll higher than National by themselves (which will never happen with our current political constellation) … the MSM will play First Past the Post lines like this.

      There’s not much value in bitching about it, but equally we can’t ignore how corrosive this kind of media white-anting is.

      • Anne 10.2.1

        … we can’t ignore how corrosive this kind of media white-anting is.

        It has been my contention for years that the media’s carefully selected pollsters indulge in a form of political subliminal advertising. It is well known that a portion of the population (10% at the least) will vote for the political party they perceive to be the winners because they want to be associated with winners. All these polling companies need to do is to ensure their systems have an inbuilt bias towards the party of choice and hey presto…. the voters’ subconscious will eventually do the rest.

        And the more the pollsters deny the subterfuge, the more certain I am that is their MO.

        • Pat

          “Overall, results obtained from both studies were consistent in showing the superior strength of the bandwagon or rally-around-the-winner effect …. [That is, polling data showing a candidate as leading will tend to influence voters to select that candidate. Thus,] it is important to consider cumulative effects of the bandwagon effect when it is combined with repeated and closely spaced reports of polling data. Assuming that the bandwagon effect is operative and one candidate is an initial favorite by a slim margin, reports of polls showing that candidate as the leader in the race will increase his or her favorable margin. Subsequent reports, based on more recent and stronger margins, will in turn progressively strengthen that candidate’s lead. In short, the bandwagon effect, in combination with frequent poll reports, can create an unstable equilibrium (i.e., snowball) effect, and only highly dramatic and favorable (or unfavorable) disclosures or events may reverse that effect…. ”


          the trouble with polls…

          • Anne

            The rest of that article is worth repeating:

            “This unstable equilibrium effect of polling described in the preceding paragraph, or The Mehrabian Polling Snowball Effect (MPSE) , helps identify a potential way in which political organizations can be tempted to influence voting by sponsoring biased “polling studies” and reports. Poll results can be slanted easily through selection of slightly skewed respondent samples or the actual wording of questions used in the polls. Frequent reporting of slanted and invalid poll results can help propel a candidate to the forefront and, in fact, increase his/her lead over time…

            Accordingly voters need to be educated about the Polling Snowball Effect so they can be specially vigilant when they are repeatedly barraged by polling reports favoring one candidate (or poll results that suggest popularity of a particular campaign issue) during political campaigns. Voters, in particular, need to educate themselves about the political orientations of entities that sponsor polling studies.”

            A detailed description of what I was trying to say. Pity nobody will educate the voters except, of course, lots of them are beyond education – something of which we are continually reminded on this site.

    • Wensleydale 10.3

      And this is why I don’t bother with television these days. Listening to mainstream media “journalists” talking about Key is like eavesdropping on a conversation between lovesick teenage girls discussing the star quarterback.

      “Oh, Regina, he’s so dreamy! I just love his eyes!”
      “I know, right! I was like, oh my God, if he even looks at me I’ll just die!”

      Every time I hear Hosking’s mule-like braying, I throw up in my mouth.

    • Bearded Git 10.4

      Nice work maui.

      It really shows how the media, Fox News style, works in Godzone these days. Pure brainwashing.

      • mosa 10.4.1

        Over the last 8 years under this National government New Zealand has become an entrenched 2 class society ,” i have got” “you have not”.
        Keys strategy is working perfectly to keep control of the treasury benches.

    • mosa 10.5

      Maui you missed one–Corrin Dann -I dont sense a move against Andrew Little at this stage…
      There is no hope in hell Labour will get an honest CB poll in the next 12 months, its all about undermining the party ahead of the election just as they have done for the last 3 general elections.
      TVNZ has forgotten that they are a public broadcaster and are required to be impartial and not a mouthpiece for the National party.
      They will now undermine Littles leadership with every bad poll result and make sure that the public form the impression that someone will be moving against his leadership and that Labour is riven with instability and the damage will be done.
      The public are now being told that Key will get a fourth term, so we wont need to vote.

    • Leftie 10.6

      +1 Mauī

  11. Michael 11

    We need to see whether a trend has developed. For that we need more polls. Until then we can’t draw sensible conclusions.

  12. This post encapsulates perfectly, the game. The rightwing, in all its manifestations, has mobilised to undermine, dis-empower, depress and deflate leftwing supporters, no matter what the circumstance. It matters not one whit what is really happening, what the situation really is, the underminers will sweep in, here and on every other platform, to convince everybody that there is NO HOPE, that the Left has ALREADY LOST, that we are BEHIND and will NEVER CATCH UP. Abandon all hope, Lefties, ’cause WE SAY SO. It’s a strategy, readers of The Standard, that’s been in play for some time now and will intensify as the election approaches. You are being targeted by trolls whose mission it is to depress and depower you. You can argue the toss over details, but the big picture remains: they seek to make you believe that the game is already up, that you have lost. This is, of course, not true. It’s a strategy. The best resistance, in my view, is to dismiss them as eroders, underminers, and instead of rising to their baits, broadcast with vigour, your own take, your own understanding, your own confidence in your team – wanna win? Talk like winners! Treat Puckish Rogue, James, Hooten et all like the confidence-lepers that they are. Tell them to take a hike. Support your team, support your man/men/woman/women/people and dismiss the chip, chip, chippers, the gnaw, gnaw, gnawers as the negative, anti-success agents they are.
    And have a very lovely, successful, satisfying day while you are doing it 🙂

    • In Vino 12.1

      Well said.

    • Leftie 12.2

      +100 Robert Guyton

    • Colonial Viper 12.3

      Robert, your analysis is flawed. If the UMR polling is indeed correct, then the combined LAB/GR vote is noticeably ahead of the NATs, and all the right wing media and public polling obfuscation to make the public believe that the blue team is the only team in town, has failed.

      So which is it?

  13. Gangnam Style 13

    I actually misread that as ‘The Trouble With Trolls’ then I thought of the best Star Trek episode ‘The Trouble With Tribbles’!

  14. Leftie 14

    Finally… I am so pleased that Andrew Little has spoken out and Labour have finally countered National’s bullshit.

    Labour and the Greens ahead based on the Opposition’s own polling

    “Media were told by Labour to treat the poll with caution because National’s 40 per cent was much lower than previous polling.”

    “He says it’s “simply incredible” to suggest National, who is polling at 48 per cent, is still as popular as ever two years on from the last election. “I reject the results,” Little said.

    “Here’s what the TVNZ poll requires New Zealand to believe – that two years on from the last election with their failure to deal with housing, their failure to deal with homelessness, their failure to deal with rising crime, their failure to deal with education and our declining educational performance, that their popularity is as good as ever.”

    “The UMR internal polling hovers between 30 and 34 per cent for preferred party and Prime Minister Key’s favourability is “consistently downward”, he said.

    “I’m satisfied from the response we’re getting that people are hearing our message about managing immigration responsibly, that they’re hearing our message about having a real plan about building new houses and housing the homeless.”

    “We’re really happy about the traction we’re getting,” he said.

    <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/84200572/Little-says-latest-Colmar-Brunton-poll-at-odds-with-other-polls-including-their-own

  15. Ian 15

    My internal polling of old friends and relatives who used to vote labour shows that labour is losing votes because they have moved too far to the left and the parliamentary wing are very average. No new blood and not relevant .

    • In Vino 15.1

      Ugh. Was that internal polling painful? Which end did you do it from?

    • Leftie 15.2

      Ian, my internal polling and that of others that I know of, is saying that people are frightened of the shambolic, disastrous mess the Nats have made and are fed up with the lies and deceit. The internal polling is also saying that the Nats are toast at the next election, and that people would get rid of the Nats now rather than later and want a snap election.

  16. Colonial Viper 16

    Let’s start by assuming that sure, Labour’s UMR internal polling is the most accurate of all the political polling done in this country.

    There is no situation, assuming that is true, where releasing this information helps Labour at all.

    If all the other public polls are biased for National and against Labour/GR, but the UMR shows that Labour/GR are actually clearly ahead


    clearly the public is not fooled by the noise of the public polls, so keep your information confidential and lull the NATs into a false sense of security.

    Now that Labour has released these numbers, Farrar will already have been given the job of confirming or falsifying their accuracy. The results of his analysis will then feed into the National Party election campaign strategy.

    Worst possible outcome: the NATs realise that LAB/GR are actually clearly ahead of them and pull together a solid strategy to reverse that position.

    • BM 16.1

      If UMRs polling is correct then National is in the box seat.

      NZ first + National = 51% , National will need all of NZ firsts vote to get them across the line, great for Peters because being the sole coalition partner, he’ll be able to get so much more from National than he’ll get from a Lab/Greens coalition.

      In 2017 National either has to get 50% plus, or be in the low 40% to be assured victory anything n between is dangerous ground to a upon.

      • Leftie 16.1.1

        You’re dreaming BM. Seriously doubt Winston Peters will support National. The last time he apologized for it in 1998. He has supported a Labour government since then. NZ First is on the same page as Labour and the Greens. It won’t be a problem for him to be part of a Lab/Green coalition. Listen to what Peters is saying, he hates what the key National government are doing, he won’t be a part of that.

        • Chuck

          In politics there is no such thing as a “sure thing”. Winston is the master when it comes to bluster.

          Of course Winston attacks the Government, he is in opposition. Also note he takes aim at Lab/Gr when required. Its all about building his voter base…from soft National voters through to center Left voters from Labour.

          His Northland seat is a conservative one…the other seats NZF are aiming for are also conservative strong holds. While Winston’s long standing bluster is not to say a preference in which party he will support, he will be very aware of not supporting National as NZF will be punished come 2020 (assuming Peters holds Northland and if they pick up another one). In other words he will need a very good reason to not support National in 2017 (assuming the Nats need him).

          Winston will do whats best for himself and NZF at the end of the day.

          • Leftie

            Winston Peter’s already has an abundance of good reasons to not support National, and he intends to eat into National’s votes.

      • Richard Rawshark 16.1.2

        From what I’ve seen of Winston, he can’t stand them, he’s been ejected over Key more times than any other politician.

        Key and half of them would have to go. It won’t happen.

    • Olwyn 16.2

      Have another look at Maui @ 10. I saw that item on TVNZ and he/she has transcribed it pretty much verbatim. That’s the narrative Labour is up against at this stage, and that is what needs to be challenged. I think there are times and places in which what you say is right, but at the moment they need to prevent them from hogging the oxygen, and do what they can to stop them from regaining the initiative on such things as housing and the misuse of temporary migrant workers. So it is better to counter their polls where they can.

  17. maninthemiddle 17

    The other issue is one of credibility. If Labour go into the 2017 election still polling in the 20’s, there will be no appetite amongst the public to let them lead a government, knowing how much impact the greens would have on such a government. That would cause Labour’s vote to collapse completely.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      Illiterate innumerate fails Statistics 101.

    • Wensleydale 17.2

      Yes, because the Greens want to force everyone to subsist on a diet of lentils and lawn clippings, and travel to and from work via pogo stick. It will be mandatory to dress in green at all times, and you must demolish your home and hire a Green certified tradesman to rebuild it out of oatmeal and manure. All state sanctioned undergarments will be woven from hemp, and the national anthem will be changed to Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ In The Wind.”

      Fear the Green Bogeyman New Zealand!

  18. Ross 18

    The only poll that matters is on election day. What happens in the meantime is largely irrelevant. Helen Clark had a lousy poll rating before she became PM. Indeed she polled as low as 2% at one point.


    • Leftie 18.1

      +1 Ross.

    • Colonial Viper 18.2

      Helen Clark got two cracks at the top job. Today’s Labour Party will grant no one more than a single chance.

      • Cricklewood 18.2.1

        I see what you did there…
        Very good

      • Leftie 18.2.2

        True of the leaders since Helen Clark up to Andrew Little, who has achieved what others couldn’t. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Labour gave Andrew Little another shot at it, but then again, Andrew Little may not need it.

  19. Colonial Viper 19

    Also the NZ First vote and the Greens vote in both the UMR and CB polls are VERY close (11%/11% and 14%/13% respectively).

    Those numbers are basically on top of each other.

    The major difference comes in the LAB / NAT balance. For Labour 31% vs 26%. The results overlap somewhat when you take into account the margin of error of the two polls.

    And its especially noticeable for National 40% vs 48%. These are two distinctly different results, and an inexplicably large diifference.

    • Nic the NZer 19.1

      There is certainly a significant gap between the CB and UMR polls.

      Anyway, I think to say that the UMR poll results should be kept secret I think is a little simplistic. It probably helps National to have biased but positive poll results running in the media because it creates good news stories for them. If that is not challenged in some way then the influence of that is in no way diminished, which is what Little is trying to achieve by releasing it to the public. Maybe its overly positive, or marks quite a good result for Labour even by UMR standards (by coincidence). This is however an attempt at changing the media narrative from the continuous negative stories about the opposition.

      Its certainly an interesting question how useful the poll results can be. We have seen some striking examples overseas where the polls were drastically far away from the outcomes of elections (Australia being a recent example) and I suspect similar things are likely to be happening across many countries.

    • Chuck 19.2

      “And its especially noticeable for National 40% vs 48%. These are two distinctly different results, and an inexplicably large diifference.”

      Even Andrew Little does not believe his UMR poll result for National.

      And without the methodology used by UMR for a Labour party commissioned internal poll, its difficult to take seriously.

      Watch this space…Little will be swamped every time a new poll comes out and has Labour in the twenties. The MSM will be jumping all over him to continue to release Labour party commissioned UMR polls…the cat is out of the bag. Dumb move by Little.

  20. NZJester 20

    Some of these pollsters still rely on landline phones to make contact and in this day and age that can be very problematic.
    While a lot of rich people still tend to have landlines or some small businesses even have landline numbers redirect to cellphones, that is not the case for a lot of poorer households.
    Most these days are dropping landline phone and instead use a prepay cell phone to cut costs. As a result any poll that relies more on a landline call will tend to more heavily favor National. Those less well off tend to also work longer hours and so are also harder to contact or are to tired to answer questions from those running the polls at the times they tend to call people. That also works out in helping skew polls in Nationals favor. Also with the large growing amont of homeless in Auckland not very reachable by the poll companies, there is a growing homeless voice not showing up in those poll results either!

    • Lanthanide 20.1

      The poor, who work longer hours, also vote less.

      Polls try to balance their demographic for likely voters, so these two factors will offset each other to some degree (I make no speculation as to what extent, however).

  21. Muttonbird 21

    Government supporters on this thread seem a little worried. They are never as active and anxious as they are at polling time.

  22. Observer Tokoroa 22


    . It may well be that National will be elected again for a fourth term.

    This because, the Western world fell hook line and sinker for the Wall Street “greed is good” mantra. They did this at the request of Thatcher, Greenslade, Reagan and Rand.

    The voters will be awaiting their glorious wealth from Farrar, Slater, Bill and Johnny. Not forgetting Paula.

    And the signs are good. Already the houses are $million personal assests. No work involved just the greed of the market blindly rewarding the big greed.

    At the same time, Chuck reports that Auckland has gone to town to celebrate the prospect of real super city wealth. Celebrating the fact that not one of the revelers will be able to afford a house. Likely as not they will not be able afford their Rent. Chuck another beer Chuck. Yippee.

    So Labour is not in fashion. Labour knows that all wealth finds it way into the grasping hands of the few. The rest can go stuff itself. But what amazes me is that so many writers on here slag off at Labour. As if the Greens can form a Government by themselves.

    That leaves Farrar, Slater, Bill, Johnny, Paula and Chuck to run the place. Yuck

    • Richard Rawshark 22.1

      I feel it’s all a deliberate strategy, as long as house prices rise, he’s safe. With the power of a government you could run a strategy to keep that going for quite a while.

      However as the US found sooner or latter something has to give when your balancing a knife on it’s edge.

      When you have the powers of a government, a scam, a false economy, well you could create a lot of things like rocketing house prices..

      Key the scammer.

  23. whispering kate 23

    It is widely agreed that the Government is only as good as the PM being head of it, without him they are nothing. These polls they release are not realistic, no Government which has made such a tosspot of a mess with legislation and their bungling and change-about with ideas they throw about are just exposing a lack of discipline and expertise.

    We forget that the flag debate was a big disappointment to the PM, the mandate of the people was a decided no bigtime to his flag design and a kick in the butt for him. The Government lost Northland because they neglect the regions and are still doing so. People I meet from all walks of life are fed up with the corruption and bribery that goes on with Gov. contracts etc and are finally becoming sickened by what they have to put up. Hell this Government is now making news on the overseas TV and newspapers and it is not good news, none of it.

    The polls are rigged, its obvious, terrible to say it but we as a people are not stupid people and its an embarrassment when we have to hear the results of these polls which are not realistic and patently absurd. Andrew Little is doing okay and at least he doesn’t lie all the time – how disgusting is that – and he doesn’t have dead eyes which gives one the creeps.

    When the trolls are active it means they are worried, nothing more, nothing less.

    • Colonial Viper 23.1

      Do you think that Labour is clearly on track to get over 30% in the election next year?

      I think they could, if they were to offer a distinctive alternative to National’s neoliberal based orthodox monetary free market prioritising economic framework.

      But in all likelihood they won’t, instead they will play it safe and hug close as possible to the comfortable middle classes, so 25% +/-3% it is.

    • Hanswurst 23.2

      These polls they release are not realistic, no Government which has made such a tosspot of a mess with legislation and their bungling and change-about with ideas they throw about are just exposing a lack of discipline and expertise.

      Unfortunately, the above has been true of this government (and its PM) ever since it came to power – from the cycleway to the earthquake legislation to Warner Bros. to the convention centre to Key’s robotic and unconvincing responses to the GCSB and dirty politics; still, they have kept getting returned to power. That the government is a pungent mixture of incompetence and cynical wealth-grabbing, and the prime minister manifestly a dickhead, does not guarantee that they will be voted out.

  24. Observer Tokoroa 24

    . Hi CV

    . I do not think that the voters are moved or unmoved by “NeoLiberalism”. Informed people such as yourself are very moved by it.

    The Voter has been trained from the late ’70s to expect personal wealth by the Thousands. Anything which does not promise amazing wealth is of no interest to the present day Voter.

    Anyone who suggests that wealth is not the be all and the end all is seen as a RADICAL.

    People who do not have wealth are written off as useless bums. Billy told them that recently. Key recently has told them they are worthless.

    It will take a long time for rank greed to wash out of the voting public. It’s like taking a lollipop out of a child’s mouth.

    It all depends whether enough people get sick and tired of being disadvantged; slagged off; underpaid and over used.

    . The younger people now know they will never afford a house (low wages see to that). The same people are learning that the great part of their wage goes to greedy landlords. Gotta try and save some money for heating and food.

    While the wealthy slander them as useless.

    • Colonial Viper 24.1

      The people are indeed moved by neoliberalism. That’s because even though they do not often call it by that name they know full well its evil force because they and their children have to fight its malign influence on their lives every day.

      The reason however that they are not moved by neoliberalism to either National or Labour is because both of them serve it equally and they have seen that with their own eyes over many many years.

      . The younger people now know they will never afford a house (low wages see to that).

      But Labour has sincerely promised these aspiring young first home owners “affordable” $500,000 and $600,000 homes in a few years time.

      See what I mean?

  25. Dale 25

    No matter what we do or what we say the polls won’t change.

  26. peterlepaysan 26

    Underlying any general election is voter turnout.
    This has been on a very steady decline over many elections.

    This has been, apart from the Clark years, to National’s benefit which has spun off those years quite nicely, thank you.

    The marginalised non participating electorate need to be engaged.
    Have any polls been done relying on social media?

    Polls interest bloggers and their followers.

    There is unrest out here among the disengaged but connected.
    Polls do not connect with them.

    Jim Bolger had it right. “Bugger the polls”.

  27. adam 27

    So if this is happening in the USA, then what is actually happening here? Oh wait, we have no free independent media who will ask that question….

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      the Pesidential Debates Commission is a private sector rort with a public sector sounding name, set up between the Republocrats so no third party will ever get a look in.

      • Richard Rawshark 27.1.1

        There’s a lot of that in the US from both sides mate.

        Now it’s here, thanks to Johnny boy.

        Democracy has changed radically in NZ from my youth. inch by inch they have whittled it away until no one can be bothered and respect is a fading word.

        It’s become a career, not a service.

        Treasonous scumbags.

    • ianmac 27.2

      If Stein had a voice in Presidential Debates, maybe the disaffected might say she has the answers to our concerns. Lets vote for her!
      Hasn’t one of our female Mayoral Auckland candidates been blocked from getting a voice becaiuse she is too small?

    • Phil 27.3

      This guy is a great comic…. pity he’s terrible at analysis.

      1) the difference between the Gallup 42% and the Fox News 17% figures for independent voters (1:15) is simply voter enthusiasm. People who identify as independent are significantly less likely to vote, so the ‘weight’ given to independents in poll results is dialed back to historical norms of the relative mix of actual voters.

      2) the N/A’s in CNN’s poll (3:00) for young voters is not because they didn’t poll young people. They did. It’s just that the number of young likely voters is low (and always has been) and the margin of error for a low number of voters is simply too large to reliably publish, so the results are replaced with N/A.

      3) His critique of poll question phrasing is twisted. He’s basically conflating candidate favorability with voting intention. It really doesn’t matter whether or not you like Donald, or Hillary or whoever (as is evident today!). The only thing that matters for polling is “who would you actually cast your vote for” because that’s what matters for determining elections.

    • Leftie 27.4

      +1’s Adam.

  28. Observer Tokoroa 28

    . Hi CV

    . A house at $500,000 is not affordable. I see exactly what you mean. But it would be affordable if Labour agreed to be the major Partner in the house and subsidised the cost by 90%.

    . It would keep a lid on the Rental costs too.

    . The money could be obtained from TAX AVOIDERS and other wealthy bludgers.

    . I also believe that Labour must return Land to the community. So the cost of land ceases to be a factor in housing.

    . If Labour does not return it – at least Government must Lease it on a 99 year plan.

    Land, like Water, Ocean, Rivers, Air, Electric Power, Education, and Health Services – does not of its nature belong to anyone. But to each of us.

  29. Disturbed 29

    “This is unlike some of the other polls recently reported. For instance in the latest three Roy Morgan polls National dropped 2.5%, surged 10%, then dropped 7%. And the Greens went down 2.5%, up 3% and down 3%.”

    YES COLMAN BRUNSTON is rigged by interested parties, and could actually be hacked as the experts in the US claim “any such wild swing of 10-% or more can be regarded as a rigged or hacked poll result.”

    Using algorithms’ a hacker may easily change any poll result if they can steal the “source code key” and some cases have been found that people sell them for financial rewards.

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