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Trends good for Left, much work to do

Written By: - Date published: 7:25 am, February 21st, 2011 - 80 comments
Categories: election 2011, polls - Tags: , ,

It can be depressing to see a week of the government on the ropes and then see polls showing National with an apparently commanding lead. But lets go beyond the shallow analysis offered by the talking heads (‘National’s still well ahead of Labour, nothing to see here’) and look at the trends. They tell a story of a government well past its peak. The question is: can the Left close the remaining gap in time?

The TV1 and TV3 polls are pretty useless because they’re so infrequent that you can’t look at movements month by month and you can’t know if a given poll is an odd-ball out of line with the trends but they both show the same thing as the Roy Morgans – that National/ACT’s support peaked in September/October 2009 and has fallen since. For this graph, I’ve added New Zealand First into the ‘Left’ with Labour and the Greens because it’s clear he can work with them and not with National, and it’s pretty likely they’ll get up over 5% in the end.

So, significant falls for the Right and rises for the Left in the past year and a bit. Note the decline in ‘other’, too. That’s the Maori Party and United Future, which is not even registering now. Now, let’s just look at the gap between the two potential governing blocs.

According to all three polls, the gap has more than halved since Sept/Oct 09 – the only difference being how big the gap was in the first place and how much remains. If we were to project these trends to November, the Left could be well ahead of the Right or within about 5% – striking distance.

This is why waiting until November was such a huge mistake. Support will ebb away due to the failing economy, oil prices, public service cuts, asset sales, and the edges coming off Brand Key (he lost 10% of his support as preferred PM in three months according to both the TV1 and TV3 polls). The longer until the election, the more chance Key has of losing.

Key’s best chance remains having 4% or so of the anti-National vote wasted on NZF. That was the reason for Key ruling out working with Winston. He was hoping to break NZF’s resurgence. It seems he failed. In fact, he seems to have galvanised NZF support.

Things are trending the right way for the Left but the rest of the gap won’t close by itself. Its up to the Left, not just the party hierarchies, you and me as well, to make the case for switching from National to a Left party (back to a Left party, for most of the target voters). We need to get something between 2% and 6.5% of voters to move away from National. Labour, the Greens, and NZF will all be making strong cases against cuts and privatisation. These are the two topics they would all be well advised to focus on because clear majorities of voters support their positions.

Now, Rob Salmond decided to have a go at me over my poll posts the other day. I didn’t get to the end of his 2000-odd word treatise but the point was that one shouldn’t try to extrapolate from past polling trends because long-term trends don’t exist. David Farrar linked to the post and said exactly the opposite thing – you can’t draw conclusions from short-term trends. (Trevor Mallard also linked to it, but I couldn’t ascertain his point).

Both Salmond and Farrar are right and they’re both wrong. There clearly are multi-year trends in polls. Typically, a party’s popularity will rise over several years until it gains power, then it will peak in popularity a year or two later and begin a gradual descent – think Labour from the mid-90s through the 2000s, or National’s rise mirroring Labour’s decline from 2002 to 2009, when National’s support peaked. I believe there’s little parties can do about these tides except affect how quickly they go in or out. My projections are simply indicators of where the trends are heading. They are not intended to be predictions of actual numbers. I would note that the Roy Morgans are trending in line with the trend lines I drew months ago.

Of course, during election campaigns, support levels can change rapidly and unpredictably but they change from the levels that the parties go into the campaign with. They can also change rapidly in response to unpopular government policies even when the Opposition is weak – look at Kevin Rudd’s downfall after he announced the mining tax and look at how support for the Conservatives and Lib Dems has plummeted in the UK because of their austerity measures.

Key, so far, has avoided unpopular policies but the cuts are coming and so are asset sales. Both the trend and the campaign ought to come out against the Right this year. When you look beyond the simplistic question ‘is National ahead of Labour?’ to the reality of changing voter preferences between the potential governments, it’s clear that this is going to come down to the wire.

PS. Just saw Farrar’s post on the polls: “Many on the left claimed that [the asset sales policy] would reverse the lead in the polls.” No-one claimed that the lead would flip overnight. We’ve said privatisation will narrow the gap and the gap is narrowing.

80 comments on “Trends good for Left, much work to do ”

  1. What I would like to know is why did TVNZ and TV3 come out with polls on the same day? And why did Roy Morgan delay the announcement of its regular poll?

    The timing was poor. The Government had a shocker last week (beneficiaries and bad choices and BMWs) and it is a shame that the polling did not occur this week.

    • Marty G 1.1

      yeah. the TV1 and TV3 polls were completed over a week ago which means they were largely conducted before the asset sales issue really blew up on National and completely before the limo/poor budgeting stories.

      But, to be fair, it does take time to crunch the numbers and apply the ‘witches’ brew’ of re-weightings that are needed to make sure a poll’s sample reflects the general population’s demographic make-up. Each polling company has its own, secret, formulas for these re-weightings.

      The Roy Morgan is twice a month. To keep it that way, every so often there’s a three-week, rather than two-week, gap. It’ll be out this Thursday probably.

    • Salsy 1.2

      Is the Roy Morgan out? I still cant find it and the last one was feb 4

  2. Alistair 2

    A very good read.

    Whatever your view on Peters may be he knows how to write a speech that attracts attention, raise emotions, and gain votes. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1102/S00190/speech-peters-public-meeting-kelston-community-hall.htm

    Leave it to him to deal with asset sales and close the polling gap.

    • patriot_nz 2.1

      I read Winston’s speech yesterday and was impressed with it. I agree with him- this is the last chance to save New Zealand as a sovereign nation.

      And as for those polls- I despair. This feels like the 90’s. It took a whole decade to get rid of the neolibs last time- we just don’t have that sort of time and it is almost too late now anyway. People are starting to agitate on the net about National, but maybe those voices are people who would voted left anyway.

      New Zealand is an unusual place in that the most able people leave- some 25% of them. I do seriously wonder if the intelligence bell curve has been pushed way to the left in New Zealand and we have a population that cannot see cause and effect. Either that or that vicious streak that runs through the people here means that half of the population simply don’t care about anyone or anything.

      • Marty G 2.1.1

        “This feels like the 90′s”

        If we had had MMP in 1993 then a Labour-Alliance government would have formed 53% of the vote. And in 1996 everyone expected NZF to go with Labour when they voted for Winston.

        Remember, the people of this country have been smart enough to vote for Labour-led governments every time except twice from 1978 to now. FPP defeated us three times – 78, 81, 93 – Winston’s betrayal got us in 96, and Brand Key got us in 2008. I think it’s unfair and too easy to say the people are too dumb to vote what’s best for them.

        • Anthony C 2.1.1.1

          I wouldn’t say dumb, but a large percentage of the middle vote only break their apathy once they start to get hit hard (or their kids get hit). By then, just like the 90’s the damage is done.

          I’d suggest a lot of these people are busy, don’t have time to engage fully and just have MSM snippets to guide their decisions.

          Also seems to be a national surge of anti-intellectualism at them moment…

        • patriot_nz 2.1.1.2

          Marty- yes- I hear what you are saying about the FPP voting system and how it cost the left in the 90’s. But in spite of having MMP now it feels like it is going to be just as difficult to get rid of the neolibs as it was in the 90’s. And more people cared back then about fairness and egalitarianism.

          I do think seeing cause and effect is a problem in general in politics. The rise of the Tea party in the USA seems to me to be a prime example. Screwed over by the right for decades, some people’s response is to go further to the right in their anger. They just don’t seem to realise the right outsourced their jobs years and years ago and have stopped them from getting healthcare etc. And the left has totally failed the people as well whenever they got the chance to take power over those decades.

          I think NZ might be a different place if it wasn’t for Australia mopping up our thinkers, movers and shakers. People leave instead of agitating for change.

  3. Carol 3

    Marty:

    Its up to the Left, not just the party hierarchies, you and me as well, to make the case for switching from National to a Left party (back to a Left party, for most of the target voters).

    Yes, I was thinking this morning that we need a grassroots, groundswell to show the left parties the way we want to go. We could do with a widely publicised (posters, word-of-mouth, blogs, etc), nation-wide, day of demonstrations, of the “NZ is not forsale” kind.

    • Alistair 3.1

      Winston, Phil, Russell, Hone leading a “NZ Not For Sale” march. Is this the main issue that unifies the Left?

    • neoleftie 3.2

      sounds like a fine plan – we’ll call it the ‘long march’ but seriously apart from a jaded local party organisation and a party elite labour is lacking in an organisation
      the devolpment of long term imbedded ‘cells’ is one option or ‘tea parties’ or even plunket to stimulate and modify understanding and expand the base support for the ‘catch all party’.

      • Colonial Viper 3.2.1

        I think all these ideas and more need to be considered. There have to be new ways and new formats of getting people involved in the Labour Party.

        Too many Labour meetings I’ve attended would put the living dead back to sleep. Of course there have also been a few doozies 😀

        • neoleftie 3.2.1.1

          well both my electorates over the years have had Labour cabinet ministers as MP’s so the level of feedback has been interesting over the years and my highschool umm ‘political discussion group’ had the future labour leader as an active participant. kinda molded from a young age to realising the truths about inequality i guess

        • Jum 3.2.1.2

          Colonial Viper
          Trouble is, these people working in the background, get little cabinet/party support when they try to fundraise – a high profile Labour MP rolling his or her sleeves up would be really useful. They need to get their faces out there actually meeting the people who raise their money for them. Money is tight. A garage sale by a Labour group is on in Papakura this Saturday, according to an ad I saw. Who is going to be there to support that? Those are where you meet the people, not at some ra ra event where the people are going to vote for Labour anyway.

          Money is tight for the real people of NZ and these fundraisers are pulling the stops out to dream up new ways of making money for Labour to fight the election. They’re doing it because they know this year will save New Zealand if Labour gets in or Americanize New Zealand if Key gets in with his automatic mandate to sell. (Notice I said Labour and Key; there is multi talent in Labour in Parliament but only Key in National).

          Some actors that are agin the TPPA could take part.

          Anyone can paint a board ‘NZ Not For Sale’ or ‘Vote for Key is a Mandate to Sell out NZers’.

  4. Zaphod Beeblebrox 4

    If National are only sitting at 52 or 53% at present, they are in trouble. Its unlikely they would regain lost voters at this stage. When you see they way the news cycle turns like it has over the past few weeks- its only a matter of time before the polls turn. Have a look at how things turned against Labor in the federal and Victorian elections last year the longer campaigning went on.

    Given the way food and fuel prices are going this year- the cost of living argument is going to be a killer for Key. No amount of demonising welfare recipients and public servants is going to hide that.

  5. nadis 5

    so you are saying you can create a trend from two points?

    go on, calculate the confidence interval around the null hypothesis you are making……… that would be enlightening. When doing statistical analysis you can not wish away inconvenient data and when you do extrapolate, the confidence you have around your forecast is more than slightly dependent on the amount of data you use. If you handed in this analysis in a stage one stats paper to me I would send it back with an F.

    However, do i believe anecdotally that the gap is closing- yes it always will in in an election year. The sad reality though for labour is that the left could scratch out a win if it had a leader who resonated even slightly with wider population (not sure who that is – personally I could identify with a Grant Robertson leader/Shane Jones deputy team. Grant at least looks like a technocrat rather than an idealogue.) The mistakes National have been making lately are as significant as any of the last term cock ups under Clarke. My prediction is the election will be very close but Nats will govern mostly alone, and Labour will kick themselves senseless as they realise how close they got with a fifth choice leader (hey at least he is more preferred than Helen now!) and a timid front bench of time servers designed by factional tradeoffs.

    You know, the ultimate nightmare for Labour will be when Winston starts polling higher than Goff as preferred prime minister (hint: Labour strategists, devise a strategy to deal with this). This will be comedy gold, I can already see the fun Key, the media and bloggers will have with that. There’s hours of stand up comedy embedded in that idea.

  6. handle 6

    You don’t foresee a problem getting Winston to agree to work with the Greens given his past history?

    • Lanthanide 6.1

      Depends how much he wants to stop the Nats, doesn’t it?

    • Bright Red 6.2

      NZF supported the ETS and he’s on the same page when it comes to economic sovereignty/asset sales.

      that’s a difference between the conservative right like Winston and the neoliberals who now dominate national. He believes in state interventionist economices and economic sovereignty – the neoliberals don’t. Winston left National over their neoliberal reforms.

      Economically, Winston now closer to the Left than the Right. It’s on the social front that he is conservative and the Left would be well advised to concentrate on economic rather than social issues anyway in the sixth Labour-led government.

      • Colonial Viper 6.2.1

        It’s on the social front that he is conservative and the Left would be well advised to concentrate on economic rather than social issues anyway in the sixth Labour-led government.

        Its probably what Labour should have done anyway in its last term (focus far more on economic reforms), but they seemed much less energised by then.

        There is a good interface between the social front and the economic front – 5 weeks annual leave, 20 weeks paid parental leave, etc. I don’t think that Peters will have any issues supporting initiatives in that vein, and they are excellent ones for building community cohesion and supporting individual health.

      • handle 6.2.2

        If Winston’s position is close to the Greens, why did he refuse to be in government with them?

        • Blighty 6.2.2.1

          times were different. he was in a position to extract more leverage by keeping the greens out. and the greens are different now too

          • Lanthanide 6.2.2.1.1

            Yes, if the votes had come out different, such that Labour could have easily chosen Labour + Green + X, with National needing National + X + Y + Z, then either Dunne or Winston probably would’ve sucked it up and gone with the Greens. But that’s not how the calculus played out.

  7. You might like to consider the size of the Parliamentary blocks, instead of the overall percentages. If NZF goes from 2% to 4% then the left goes up under your analysis, but that could actually be worse for it.

    • Lanthanide 7.1

      If you read the text, he says that:
      1. He is assuming NZFirst gets over 5%
      2. National’s best chance is if NZFirst sits around 4% and doesn’t meet the threshold.

  8. Afewknowthetruth 8

    I still cannot figire out why so many people are so enthusiastic to replace one set of liars and clowns with another set of liars and clowns.

    I suppose it’s just that people are ingnorant of the facts and too thick to see that politics is just a game played out at the kindergarten level -all of it designed to make the proles think their vote is worth something.

    Historic economic and social arrangements are in the process of collapsing globally right now. The ship’s going down and it will make no difference which bunch of clowns [that constitute governments and pretend to know what they are doing] is in power.

    I suppose ordinary people will start to get it when fuel is $3 a litre and they can’t afford what’s on the supermarket shelves, or when the supermarket shelves are empty.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      If you think governments, and their response to impending crisis, are 100% interchangeable with no difference between them, then you’re in denial.

      Now, is Labour likely to handle peak oil better than National? On balance it looks like ‘no’, but there’s much more room for Labour to manoeuvre – they certainly seem more interested in helping those worst-off in society, a demographic that is likely to increase dramatically should certain peak oil scenarios eventuate.

      I think out of anyone in parliament the Greens are likely to handle peak oil better than anyone else (see their insistence on public transport and biking). Does that mean they’re going to be a magic bullet and solve all our problems with a snap of their fingers? Of course not.

      As far as basic necessities of life go, NZ has all the ingredients to provide for it’s population without anyone suffering – most developed countries actually do. The question is whether we choose to organise ourselves economically and socially to do so. Such choices may seem unthinkable at the moment, but things can change very very rapidly when the public at large get serious about it – just look at Egypt.

      Because we have a choice coming up later this year, surely it’s better to choose the team that you think will do the most good in the situation, even if they fall far far short of what you think is necessary to solve the problem.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        Now, is Labour likely to handle peak oil better than National? On balance it looks like ‘no’, but there’s much more room for Labour to manoeuvre

        LAB are far friendlier to public transport, farm waste sourced biofuels, home energy efficiency measures, policies which build localised community and industrial capabilities than National.

        Is it enough, hell no. But its a far better starting point than you’ll get with Bill and John.

      • Afewknowthetruth 8.1.2

        The last Labour Government was given mountains of information on peak oil (from 2001 onwards by the way, a time when some mitigation would have been possible) and they chose to completely ignore all of it and carry on as thoiugh energy supply was of no imporatnce whatsoever..

        Don’t forget it was that clown Cullen who invested billion of our dollars in international market that were about to plunge, and so lost billions of our money. And right now there is a new speculative bubble forming

        I can assure you I have numerous letters from Labour Ministers and MPs over the years that all clearly demonstrate they are all f**wits.

        In case you did not know. peak oil was between 2005 and 2008. We are on the way down right now and it is not even on the agenda for discussion. Nor will it be.

        If you have such confidence in Labour I suggest you write to Phil Goff and ask what his strategy for dealing with Peak OIl is. I 100% guarantee you will get back a fob-off letter that is already in the PC, one that blathers on about NZ being given advice by the IEA (which admitted it was wrong about PO in Novermber 2010 by the way: you don’t see that in the headlines.) , and nonsense about the Energy Conservation Authroity, biofuels and other drivel. The vast majority of policians are only capapable of churning out drivel because drivel corresponds to thier intelligence level. Oh, and don’t forget we are going to set up new free trade deals … as per Helen Clark’s sabotage the NZ economy strategy.

        As for the Green Party. what a joke they are. They sat on Peak Oil information for 6 years and did nothing, then came out with idiotic strategies based on biofuels, which we all know are technically flawed from the outset and are in many respects worse than using oil. And the Grens came out even more idiotic strategies, like promoting tourism as a ‘sustanable growth industry’. Sorry mate, the Greens are saboteurs and f**wits, just like the rest.

        ‘even if they fall far far short of what you think is necessary to solve the problem.’

        The time for solutions was the last time Labour were in power. It’s too late now. I’d be surprised if present economic arrangements last until election day. Breat oil is now over $100, a level which causes the world economy to implode.

        As I have said many times. most people are totally ignorant of the facts and just don’t get it. They are unreachable and are basically self-selecting for destitution.

        • Lanthanide 8.1.2.1

          So because, during 2001 to 2008, when there was incontrovertible proof that peak oil was happening the Labour government refused to do anything, you are assuming that in the coming years when there (presumably) will be incontrovertible proof that Labour will still choose not to do anything?

          Yes, it would’ve been nice if Labour had done something during that time. But what do you honestly expect – if they’d started making realistic changes in 2001, they would’ve lost the 2002 election and we would’ve had TAX CUTS!! under a national government anyway. I think you should be blaming the system in equal parts to how you blame Labour – they can only work within the social, economic and political framework set up in this country, a framework that is completely incapable of dealing with peak oil and climate change sort of problems. The general public are mindless sheep and won’t wake up to peak oil until it is screaming at them in the face, by which point it will of course be too late.

          That, of course, is all history. Given that our system is giving us a choice later this year, would you rather choose to go with the party that has a slim hope of doing something meaningful to address the situation, or would you rather choose the party that is almost certain to stall for time and make things worse through inaction?

          • Lanthanide 8.1.2.1.1

            Sorry, that first sentence should say:
            “when there was NO incontrovertible proof that peak oil was happening ”

            That is, while many people were raising the peak oil problem with Labour, there wasn’t any proof you could look at, beyond reasonable doubt, and say “this proves it”.

            • Draco T Bastard 8.1.2.1.1.1

              There was plenty of evidence around to say that Peak Oil would happen in that decade. It’s been around since the 1960s. No proof because the proof would only be available after Peak Oil. Labour failed to do anything with the data that had been building up over 40+ years and they still look like they aren’t going to do anything. They really need to come out and say that they are planning for the decline in oil availability.

              • Lanthanide

                Hubbert originally predicted oil would peak in 1995. He was sorely wrong from two major factors: hugely reduction in use during the 70’s and early 80’s, but he was also wildly off in terms of total production.

                That’s the problem with predicting something as massively fundamental as oil production and consumption: there are many many people all over the world doing everything they can to improve the oil flow, as well as other people simultaneously making oil use more efficient or trying to replace it with other fuels (no oil-fuelled power plants any more, they all use coal because it’s more cost effective).

                Even if it turns out that we did peak between 2005 and 2008 (and there’s still a chance we could exceed those levels), that particular peaking hasn’t made a huge difference to how we’re living at the moment, and it may not for some years yet. Perhaps ‘peak oil’ isn’t as much a problem as ‘peak plateau oil’, and as long as you realise you’re on a plateau before you fall off, reasonable mitigation can be undertaken.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  He may have been out by a bit but his theory was proven when US hit their local Peak Oil in 1971. We should have started planning for Peak Oil then or, even better, limiting oil use and that was 40 years ago. There really is no excuse for heading into oil decline unprepared.

            • Afewknowthetruth 8.1.2.1.1.2

              If you know anything about government and risk management you will know that governemnt pours millions of dollars into evaluating risks that have a close to zero probability …. volcanic eruptions with a 1 in 500 or less chance of occruing etc. The government puts zero money into evaluating peak oil, which has a 100% certainty. In that sense they are all completely insane. It’s the same for abrupt cliamte change, which is a bigger risk that peak oil and gets zero attention.

              I undestand why all this lunacy continues: everything is driven MED and the insane rantings of economists, who, amongst other things believe in perpetual growth on a finite planet. If thaty’s not insantiy, what is?

              When you are dealing with a life-threatening situation, which peak oil is, you look for the best evidence. Contrary to what you say, there was incontrovertible evidence peak oil would occur before 2020 and it was nearly a certainty it would occur before 2010. Oil extraction data from 1998 onwards indicated we were closing in on the bumpy plateuau. (Now we about to fall off it).

              As anyone who has studied the topic knows, the Hirch Report to the US government highlighted he fact that any society would need 20 years to transition, i.e. even if peak oil were as far out as 2020, preparations needed to have commenced around the year 2000.

              If you study the topic you will note that the first warming was given loud and clear in 1956 and by 1971, when the US peaked and went into decline (just as Hubbert had prediceted it would) it was obvious to anyone with a brain that the world was in deep trouble.

              If you are looking for solutions, do not look ot any of the current crop of polical hacks They only know the politics of failure.

              The part I don’t get: why people think they have to choose between one bunch of idiots and saboteurs and another bunch of idiots and saboteurs. instead \of looking outside the box. I guess it’s just blind faith.

              Brent oil is nearly $103: the next round of collapse will be underway soon.

              • Colonial Viper

                If you are looking for solutions, do not look ot any of the current crop of polical hacks They only know the politics of failure.

                Are you trying to be a fraking idiot? There are two little things in the way of change happening the way I believe you would like to see it happening.

                1) Our highly fiscalised, globalised interest bearing debt based capitalist economy. Which demands growth growth growth, even if it kills all of us in the process.

                2) Our interlocking system of inefficient, slow representative democracy, moneyed capitalist interest groups and disengaged ill-informed short-termism voters.

                Trying to look for a hero politician or huddle of hero politicians is useless because unless you deal with the above you will always get similar results. Different monkeys playing out variations on the same tune on the same grinder. And you appear (to me anyway) to have no ideas with how to deal with the above.

                So stop complaining and come up with something useful 😀

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.3

        As far as basic necessities of life go, NZ has all the ingredients to provide for it’s population without anyone suffering – most developed countries actually do. The question is whether we choose to organise ourselves economically and socially to do so.

        Although I agree with what you say how you say it is part of the problem. Portraying it as a choice, as you do here, makes people think that we have such a choice between continuing as we are or becoming self-sufficient within renewable limits. It’s not a choice that we have – we must become self-sufficient.

        • Lanthanide 8.1.3.1

          It’s still a choice. Choosing wrongly just has extremely disastrous results.

          • Colonial Viper 8.1.3.1.1

            Well its arguable that western civilisation has been choosing wrongly since the Club of Rome. That’s a hell long time.

            Afewknowthetruth makes good points but at the end of the day appears to have no solutions which will work in a democracy.

            Yell and scream all you like, society is not going to make dramatic changes impacting individual lifestyle until people really get it or are forced to. Think about it. Shower heads were a bridge too far politically for Labour to implement. Try for car-less days, bans on the use of imported consumer products, and restrictions on investing in equity markets and see how long any NZ government lasts.

            The only answers available now exist at the individual and highly localised levels.

            • Lanthanide 8.1.3.1.1.1

              Choosing wrongly has been profitable. So far. It has also broadly improved the living conditions of the majority of the population.

              • Colonial Viper

                No denying that 🙂

                Well, profitable for the few, onerous for the many, but they don’t matter 🙂

                • neoleftie

                  in a historical sense, even comparing the last few hundred years, the average worker is far far better off in our time. lets see at a base level most people have a car or access to transport, most if not all have access to a means to improve there lot in life, washing machine, oven, health care etc etc all basic everyday things that everyone in our society has access to and has improved there life. show me anyone even a street person who doesnt have access to a clean running water to bath in…we seem to forget the freedom that we have in our time. We have the freedom to even rant and rage online using the most modern of technology.
                  I even agree with Key – people have opportunity all around them, they have to seize it.
                  Here in this discussion the opportunity should be base arounf the opportunity to engage in the right to vote and learn. grow and engage in what effects there community.

            • Draco T Bastard 8.1.3.1.1.2

              Part of that is because the facts are hidden behind spin and BS. If people had reliable information proving that our present lifestyle cannot be maintained then it’s possible that people would choose better. Unfortunately, the political right always comes out saying that people can have everything they want for nothing.

              • Lanthanide

                The right aren’t the only ones who promise that people can have everything they want. Although I would suggest that the left are forced into doing it or they wouldn’t get elected. Greed, basically.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  We certainly need admission from the politicians of all stripes that we live in a limited world. The Greens seem to get this, Labour I’m not too sure about and National/Act actively deny it. The active denial from the right is what forces the left to cater too the greed as well.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    A lot of Labour Party members know that an exponential path of infinite growth is impossible given the finite resources of a limited physical planet. Whether or not caucus gets it, dunno.

                    • neoleftie

                      i think the labour caucus realises a few things but are ‘locked in’ to certain global pathways that dictate system changes

  9. dave 9

    So how does that change things if the Maori Party were put on the Right and NZF doesnot get 5%…. Because that1ll be more accurate.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Although I can’t see why your scenario – which is certainly one distinct possibility – can be called “more accurate”

  10. Rob 10

    It would be nice if those trends continued. The left has a lot to do though trying to make sure that those issues do not die out in the public’s mind before the election.

  11. Rob Salmond 11

    Marty,

    You said: “Rob Salmond decided to have a go at me over my poll posts the other day… [his] point was that one shouldn’t try to extrapolate from past polling trends because long-term trends don’t exist.”

    That was not my point at all. Long term trends undoubtedly exist. Instead, I said that the shape of long term trends are hard to predict, and are not usually linear for more than a few months. That makes year-long linear projections beyond your data of the type you have been publishing really problematic.

    Marty, much of your writing here on The Standard is very, very good. I just think you are overblowing this analysis a bit.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Quite true that looking at a small flat part of a larger exponential curve and assuming the rest was linear could easily lead to forecast error.

    • Lanthanide 11.2

      But it’s just a trend. The actual data points can still fluctuate around that trendline just as much as they already have in the past.

      Really what he’s saying, for example, is that the polls between Jan 2009 and Dec 2009 might show that National are at 55% support, +/- 5%. Between July 2011 and Nov 2011 we might predict that the polls will show National are at 45% +/- 5%. The trend is showing that the mid point has gone from 55% to 45%, but the individual polls will still bounce around. I don’t really see anything wrong with that.

      It also doesn’t mean Labour are guaranteed to win: the trend line could predict National at 45% +/- 5% and the left block at 45% +/- 5%, but if on election day we end up with Nats on 50% and left block on 40%, the trend line wasn’t wrong.

      The point, really, is to combat this live very prevalent in the media and the public that “National are so far out in front they won’t lose”, but when you actually examine what has been happening in the polls over time, we can predict that at some point the media will wake up with a surprise and say “hang on, Labour suddenly has a chance”. Except it won’t be a surprise to us at all.

      • neoleftie 11.2.1

        well another point could be that the ‘cant be bothered’, un-decided or switch voter might near election time see national ahead in the polls and come out in support of the left block due to the impacting issues on their individual lives and actual want their vote to count against the Tories.

        NB: I wonder if the Lab Strategy is slowly slowly hush hush, let the Nats hang themselves on public outcry over neo liberal policy formulation and then stick it to the Nats closer to the vote time…cant have the Lab message getting diluted or Tory / MSM negitive spin effecting traction with the voter.

  12. interesting 12

    Roy Morgan Poll Just in today:

    http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2011/4631/

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Didn’t think this would appear until the end of the week!

      LAB down, NZF down, NATs up. Right wing up, Left wing down. Not promising at all. Still doesn’t make sense that Roy Morgan reads a big drop in NZF support when the TVNZ and TV3 polls have him getting a nice blip up.

      LAB numbers remain dead in the water.

      • The Voice of Reason 12.1.1

        The sampling periods may not match, CV. The Roy Morgan is January 31 – February 13th. So the last week’s shenanigans don’t feature in the results.

    • lprent 12.2

      Pretty much statistical jitter numerically.

      The survey period of Jan 31st to Feb 13 means that there wasn’t much interesting stuff in the survey period. Key acting like a prat over food banks was on the 9th. The speech on cutting the front line public services to pay for tax cuts was on the 7th. Even the promise by National to privatize everything to pay for tax cuts was only a few days before the survey period on the Wednesday prior to the survey period and won’t be reflected strongly in the poll*. Everything prior to that was just holidays.

      Yawn and wait for the next one at the end of the month. But I bet that the movement within the statistical variation is going to be screamed up by the hysterics like DPF# and some of the other numerical idiots in the MSM….

      * You usually find that political reactions amongst voters happen no earlier than a fortnight after the event..
      # How he can run a statistically based business is beyond me. Hopefully he does employ someone who isn’t as numerically challenged as he is.

  13. interesting 13

    CV,

    Is it more that the ROy Morgan had NZF artificially high in its previous poll and this is just a rebalancing?

    It seems all three polls have Nats and Labs, and Greens at simmilar numbers.

    The other ones, UNF, ACT, MP seem to all be different in each poll.

    • lprent 13.1

      If you look at the bottom on the page where is has the section “Margin of Error” it gives you the variations you can expect (in a really annoying format).

      The total sample size was 924 so you’d expect that the sample sizes for each major party would be somewhere around 300-450 and those for the minor parties would be only tens of respondents. The margins of error in percentage terms for the main parties wind up as being pretty high (essentially anything below +/- 3% is probably statistical blipping unless it carries over several polls) and those of the minor parties are really jumpy for any single poll.

      The Morgan poll is the best available simply because it is taken about every 2 weeks and allows a series to be looked at for trend. You can’t rely on the absolute percentage figures because they relate to the sampling technique as much as anything else (like the basic flaw that they are land-line polls which over-samples conservatives). The biggest flaw in the Morgan polls is that they don’t have the would not say and undecided in them – which makes a lot of the pontificating on this poll this far out from the election somewhat moot.

      Really they’re useful for indicators of trend.

      • wtl 13.1.1

        In the above link: “Of all electors surveyed 7% (up 2.5%) did not name a party.”

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.2

        The biggest flaw in the Morgan polls is that they don’t have the would not say and undecided in them – which makes a lot of the pontificating on this poll this far out from the election somewhat moot.

        They must have that data, so I wonder why they don’t publish it?

        • lprent 13.1.2.1

          I have never found a good explanation for that. It would certainly make the polls more useful. So would giving some details about the demographic mangling they do. When I’m analyzing canvassing both of those factors are the most interesting. As are the distinct differences between the landline populations and those we have to door knock.

          • neoleftie 13.1.2.1.1

            here an insight i have experienced in my local labour organisation. No leaflets drops to the poorest area in years, no leaflet drops to affluent area even though half the household decider in those liberal household were women. Low telephone polling of poor cause they cannot afford a telephone or worked odd hours. Low engagement with the electorate to generate meaningful dialogue at the grass root level…no wonder the neo-libs are stronger as there whole way of life is expressed in connectiveness.

            • lprent 13.1.2.1.1.1

              Yeah, some of the organizations are a bit pathetic. Especially in capturing the data that they gain and holding it between elections. Or retaining a coherent block system. As well as using it for phamplets we also use it to target areas that we don’t get good phones for door knocking. Means that when we come to campaigning we can use our scarce volunteers as effectively as possible for turning voters out, and we know our electorate.

              I have done most of my electorate work in Mt Albert where I grew up and it is somewhat different.

              Helen was great t doing the community stuff as well. So is David.

              • neoleftie

                unfortunately whilst amazingly generous and caring people and from the deepest red and strongest labour electorates in the country and even the most organised, in the real world the whole structure is lacking…

    • The Voice of Reason 13.2

      For Winston, it reflects that he hasn’t been in the news much this month, therefore NZF drops back to its default position of 2.5%. One interesting fact about the left vote is that Labour has stayed above 30% for 8 months and the Greens have stayed at or above their election night result since 2008. Between them, they have only dipped below a combined 40% a couple of times. There is an stability there that can be built on.

      National, on the other hand, have clearly picked up ACT’s points. Rodney could be a very lonely boy even if the Nats gift him Epsom. Dunne may be a goner as well, but not because of this poll. He’s too small to really feature in the RM, but to win his seat this time round, he’ll probably need a nod and a wink from National too.

      • Colonial Viper 13.2.1

        Labour has got to depose Dunne. He has been hanging around for far too long. With him and Douglas both history, Parliament will be a greatly improved environment.

        • neoleftie 13.2.1.1

          the most amusing times at parliament was witnessing ‘king’ winnie showboat to the gallery. bring back winnie only to cut 2-3% off national

  14. Jan 14

    And in Gisborne the turning of the tide is already complete/
    anti-spam fortune 😉
    http://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/article/?id=21402

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      Go the NAT supporter who said we “can’t afford socialism” – but we can obviously afford tax cuts for the wealthy. Loser!

      • neoleftie 14.1.1

        tinkering with tax rate – yes but tax cuts – havent seen any theory and supporting proven data that suggest tax cuts during a recession leads to a positive outcome.

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