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TVNZ and Herald polls

Written By: - Date published: 8:35 am, November 4th, 2011 - 53 comments
Categories: election 2011, polls - Tags: , , ,

Two polls out yesterday. A ONE News Colmar Brunton:

  • National 56% (no change)
  • Labour 30% (up 1%)
  • The Greens 9%
  • New Zealand First 2.2%
  • Maori Party 1.3%
  • Act 0.9%
  • Mana Party 0.3%
  • United Future 0.1%.
  • Preferred PM: John Key 56% (down 3%), Phil Goff 12% (up 4%)

and a Herald Digipoll:

  • National 54.2% (up 0.7%)
  • Labour 29.1% (down 0.7%)
  • The Greens 10.1%
  • New Zealand First 1.7%
  • Maori Party 1.9%
  • Act 0.9%
  • Mana Party 0.1%
  • United Future 0.5%
  • Conservative 1.1%

The changes in the major parties are margin of error stuff – basically, nothing’s moving.  This seems to have surprised some of the “mainstream” commentators.  Given the strength of Labour’s campaign they were expecting more.  Here for example is Guyon Espiner:

Labour has made the running in this election campaign.

Its policies of introducing a capital gain tax, compulsory KiwiSaver and raising the retirement age have been both brave and considered and they amount to a genuine alternative economic policy. That has counted for precisely nothing. …

Labour made a strategically smart decision to focus their campaign on serious policy rather than have Phil Goff compete with John Key in a popularity contest.

That did not mean an absence of leadership. Goff showed he could foot it with Key in the first leaders’ debate on TV One. But again, nothing. …

This poll is a brutal kick in the guts for Labour. …

Labour has not moved from 30% support, the level it settled on after the Capital Gains Tax policy came out in July, having spent most of the previous two and a half years in the mid-30s. …

It’s not that the policies are unpopular. Voters are aware of the economic challenges New Zealand faces and seem ready to listen to new ideas, even ones which were previously thought too politically difficult. But they are simply not listening to Phil Goff and it is difficult to see what could change that.

Steady on Guyon! It would have been nice to see a bounce in the first week of the campaign proper, but it certainly wasn’t expected. Events always take a while to show up in the polls.  The Left needs to see movement soon – time’s running out fast – but it isn’t a surprise not to see it yet.

Even the usually hostile commentators agree that Labour is running a strong campaign, smartly focused on popular policy, and boldly facing some hard decisions. It’s hard to imagine what more they could do. If the polls remain stuck until the election then nothing was ever going to move them! It won’t be for want of a brave, honest and wholehearted attempt by Labour and the Left. And if the polls do start to move, well, a lot can happen in three weeks…


53 comments on “TVNZ and Herald polls”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    It is generally recognised that Labour was taking some big risks to get back in the game with some of the policies they were announcing. For instance, raising the retirement age and compulsory Kiwi saver. Perhaps it is now time to accept that the risks aren’t paying off.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1

      It is generally recognised that National was taking a big risk by running a campaign based on Brand Key. His reliance on making things up on the spot makes him more and more vulnerable to the charge of dishonesty, and his failure to even convince the business community reeks of incompetence and failure. It’s time now to accept that the risk isn’t paying off.

      • Chris 1.1.1

        What exactly shows it isn’t paying off?

      • Lanthanide 1.1.2

        I don’t think National are taking a “big risk” by running Brand Key. It’s their only real platform they could realistically compete on. Doing anything else would be a “big risk”.

        All political campaigns have risks – you just need to get on TV and say one or two dopey things and the whole thing can collapse like a house of cards (see Sarah Palin / John McCain).

      • queenstfarmer 1.1.3

        I agree it is risky – Key is of course a gambler. Come election night, we will know how it worked out, but on what evidence do you currently suggest it isn’t paying off? National are miles ahead on the polls.

  2. Raymond A Francis 2

    Don’t panic, there may not be plenty of time but there is still time

  3. bob 3

    Indeed polls can move – 3 weeks to go, and you can go backwards even further.


  4. Blue 4

    Does anyone seriously believe that National is going to get in the mid-fifties on election day?

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      I don’t think so.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        43%-45% 🙂

        • insider

          48% Nat
          34% Labour
          9% Green

          • McFlock

            That’s probably a reasonable estimate, with 2 or 3% either way for any of them (although I doubt Nats will hit 50). Frankly as far as I can tell it’s either all up in the air because polling is shite, or NZ really does have the govt it deserves and I’ll piss off to a smaller pacific island.
            Currently it seems to come down to the vagaries of a couple of percent on the day, whereas whichever “side” wins they’ll claim an almighty mandate for some culture-shifting policies.

      • mik e 4.1.2

        thats because the undecided vote is not shown and that is anything between 14% and 20% which on present polling gives national only 56 guaranteed seats leaving them to find7 more seats

  5. Tigger 5

    Fawning coverage like this doesn’t help. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10763766

    What the fuck? More of the ‘Key would be safe to leave your children with’ shit.

    That said, great to see Kaye needing Key’s support in Auckland Central. I’m afraid Key spending more time there won’t help that faux-gay friendly, pretend-environmentalist.

  6. RedLogix 6

    Right now Key could eat a baby in public and they’d still vote for him. For much of the electorate campaigns and policies are irrelevant… for them it’s simply not “Labour’s turn yet”… and won’t vote left until the media tells them to.

    • just saying 6.1

      I wouldn’t say “tells them to”, I think it’s more like many otherwise sympathetic people, won’t be able to be open to Labour unless or until the media lets them. Deriding Labour, even in working class gatherings, has become a bit of a national sport during Key’s reign.

      It certainly wasn’t/isn’t entirely undeserved. But there has been a public apetitie for “aren’t they dorks”, and the media has both fed and incited it, and at the same time, conspicuously fawned over Key, and turned him into a full-blown celebrity.

      Being required to act as though they take Labour seriously during the campaign-proper is eroding both those positions, along with amazingly fortuitous circumstances (for the left) in the last few months, but it’s a critical mass thing. Will it happen before or after the election?

    • queenstfarmer 6.2

      I tend to agree (except for the media bit – I for one do not take such an insulting view of my fellow countrymen). Obviously it’s unscientific, but I think the saying that “oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them” is quite accurate. And it is clearly true for this election – based on the polling, the election is National’s to lose. Like the World Cup final, can Labour “force an error” from National at a critical moment? Or will something else blow up in National’s face? (oh the excitement!)

      National is taking all sorts of risks (gloating about credit ratings was possibly the dumbest) but so far it is paying off for them.

  7. Steve 7

    If Bomber is correct and the landline polls are inherently skewed towards the more wealthy and older end of the populace, we are just seeing entrenched support for National and Labour reflected in these results. The swinging younger or previously aspirational national voter may not be represented at all. Best to ignore all polls, and especially the statistically illiterate journalists reporting on them and get on with it Labour party.

    • Blue 7.1

      I think landline phone polling has had its day. To believe that National is really in the mid-50s support wise now, when they only got 45% in the 2008 election, and that the Rena disaster etc. hasn’t touched their support at all, you’ve got to be wearing blue-tinted specs.

      It makes me a happy leftie, because it means that National has NFI how much support they really have. There could be a freight train of electoral defeat headed straight towards them and they wouldn’t have a clue.

      • Lanthanide 7.1.1

        That’s a good point, really.

        They got 45% in 2008 on the back of low turn out and a mood for change after 10 years of prosperity and promises of more to come.

        The situation is now a much grimmer future after a rough couple of years. So now it’s kind of become a “National won’t suck as much as Labour will” contest.

        • Pete George

          Labour are looking weaker than 2008, they’ve lost their two biggest assets and don’t seem to have gone far enough towards rebuilding yet.

          But I’d expect to see National to end up not far either side of their 45% in 2008.

    • thejackal 7.2

      Although I totally agree with your summation Steve… there is one dynamic that should not be ignored. Young people and poor people are very apathetic when it comes to voting.

      Unless the left can effectively mobilize the young to vote and help to ensure the poor are able to make a choice through being properly informed of what their decisions mean… voter apathy will continue to disproportionately effect the left.

      People who do not have phones to be polled are just as likely to not have a computer or a TV to stay up to date. There is a large group of New Zealander’s who are in the political wilderness… and the right wing intend to keep it that way.

      • warren 7.2.1

        You’ve nailed it. But how do we combat voter apathy?

        Someone else somewhere suggested the teaching of civics in our schools to teach people how their democracy works and their role in it, and how it is of relevance to them. I think many people fail to see the basic link between politics/policies and how much their groceries cost. Many appear to see politics as something “out there” that is only for those who happen to be interested in it, like golf or chess. They don’t realise that politics is the cause of what they grizzle about in the pub or at smoko. And that by taking an interest in it, and using their vote they can influence what happens to themselves.

    • insider 7.3

      If who is correct? How is he in any way qualified to comment on this and be taken seriously? WHy not listen to someone who might have a clue instead http://www.statschat.org.nz/

  8. DavidW 8

    Now there is a thought for a fun thread. Complete the phrase … “If Bomber is correct …….” A bit NEK MINUTE really

  9. Lanthanide 9

    “If the polls remain stuck until the election then nothing was ever going to move them!”

    We can’t really infer that. All we could infer is that the policies Labour announced were the wrong ones to create a move in the polls.

    Putting up the retirement age to 67 without also introducing compulsory kiwisaver and starting contributions to the cullen fund might have won some votes, for example, but lumping all 3 of them together ends up with some people who support 1 policy but reject the others, and so loses their vote.

  10. Uturn 10

    “… Labour is running a strong campaign, smartly focused on popular policy, and boldly facing some hard decisions. It’s hard to imagine what more they could do..”

    Proof of this:

    Why the cost of living is so high – and your vote is critical.


    I don’t watch a huge amount of TV, so maybe they’re already doing it. But if you took the main points of this video from about 2:35 mins (i.e. after she finishes with the why’s) and broke it up into short commercials, Labour’s message would drive home.

    1) Tax free first $5000 income (haven’t heard much about this)
    2) No GST fruit and vegetables (haven’t heard much about this)
    3) $15/hr minimum wage (they’re already pushing that well)

    but what they’ve missed so far is the real effect to the worker: if you’re on $13/hr now, you’ll get an extra $66 per week. Any material pushing $15 minimum wage should have under it, $66 extra week. Or even run the $66 as the headline.

    4) With these changes, a Minimum wage family will be $155 dollars a week better off.

    I’ve heard a lot about not selling assets, Super annuation and the abstract concept of minimum wage increase. Those policy points have been driven home well, but the weekly effect for the target Labour voter, or even an undecided on minimum wage is missing.

    The explanations have been tagged to John Key’s intent or overseas investors as the bogey man. Fair enough, but what does it mean to average Joe? He can grow cynical about Key and his friends, he can actively dislike them, but what does he know about how he will actually benefit? Not much. The message of how he benefits has been hi-jacked and sidelined in favour of technical costings, or filibuster, if you will.

    The media battle is the part of the campaign that is most easily acessible to voters – it’s what gets repeated the next day in the papers and then in the lunchrooms. Time to drive the agenda again.

    Not being on the inside I cannot say if efforts along these lines are underway. The other thing that may or may not be happening behind the scenes is that the Greens and Labour should be working together on points where they can agree, to mutual benefit. Mention each other when they speak about how they will achieve their policy, to unify a larger group.

    You are right, a lot can happen in 3 weeks.

  11. Mike 11

    The really appalling thing in that Espiner column is the prospect of NZ First being excluded from the minor parties TV debate because they aren’t polling 3%.

    Yet NZF is polling higher than every other party in that debate except the Greens!

    I really hope Winston takes TVNZ to court over it.

    • insider 11.1

      And they don’t have a seat which is the other factor. Two strikes and they are out

      • Lanthanide 11.1.1

        Yeah, Winston taking TVNZ to court won’t really achieve anything. They can easily claim 2 fair measures of treatment:
        1. Party holds seat in the current parliament
        2. Party has at least odds-on chance of being elected to the next parliament.

      • mik e 11.1.2

        Winston is not the same man he was 3years ago his sharp mind has declined noticeably his voice is raged both the symptoms of cigarette smoking .So he’s finished and a vote for Winston is a wasted vote

        • Ari

          Which is the problem. Any vote for a party that has enough votes for at least a single seat should never be “wasted”.

  12. Nick C 12

    “Even the usually hostile commentators agree that Labour is running a strong campaign, smartly focused on popular policy, and boldly facing some hard decisions. It’s hard to imagine what more they could do.”

    Well they could have not been shit for the last 3 years for a start. Theres only so much that a one month election campaign can do to reverse an impression of incompetence that has built up in the publics mind over such a long period.

    As for landline polls: Perhaps they would give the Nats a few more points than they are really on, its unclear. But even if there is a bias they would still show a trend towards Labour if it existed.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 12.1

      Its a zero sum game, so in the last 3 years Key and national have hogged the spotlight, and refused to give labour oxygen ( they dont have to) or debate publicly their policies and actions.
      Result labour has a share of whats left, and no matter what just getting an equal billing for 4 weeks will boost labour ( and reduce national)

      When the votes are in, labour be higher and national less than the polls this week.

      Do you think the media will be doing a ‘what went wrong’ analysis of nationals campaign ?

      Nope , there is a bandwagon to jump on

    • Ari 12.2

      There are certainly additional things they could have done leading up to the campaign, but with the media ignoring them previously I’m not sure that it really WOULD have had much effect. During the campaign they at least have to cover the opposition, even if they’re dismissive of them.

  13. Every poll for the past few years has shown National ahead or way ahead, why the heck do you think this will chance in the next few weeks?

    There wont be any more one term governments, doesnt matter who the party in power is.

  14. These poll numbers seem about write, except the Maori party is low and the Greens are too high.

    I would say the greens will get around 6%-7% of the vote, while the maori party will be around 4%

  15. ak 15

    You’re onto it Uturn – nice work.

    This will be known as the Poll Election. Note the saturation reportage and tory troll emphasis of little else. It’s the Peer Pressure effect – identified, targetted, synthesised and force-fed via mass-medication by the owners of the faucets. The unchecked, private, Farrar-faucet majors whose master’s proud motto is “whatever it takes”.

    Here’s how it works:

    Picture your local hall with 100 people in it. A genuine cross-section of eligible voters.

    Using current polling methods, half are either not on landlines or not at home when the pollster calls. So tell fifty to go home.

    The average refusal rate (“frack off I’m having tea”) of those who answer the phone is around 70%. So tell another 35 to go home.

    That leaves 15. Fifteen people who have a landline and care enough about politics to give five minutes of their time.

    On current poll results (around 50% Nat, 40% Lab-Gr), that’s about eight Nat, six Lab, one other.

    A single Nat supporter flicks to Lab and it’s even.

    Now think back to those original 100 and consider all the adults you have ever met: the educated, the ignorant, the deluded, the mentally defective, the good, the bad, the informed, the lot.

    And consider why the opinion of a single one should be given saturation coverage in the press.

    Provided, of course, that that single opinion swings one particular way.

    Forget about policies and details. Or even numbers or lies. Billions, schmillions: the deciders are having tea, remember.

    And the telly’s on.

    The “winning” urge is large in the 85 – it roared over a ball just a week ago – and as with the current “unassailable lead” and “New Zealanders favour”, it’s been relentlessly implanted over decades . Over tea. And in the car.

    By the same heartless, godless apostles of greed now grasping at power via nothing but their own, manufactured, self-fulfilling prophesies.

    Concentrate on the 85. The monopoly is very temporarily suspended. Occupy their minds with something more dramatic than tea, or they’ll go down with the flow.

    • Ari 15.1

      You forgot that the results also don’t count the undecideds inside the poll, even if they do report them as a figure, so they’re also telling anyone who has not yet made up their mind to go home, although perhaps more subtly than they are for the other groups.

      Then there’s the fact that the polls themselves are often covered as news, which reinforces their results in public perception, so you essentially getting pollsters telling people how to vote to a certain degree.

  16. DJL 16

    ” Best to ignore all polls, and especially statistically allaterate journalists reporting in them and get on with it Labour party”……. Totally Agree.
    There used to be a time when the press in particular was the life blood if democracy. Now its just a conduit for business with a whole lot of ads and light entertainment.

  17. Fortran 17

    Please tell me what NEK MINUTE means ?

  18. belladonna 18

    Yet again there seems to be little support from Labour towards beneficiaries apart from a token amount. Why would a beneficiary living well below the poverty line get out to vote on November 26th. They number in their 100s of 1000s now. I still maintain the reason Labour lost the last election was because of this. All of those votes not being taken advantage of, shame on Labour.

    • Lanthanide 18.1

      If Labour overtly pander to the beneficiaries, they lose their middle class vote.

      Also a lot of beneficiaries are idiots and voted for Mr Key ’cause they thought they’d be millionaires if they did.

    • Uturn 18.2

      To summarise quickly, a beneficiary would vote Labour because in the event they find work, they would start on $15/hr, not be subjected to 90 day probation period, keep the first $5000 of their money tax free, and have GST removed from fruit and veges. If they voted Greens/Labour, they might even get the house they rent kitted out in insulation to ease winter costs.

      Under National they would have no job, be asked to find a job that doesn’t exist, have their benefit cut and then, presumably, die. If they do find work, they might get chopped after a few days or weeks for no reason. If that doesn’t happen, their wages might not cover rising living costs.

  19. ianmac 19

    What the!

    A RadioLIVE-HorizonPoll of 1,147 voters yesterday has National dropping to 35.7 percent and Labour rising to 30.4.

    Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Labour-within-striking-distance—poll/tabid/419/articleID/231470/Default.aspx#ixzz1chp6JPA6

    • Draco T Bastard 19.1

      That’s what we actually want to see. Unfortunately, Horizon polls don’t have a stellar track record of being right.

  20. swordfish 20

    What I will say is:  there has been the occassional election (93, for instance) where a significant swing occurred in the final week (in that particular case, away from the Nats – hence Bolger’s erroneous ‘Bugger the Polls’ comment).

    • McFlock 20.1

      Another question is whether such swings are the result of e.g. genuine PartyA voters deciding to change to PartyB (and the phone polls are a fair reflection thereof) vs whether it’s due to the nophone noresponse undecideds waiting until the last minute to make a decision – in which case Horizon tracking might be more appropriate.
      Either way, from a data perspective, this election will be fascinating.

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  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s visionless immigration policy
    National’s recent immigration announcement is a continuation of the visionless approach to government that it has displayed in the last three terms. Rather than using the levers of government to implement a sustainable immigration policy that benefits new and current ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seclusion rooms in schools
    Schools are undoubtedly stretched and underfunded to cope with students with high learning support needs. But this cannot justify the use of rooms (or cupboards) as spaces to forcibly isolate children. It has emerged via media that this practice continues ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Public should get a say on new Waikato power station
    I had an opinion piece published in the Waikato Times about a controversial proposal to build a new gas-fired power station. It’s not on their website yet, so here it is: If you think the public would get a say ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • MSD and their investment approach
    The Government talks about investment but there is no investment. It is not investment if it isn’t over the whole of life and if there is no new money  — Shamubeel Eaqub   Investment sounds like adequate resourcing but this ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Certainty needed for community services
    A couple of months ago I was at a seminar where three community organisations were presenting. Two of the three presenters were waiting to find out if their organisation would get a contract renewed with MSD. Not knowing if their ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago