Home > The Body Politic > Latest Horizon Poll – Results!!

Latest Horizon Poll – Results!!




The latest Horizon Poll has been released today (20 November) with some expected – and unexpected – results.  Questions canvassed included the following,

The results:

How parties leaders make people feel

Firstly, how did the two main leaders make people feel?



The poll indicates that the preceding week has made people feel angry, nervous and afraid about John Key.

Conversely though, Key makes people feel comfortable, excited, proud.

The results seem contradictory in one sense – but perfectly understandable in another. Key’s “honeymoon” with the  media has ended – and that with the public is waning. He is now more of a political figure, rather than apolitical as some perceived him, and therefore is beginning to polarise voters.

It is when negative feelings toward a leader becomes more entrenched that support for a government will drop away – as happened with the Clark-led Labour government in 2008.

These changes are already becoming apparent,



It’s interesting to note that Goff elicits a growing hope (+8.6%) and pride (+7.4%) whereas people appear less hopeful with Key (-6.7%) and less proud (-4.5%). This would appear to tie in with recent  polls, which also indicate a decline in consumer confidence.

Also of interest is that Key is making people feel more angry (+9.7%), afraid (+8.8%), and nervous (+5.6%) than respondants feel for Goff  (+3.8%, +5.2%, +3.1%).  Issues such as asset sales, cost-of-living increases, high unemployment, and a stubbornly stagnant economy probably play a significant part in such results.

Also, with Key’s brittleness over the “Teapot Tapes”, the public have have their first glance under the “ordinary bloke” facade that Key and his advisors have so carefully cultivated. The man is nowhere as laid back as he makes out. He can get rattled and when things aren’t going his way, he has no hesitation in removing himself from the scene – as evidenced by his recent media conference walkout.

Again, this is reflected by the fact that +1.6 appear more comfortable with Goff – and significantly, people’s comfort level with Key has decreased by -0.5%. Is Key’s “ordinary bloke” facade  developing cracks?

The following poll, though shows a clear difference in how Key and Goff are perecived by the public,



Key is see as more inspiring, knowledgeable, and stronger.

But Goff’s qualities are that he is seen as more moral, trustworthy, and honest. The latter was backed up by a stuff.co.nz poll that also reflected popular opinion that Goff was more honest/trustworthy than Key,


Full story


Key’s past career in speculative trading in the commercial sector may be a factor in this. With the collapse of dozens of finance companies in New Zealand, owing billions to “mum & dad” investors, and with the global banking crisis sparked by dubious activities on Wall Street,  those who are engaged in speculative commerce, finance, stocks, etc, are now viewed with suspicion and often downright hostility.

An underlying subtext to how people view ‘Brand Key’ is that while people certainly consider him to be more knowledgeable than Goff (and the Christchurch “Press” debate may reinforce that impression) – that Key is less trustworthy for reasons outlined above.

Conversely, Goff is seen as more trustworthy, honest, and moral – perhaps because unlike Key, Phil Goff has not be ‘tainted’ by the smell of Wall St excesses. Goff may be seen as wanting to do the “right thing”, whereas Key is seen as a product of hard-nosed business.

Goff has also been candid in admitting that Labour made serious mistakes over selling state assets in the late 1980s. He has apologised for those grievous errors of judgement – no mean feat for a politician. This underscores his trustworthiness compared to John Key’s, right or wrong, in the eyes of the public.

The Horizon Polling for political parties has yielded the following,


The results comparing those who will “definitely” vote, with those for voters who will “definitely, may or probably” vote.


Noteworthy is the growth of support for NZ First and the fledgling Conservative Party. If accurate, the Conservative Party are within a hair of crossing the 5% thresh-hold.

The Horizon analysis sez this about seat numbers and coalition permutations, based on the above results,

“The results indicate a National-Conservative-Act-Maori Party- United Future grouping would have 59 seats in a 122 seat Parliament. This assumes Act and United Future win Epsom and Ohariu, the Maori party has 4 electorate seats and Mana one.

A Labour-Green group would have 47, and 50 if joined by Mana.


New Zealand First would have 13 seats and the balance of power in the new Parliament.

A National-led coalition would muster 73 votes with New Zealand First support.


A Labour-led coalition would muster 63 votes if supported by New Zealand First and Mana.”

The Horizon Poll also took into account public feelings about the “Teapot Tapes” Affair,

The country is highly polarised over the unauthorised recording of a meeting between the Prime Minister, John Key, and the Act party’s Epsom candidate, John Banks.

53% say that neither Mr Key nor Mr Banks, as parties to the conversation, should authorise the public release of the recording.

46.9% think they should authorise its release, according to a major nationwide HorizonPoll, covering 2,874 adult New Zealanders, conducted between 9 am Wednesday and 5.39am Friday (November 16-18). Weighted by age, gender, ethnicity, personal income, education qualification and party vote 2008, the poll has a maximum margin of error of +/- 1.8%.

54.9% also believe the November 11 recording of the eight minute-long conversation, on a microphone left on a table at a Newmarket café by a member of the media, was deliberate. 15.9% say it was inadvertent while 29.2% are not sure.

Asked if the Herald on Sunday, which had the recording last weekend but decided not to publish, or other news media should publish it now, 49.4% say no, 39.5% yes while 11% are not sure.

The issue was damaging the Prime Minister’s credibility this week.

41.9% think the issue has made him less credible, 6.2% more credible while 47.4% say it makes no difference to his credibility. 39% think it has made Mr Banks less credible, 3.2% more credible.

Among those who voted for National in 2008, 17.7% think the issue has made Mr Key less credible, 12.3% more credible – a net credibility loss of 5.4% among his supporters at the last election.

The issue is also impacting New Zealanders’ views on the credibility of the Herald on Sunday (43.1% think it is less credible, 11.8% more credible);  all news media (38.6% less credible, 9.8% more credible) and the police who are investigating a complaint of authorised interception of the private conversation (12.6% less credible, 8.5% more credible).”

The Horizon Poll there backs up other public feedback where a majority believed John Key’s assertion that the conversation between himself and Banks was a private matter and that there was no requirement for eithrer of the men to release the tapes publicly. Despite this feeling, 41.9% of  respondants believed that the affair left Key looking less credible.

An interesting mix of views, though it coyuld be argued that Key did indeed manage to correctly gauge public opinion on this issue.

However, as point out in my piece Tea, tapes, & tantrums  – the overal effect is that Key’s teflon veneer has been significantly scratched by this incident.

It will be interesting to note if Horizon Polling has been an accurate assessment of public opinion. As people correctly state, the only Poll that counts is the one on Election Day. Horizon will be measured against that final outcome.



Horizon Poll 20 Nov 2011



  1. Deborah Kean
    20 November 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Coincidentally, I just got those results a while before you wrote this post… It makes me cautiously optimistic…

    • 20 November 2011 at 6:58 pm

      Indeed, Debi… the “race” is still open, and by no means a Done Deal.

      It will be very interesting to see how the final results correlate with Horizon Polls. Their credibility will be on the line with this election, and if they are way off-mark, they may not be regarded quite so seriously…

      The polling company that comes closest to “predicting” the final result will do well out of this.

      And of course, if a new centre-left government is formed – New Zealand as a whole will be the winner on the night!

      • Deborah Kean
        20 November 2011 at 7:24 pm

        “And of course, if a new centre-left government is formed – New Zealand as a whole will be the winner on the night!”
        Absolutely true! I will rejoice such as I have not rejoiced since 2008… on Facebook (yes, I know 🙂 ) I sent a question to all my New Zealand friends “who will you vote for?” One nephew said National… I was rather shocked (he has disabilities after all) but thankfully, he’s now changed his mind.

  2. Frank Macskasy
    20 November 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Deborah Kean :

    “And of course, if a new centre-left government is formed – New Zealand as a whole will be the winner on the night!”
    Absolutely true! I will rejoice such as I have not rejoiced since 2008… on Facebook (yes, I know :) ) I sent a question to all my New Zealand friends “who will you vote for?” One nephew said National… I was rather shocked (he has disabilities after all) but thankfully, he’s now changed his mind.

    That’s good, Debbie. ‘Cos the next slash-and-burn will be certain healthcare services. I’ve already heard that one provider for support care for people with disabilities has had funding for staff transport cut back… (I need to confirm that, but it did come from a manager at one of these community organisation.)

    For people with disabilities to vote National or ACT is like a turkey to vote for an early Christmas…

  3. 21 November 2011 at 4:30 am

    For people with disabilities to vote National or ACT is like a turkey to vote for an early Christmas…

    I won’t be voting for National this time around Frank! Bet you know why!

    • fmacskasy
      21 November 2011 at 8:26 am

      Indeed I do, Allyson! Good luck with everything!

  4. 21 November 2011 at 10:20 am

    The next couple of polls will be the interesting ones. If Act’s support keeps below 3% it will be alright. I don’t think the Conservatives will be as high as this poll suggested.

    • fmacskasy
      23 November 2011 at 9:40 pm

      I agree, Peter. They may suffer the same fate as NZ First did in 2008, where they just barely failed to reach the 5% threshold (4.07%). Or the Chritian Demorats in 1996 (the first MMP election), where they reached 4.33% – again just barely missing out.

      It can seem horribly unfair for parties to miss out by just a fraction of the vote, but I guess a threshold line has to be drawn somewhere?

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