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Only four years too late – TVNZ-Colmar Brunton catch up with The Daily Blog

15 December 2017 1 comment

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Four years ago, this blogger pointed out that then-existing polling methodologies – relying solely on landline respondents – was flawed. The 2013 Census had revealed a significant ‘chunk’ of the population had surrendered access to landlines, in favour of cellphone/smartphone usage.

In March 2013, this blogger pointed out that the 2013 Census contained this question;

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Part of the problem are anecdotal  stories that many low income families, students, transients, etc, no longer rely on landlines and use only cellphones. Polling companies do not call cellphones – only landlines. (A low-income family living not far from us fits this demographic group perfectly; no landline; cellphones only. The sole-parent head of the household votes Labour.)

This year’s census has an interesting question; Question 17,

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2013 survey - qu 17

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The question asks the respondent to “mark as many spaces as you need to show which of these are available here in this dwelling”.

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Out of all polling companies,  only Roy Morgan recognised changing usage of modern technology by actively calling  cellphones to reach respondants.

As if to underscore this new reality, in September 2013, even this blogger was contacted by Roy Morgan. Questions ranged from legalisation of cannabis; political party support; travelling; radio station preference; social issues; etc.

Clearly Stats NZ wanted to determine the extent to which cellphone penetration of households had supplanted landlines.

In December 2013, Statistics NZ released the data gleaned from Question 17 (see above). The results confirmed suspicions that political pollsters (aside from Roy Morgan) was not reaching a sizeable number of New Zealanders, and polling numbers were being skewed;

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Yesterday (3 December 2013), Statistics NZ released the result of that question. The impact on political polling firms and their methodologies will no doubt be considerable;

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Three-quarters of households now have Internet access

  • Internet access at home continued to rise, at 76.8 percent in 2013, compared with 60.5 percent in 2006 and 37.4 percent in 2001.
  • Cellphone access also increased, with 83.7 percent of households in 2013 having access to a cellphone at home, compared with 74.2 percent in 2006.
  • Access to a landline telephone decreased. In 2013, 85.5 percent of households had access to a landline telephone at home, down from 91.6 percent in 2006.
  • Fax access decreased. In 2013, 14.6 percent of households had access to a fax, down from 26.0 percent in 2006.
  • A small percentage of households (1.6 percent or 24,135 households) did not have access to any telecommunication systems at home. That is, they did not have a landline telephone, cellphone, Internet access, or a fax.

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As I pointed out in that same blogpost;

Note that only “85.5% of households had access to a landline telephone at home, down from 91.6% in 2006”.

This means that 14.5% of households did not have access to a landline.

Almost precisely four years later, TVNZ had caught up.  On 8 December, TVNZ’s political editor, Corin Dann wrote;

“ It was a shock 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll back in July showing Labour on just 24 per cent that prompted Mr Little to make an on-camera admission to me that he had considered resigning.

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For me personally as Political Editor, the Andrew Little poll story is a very important reminder of the responsibility the media has, along with our polling companies, in presenting accurate polls and ensuring the methods we use are as good as they can possibly be.

As Andrew Little well knows, polls really matter.”

Dann went on to announce;

“ So it’s with that sense of responsibility – as well as a look to the future – that 1 NEWS and Colmar Brunton have now decided it is time to change our polling methodology.

In future we will no longer just poll telephone landlines. It will be a 50/50 split of mobiles and landlines.”

In explanation, he added;

“… during the course of the past year we at 1 NEWS, along with Colmar Brunton, felt it was right to start exploring whether adding mobile phones was prudent, given the rapid changes we are seeing in communication habits.

The fact is, landlines are no longer used by as many people. The best information we have on this is Census data from 2013 which confirms only 86 percent of households had a landline compared to 92 percent in 2006.”

Only four years late.

Perhaps this story illustrates that blogs – whilst not funded or otherwise resourced as richly as mainstream media – can be far more “nimble on their feet” when it comes to picking up, analysing, and commenting on developing trends.

For the second time, a blogger has red-flagged an issue that was belatedly picked up by the msm;

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The mainstream media – or at least one clever journalist working for Mediaworks/Newshub – has finally caught up with a story broken by this blogger last year that unemployment data from Statistics NZ was no longer reliable;

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It pays to keep an eye on blogs such as The Standard, No Right Turn, The Daily Blog, et al. The old saying holds true;

You heard it hear first, folks!

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References

Stats NZ: 2013 Census QuickStats about national highlights –  Phone and Internet access

TVNZ:  Mobiles to be included in 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll for the first time in bid to reach more young voters

Mediaworks/Newshub:  Unemployment – Bad news NZ, it’s much worse than you think

Additional

The Spinoff:   The first big poll for ages is due. What would be a good result for Labour?

Mediaworks:  Patrick Gower – Newshub’s poll is vital and correct

Previous related blogposts

Mr Morgan phoned (2013)

Census, Surveys, and Cellphones (2013)

Census, Surveys, and Cellphones (Part rua) (2013)

MSM catches up on Unemployment stats rort

Roy Morgan poll confirms blogger’s prediction – National is in freefall

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 10 December 2017.

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Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (ono)

20 September 2017 11 comments

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You show me yours, I’ll show you mine…

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Perhaps the most ill-considered public statement from NZ First leader, Winston Peters, was his recent (11 September) demand that Labour disclose it’s full tax plan as a pre-condition for coalition;

“You are not asking the questions. You can’t possibly mean to go into an election saying, ‘My tax policy will be decided by a committee, and I am very sincere about that’. One needs to know what we are talking about … that should be fatal to a party’s chances. And we need to know.”

The jaw-dropping, gob-smacking, forehead-slapping gall of Winston Peters! For him to demand clarity and full disclosure from others – when he himself has made a fetish of not disclosing to voters who he will coalesce with, post-election  – takes the Hypocrisy-of-the-Year Award from National and plants it firmly on his own Italian suited jacket-lapel.

On top of which, none of Peters multi-billion dollar policies have yet to be costed.

So here’s the deal, Winston. You want to see Labour’s tax plans? We want to see your coalition intentions.

We’ll show you ours if you show us yours.  After all, “One needs to know what we are talking about“.

As Jacinda said, “Let’s do this“.

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Richard Prebble should keep vewy, vewy quiet

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On the matter of Labour referring taxation reform to a Working Group post-election, former-ACT Party leader Richard Prebble was scathing in his condemnation that Jacinda Ardern would not disclose her intentions toward implementation of a possible Capital Gains Tax.

In his regular NZ Herald propaganda slot, he wrote on 7 September;

“…Jacinda thinks the answer to every problem is a new tax. Asking for a mandate for capital gains taxes without giving any details is outrageous. All new taxes start small and then grow. GST was never going to be more than 10 per cent.

Who believes it is fair that the Dotcom mansion will be an exempt “family home” but a family’s holiday caravan plot will be taxed? The details are important…”

A week later, he followed up with;

“In a “captain’s call” Jacinda changed the tax policy to say that a Labour victory was a mandate for Labour to introduce any new tax and at any rate that a nameless committee of “tax experts” recommended, just the family home is off limits.

Any tax? What about land tax? Yes. Tax on the family bach and boat? Yes. Water? Petrol? Nothing is off the table. Will the capital gains tax be 33 per cent? Maybe. The petrol tax 10 cents a litre? Probably. Water tax. Guess a figure. “Trust us” says Jacinda.

No party has ever asked for so much power.

This, from the man who was a former Minister in the Lange Government which – in 1986 – introduced various neo-liberal “reforms” that the Labour Government had never campaigned on; had not included in their manifesto; and introduced the regressive  Goods and Services Tax in 1986. The Goods and Services Tax was never disclosed to the public in 1984.

Prebble and his cronies deceived  the New Zealand public in the 1984 election campaign. They withheld their true agenda. They lied to us.

For Prebble to now rear up on his hind legs, braying in indignation, pointing a  stained finger at Jacinda Ardern, is hypocrisy beyond words.

As former producer of TV’s The Nation, Tim Watkin, wrote on Prebble’s sanctimonious clap-trap;

“To read and hear a member of the fourth Labour government like Richard Prebble howling about transparency is like an Australian cricketer railing against under-arm bowling. Labour’s manifesto in 1984 was as artful a collection of vagaries as has ever been put to the public and after winning a second term in 1987, Prebble and his fellow Rogernomes embarked on a series of reforms – arguably the most radical tax reform ever considered by a New Zealand government, including a flat tax – without campaigning on them.”

Richard Prebble should think carefully before raising his voice on this issue – lest his own track record is held up for New Zealanders to scrutinise.

Does he really want that particular scab picked?

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Latest Colmar Brunton Poll…

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The latest TV1/Colmar Brunton Poll (14 September) has Labour and the Greens climbing – a direct antithesis to the TV3/Reid Research Poll which had Labour and the Greens sliding (12 September).

12 September:  Reid Research-TV3

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14 September: Colmar Brunton-TV1

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Which raises two questions;

  1. Are polling polling companies operating in the same country?  Or Parallel Universes?
  2. Is it about time that all public polling was banned once early voting begins?

The chasm in poll-results for National, Labour, and the Greens confirms critics of polls who dismiss results as wildly unpredictable. “Bugger the pollsters“, said Jim Bolger in 1993 – and with considerable justification.

Though Winston Peters and his supporters may be nervous at the fact that both polls have NZ First at 6% – perilously close to the 5% threshold. Any lower and Peters’ Northland electorate becomes a crucial deciding factor whether NZ First returns to Parliament.

Several commentators – notably from the Right – have been making mischief with the poll results, suggesting that a vote for the Green Party would be a wasted vote. Without the parachute of an electorate base, if the Greens fall below 5% in the Party Vote, their  votes are discounted and Parliamentary seats re-allocated to Labour and National.

John Armstrong and Matthew Hooton are two such commentators making this fallacious point. Fallacious because even at Reid Research’s disastrous 4.9%, the polling ignores the Expat Factor. Expats – predominantly overseas young voters –  are not polled, but still cast their Special Votes, and often for the Green Party.

In 2014, the Green vote went from 210,764 on election night to 257,359 once Special Votes were counted and factored in. The extra 47,000 votes was sufficient to send a fourteenth Green Party List candidate to Parliament;

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It seems contradictory that there is a total black-out of polls on Election Day itself – when voting stations are open. But polling is allowed to proceed two weeks out from Election Day when voting stations are also open.

It may be time for this country to consider banning all polling whilst voting stations are open. If poll results are so open to wild fluctuations, and certain commentators make mischief from questionable data, then the possible risk of undue influence on voters cannot be discounted.

Once voting begins, polling should cease.

The only poll that should count after voting begins is Election Day.

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Losing the plot, Winston-style

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On Radio NZ’s Morning Report (14 September), NZ First Leader, Winston Peters lost the plot. His haranguing of Guyon Espiner did him no credit.

More incredible  was Peters’ assertion that he has not made any “bottom lines” this election;

“I have never gone out talking about bottom lines.”

Peters’ blatant Trumpian-style  lie flew in the face of  his bottom-lines during this election campaign.

On a referendum on the Maori seats;

“My strategy is to tell everybody out there that you won’t be talking to NZ First unless you want a referendum on both those issues at the mid-term mark of this election.”

On re-entering Pike River mine;

“I’m making no bones about it, we’ll give these people a fair-go, and yes this is a bottom line, and it shouldn’t have to be.”

On a rail link to Northport;

“I can say for the people of Northland and Whangarei, this is going to happen. We’ve got the corridor; it’s been designated. The only thing it lacks is the commitment from central government and we are going to give this promise, as I did in the Northland by-election – we are 69 days away from winning Whangarei as well – and that’s one of the first things we’re going to be doing straight after the election.”

Peters has issued  several other bottom lines, including changing the Reserve Bank Act, banning foreign purchase of land, setting up a foreign ownership register, reducing net migration to 10,000 per year, and not raising the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation (from 65).

Peters also attacked Espiner for personally supporting the neo-liberal “revolution” in the 1980s. As  Espiner pointed out, when Roger Douglas tore New Zealand’s social fabric apart, he was 13 years old at the time.

Plot lost.

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Labour’s tax & spend – what ails the Nats?

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National has launched a full-scale attack on Labour’s taxation policies and plans to set up a Tax Working Group to investigate the possibility of a Capital Gains Tax.

The Crosby-Textor line is childishly simple: the Right have identified a ‘chink’ in Jacinda Ardern’s teflon armour – kindly on loan from previous Dear Leader;

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But there’s more to it than simply attacking Labour through a perceived weakness in their taxation policy.

Labour is attempting to shift New Zealand away from a low-taxation/minimalist government, and return the country to the fully-funded social services we all once enjoyed.

Remember free prescriptions? Yes indeed. Prior to 1986, prescribed medicine was free.

National’s growing concern is not that Labour will introduce new (or higher) taxes.

Their worry is that New Zealanders will like what their taxes can buy; free tertiary education. Lower medical costs. Cheaper housing. New, re-vitalised social services such as nurses in schools.

Up until now, the Cult of Individualism had it’s allure. But it also has it’s nastier down-side.

If New Zealanders get a taste for a Scandinavian-style of taxation and social services, that would be the death-knell for neo-liberalism. When Jacinda Ardern recently agreed with Jim Bolger that neo-liberalism had failed – the Right noticed.

And when she said this;

“New Zealand has been served well by interventionist governments. That actually it’s about making sure that your market serves your people – it’s a poor master but a good servant.

Any expectation that we just simply allow that the market to dictate our outcomes for people is where I would want to make sure that we were more interventionist.”

For me the neoliberal agenda is what does it mean for people? What did it mean for people’s outcomes around employment, around poverty, around their ability to get a house? And on that front I stand by all our commitments to say that none of that should exist in a wealthy society. And there are mechanisms we can use that are beyond just our economic instruments and acts, to turn that around.”

– the Right became alarmed.

This election is not simply between the National-led block vs the Labour-led bloc – this is the battle for the future of our country; the soul of our people.

This moment is New Zealand’s cross-road.

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WINZ and Metiria Turei – A story of Two Withheld Entitlements

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Recent revelations that WINZ has withheld $200 million of lawful entitlements to some of the poorest, most desperate individuals and families in this neo-liberal Utopia (note sarc), has shocked some;

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$200 million withheld from welfare recipients who could have used that cash to pay for doctor’s visits. Shoes for children. Even lunch meals – which so many National/ACT supporters continually berate the poor for not providing for their kids – as Donna Miles reported on 13 September;

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Did the country rise up in a clamour of righteous anger? Was there a vocal outcry on social media? Were the Letters-to-the-editor columns filled were disgust and demands for a fair go for beneficiaries?

Like hell there was. If New Zealanders noticed, they showed little interest.

Yet, even the Minister for Social Welfare, Anne Tolley, had to concede that WINZ had fallen woefully short in helping those who need it most in our country;

“I agree at times it’s too bureaucratic and we’re doing our very best.”

$200 million in lawful entitlements withheld – and there is barely a whimper.

Contrast that with former Green Party co-leader, Metiria Turei, who did some “withholding” of her own;

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A young solo-mum withholds information from social welfare in the mid-1990s, after then-Finance Minister Ruth Richard has cut welfare payments – and every conservative moralist; middle-class National/ACT supporter; media elite; and right-wing fruitcake, has a collective hysterical spasm of judgementalism that would put a Christian Fundamentalist to shame.

Perhaps if social welfare had not been cut in 1991…

Perhaps if WINZ had not withheld $200 million in rightful welfare entitlements…

Perhaps then Metiria Turei would not have had to withhold information, merely to survive…

Perhaps if half this country were not so drenched in…

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Perhaps then, our sheep and pigs might finally learn to fly.

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References

NZ Herald:  Winston Peters to Labour – Front up on your tax plans

Fairfax media:  Gareth Morgan positions himself as alternative to Winston Peters

NZ Herald:  Richard Prebble – The Jacinda tidal wave can be stopped

NZ Herald:  Richard Prebble – The Jacinda tidal wave has gone out

Radio NZ:  Time to come clean on coalition compromises

TVNZ:  Colmar Brunton poll – Labour maintains four point lead over National, could govern with Greens

Mediaworks:  National could govern alone in latest Newshub poll

Colin James: Of polls, statistics and a Labour deficit

NZ Herald:  John Armstrong – This election is a two-party dogfight now

NZ Herald:  Remaining Green Party voters ‘mainly hippies and drug addicts’ – Matthew Hooton

Parliament:   The 2014 New Zealand General Election – Final Results and Voting Statistics

Radio NZ: Morning Report –  The Leader Interview – Winston Peters

Fairfax media:  Winston Peters delivers bottom-line binding referendum on abolishing Maori seats

Fairfax media:  Winston Peters says Pike River re-entry is bottom line to election deals

NBR: TV3 – The Nation – Peters promises rail to Northport

Newsroom:  What a National-NZ First Govt might actually do

Fairfax media:  Jacinda Ardern says neoliberalism has failed

Radio NZ:  WINZ staff accused of withholding entitlements

Fairfax media:  Turei rallies Palmerston North troops in fight against poverty

Other blogposts

Donna Miles: Child Poverty – Facebook Post Shows The Nats Don’t Care

Previous related blogposts

Election ’17 Countdown: The Promise of Nirvana to come

Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (tahi)

Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (rua)

Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (toru)

Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (wha)

Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (rima)

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jacinda will tax you (b)

 

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 15 September 2017.

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Colmar Brunton-TV1 News – not giving us the complete picture

15 September 2015 1 comment

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A story on TV1 News on 9 September was more interesting for what it failed to tell the viewer, rather than any information it was trying to impart.

Briefly, the story focused on a recent Colmar Brunton survey that stated that National’s poll rating remained “unchanged at 47 per cent, the same amount it attained at the election“. It also told us;

Mr Key’s personal approval ratings also continue to ride high. He’s steady at 40 per cent this month.

According to the story, the  Colmar Brunton Preferred Prime Minister survey gave the viewer  a ‘snapshot’ of the survey period 29 August to 2 September. There was no other context to the survey.

The viewer was not given information as to how Key’s popularity compared to previous Colmar Brunton surveys.

If TV1 News producers had bothered to do a brief search on the issue, the result would have given better context and a more overall, informative  picture.

For example, a Google search for past Colmar Brunton surveys reveals  the rise and gradual decline of our “popular” Prime Minister;

September 2009 – 50%

May 2010 – 46%

November 2011 – 52%

September 2012 – 44%

September 2013 – 42%

September 2014 – 46%

September 2015 – 40%

 

In fact, the Colmar Brunton Preferred Prime Minister polling shows a striking similarity to polling carried out by TVNZ’s rival, 3News/Reid Research Poll;

Aug 2009: 51.6%

April 2010: 49.0%

Nov/Dec 2010: 54.1%

1-8 Nov 2011*: 50.0%

9-16 Nov 2011*: 49.4%

16-23 Nov 2011*: 48.9%

July 2012: 43.2%

Nov 2013: 40.9%

2-8 Sept 2014*: 45.3%

9-15 Sept 2014*: 44.1%

May 2015: 39.4%
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* Where multiple-polling took place within a given month, all poll results have been presented top give the reader a more accurate picture.

 

It is therefore apparent that to claim that “Mr Key’s personal approval ratings also continue to ride high” and that   “He’s steady at 40 per cent this month” – is not an accurate reflection of polling trends.  Those are misleading statements, creating a false perception of a politician’s standing in the electorate.

Sloppy work.

If this is the new standard of political analysis from TV1 News then the producers may as well not bother. There are plenty of crime, disaster, “cutesy animal”, and quirky-celebrity stories they could broadcast instead.

Perhaps serious political analysis should  best be left to the experts – bloggers.

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References

TVNZ News: Nearly a year on from its election victory and National is continuing to ride high in the polls

ONE News Colmar Brunton Poll Sep 19-24, 2009

ONE News Colmar Brunton Poll May 22-26, 2010

ONE News Colmar Brunton Poll 27-31 October 2012

Facebook: Colmar Brunton – 14-18 Sept 2013

Colmar Brunton: 6-10 September 2014

Previous related blogposts

The slow dismantling of a populist prime minister

The slow dismantling of a Prime Minister continues

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6a00d83451d75d69e2014e8998ec4f970d-500wi

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This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 10 September 2015.

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Latest TV1-Colmar Brunton Poll – Back To The Future IV?

28 February 2014 Leave a comment

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local-news-takes-stupid-poll

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It was a shocker of a poll on Sunday evening (23 February); the TV1-Colmar Brunton poll had National soaring to stratospheric heights. At 51%, the Nats would hold around 62 seats in the House – sufficient to govern alone in a 120 seat Parliament.

The numbers;

National: 51%

Labour: 34%

Greens: 8%

NZ First: 3%

There is no figure given for Undecideds/Refused to Say, which kind of makes the stats a bit dodgy.  The Colmar Brunton website, however, does have a download facility to download the full report;

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colmar brunton Feb 2014 - undecideds

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The “Don’t Know/Refused to say” was a whopping 13%!

That’s a sizeable chunk of voters who could yet decide the election outcome.

But how credible is a polling figure of 51% for any political party?

The answer? Not very.

The highest Party Vote for any political party since the introduction of MMP in 1996, was 47.31%, achieved by National in the 2011 election.

So is 51% a credible indicator for National’s re-election chances?

Again, not very.

In a February 2011 TV1-Colmar Brunton poll, National stood at… 51%. In fact, the 2011 Poll is a remarkable mirror of the current Colmar results;

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National's popularity falls, but no party near it - Colmar Poll - feb 2011

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It’s almost as if Colmar Brunton has simply ‘dusted off’ the 2011 poll results; given Labour an extra one percentage point; and slapped a February 2014 label on it.

It is further worth noting that the actual election night result on Saturday 26 November 2011 was as follows;

National:  47.31%

Labour: 27.48%

Greens: 11.06%

NZ First: 6.59%

No other Party breached the 5% threshold.

At 34% current polling (by Colmar Brunton), this is still 6.52 percentage points above the 2011 election night results. Not a bad starting point to go into an election.

But 51% for National? Not in the realm of possibility. That is the polling they started from in February 2011 – and still they finished at 47.31%.

Let the campaigning continue.

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References

TVNZ:  National’s popularity falls, but no party near it – Colmar Poll

Colmar Brunton: ONE News Colmar Brunton Poll 15-19 February 2014

Colmar Brunton: ONE News Colmar Brunton Poll 15 – 19 February 2014 Report (Pdf)

Wikipedia: New Zealand general election, 2011

TVNZ: Surge in support for National – poll

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Labour Mana Green

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen

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Radio NZ: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams – 24 February 2014

24 February 2014 Leave a comment

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– Politics on Nine To Noon –

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– Monday 24 February 2014 –

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– Kathryn Ryan, with Matthew Hooton & Mike Williams –

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Today on Politics on Nine To Noon,

Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams discuss the recent political polls.

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radio-nz-logo-politics-on-nine-to-noon

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Click to Listen: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams (21′ 58″ )

  • TV1-Colmar Brunton Poll, Roy Morgan poll
  • Election campaigns
  • David Parker
  • Labour Party, NZ Power, “Best Start”, Auckland Rail Loop early start
  • Russell Norman, Kim Dotcom
  • David Cunliffe
  • Shane Taurima, TVNZ
  • Winston Peters
  • Greens, David Hay, Leaders’ Debates
  • ACT, Richard Prebble, Jamie Whyte, flat tax
  • Conservative Party, Colin Craig
  • and an early election in September?

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Census, Surveys, and Cellphones…

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polls_ist2_141437_arrow_graph_down_rev_2249_704752_poll_xlarge

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Three polls in February (2013)  yielded two distinctly different results.

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Roy Morgan

13 Feb 2013

TVNZ/Colmar Brunton

17 Feb 2013

Fairfax/Ipsos Poll

20 Feb 2013

Right bloc:

National

44% (-2%)

49% (+5%)

44.9% (-1.3)

Maori Party

0.5% (-1%)

1% (n/c)

1.3% (-.01%)

ACT NZ

0.5% (n/c)

.01% (-0.5%)

.04% (+.04%)

United Future

0% (n/c)

.02% (-0.3%)

.01% (-.01%)

Left bloc:

Labour

34.5% (+3%)

33% (-2%)

36.3% (+1.9%)

Greens

13.5% (n/c)

11% (-2%)

10.7% (+.02%)

Mana Party

0.5% (n/c)

1% (n/c)

1.4% (+.08%)

Other:

NZ First

4% (-1.5%)

4% (n/c)

2.8% (-1%)

Conservative Party

2% (+1.5%)

1% (n/c)

1.6% (.02%)

n/c = no change

At the previous election, National was consistantly polling high – in the low-to-mid 50s. Their election result was actually 47.31%, several percentage points out from polling figures from Roy Morgan, Colmar Brunton, and Media Research,

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Roy Morgan

24 Nov 2011

TVNZ/Colmar Brunton

24 Nov 2011*

Fairfax/Media Research

23 Nov 2011

2011

Election results

Closest Polling result

Right bloc:

National

49.5%

50%

54%

47.31%

Roy Morgan

Maori Party

1%

2.0%

1.1%

1.43%

Media Research

ACT NZ

1.5%

1.7%

0.7%

1.07%

Media Research

United Future

0.5%

0.1%

0.1%

0.6%

Roy Morgan
Left bloc:

Labour

23.5%

28%

26%

27.48%

Colmar Brunton

Greens

14.5%

10%

12%

11.06%

Media Research

Mana Party

0.5%

1.0%

1.1%

1.08%

Media Research
Other:

NZ First

6.5%

4.2%

4%

6.59%

Roy Morgan

Conservative Party

n/r

2.4%

n/r

2.65%

Colmar Brunton

n/r = no result provided

As the chart above shows, polling figures were all over the place. Roy Morgan called it closest for the result for National – but under-reported for Labour.

Colmar Brunton called it closest for Labour.

Whilst at the same time, Media Research was way out for National – 6.69 percentage points off the mark – over twice the margin of error (3.1%) for that poll.  (see:  Gap closes as election looms – poll)

None of the polling companies were consistent in their results and all over-polled National. Only one pollster over-polled for Labour.

Part of the problem are anecdotal  stories that many low income families, students, transients, etc, no longer rely on landlines and use only cellphones. Polling companies do not call cellphones – only landlines. (A low-income family living not far from us fits this demographic group perfectly; no landline; cellphones only. The sole-parent head of the household votes Labour.)

This year’s census has an interesting question; Question 17,

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2013 survey - qu 17

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The question asks the respondent to “mark as many spaces as you need to show which of these are available here in this dwelling”.

What will prove interesting is not whether or not “a cellphone/mobile” is marked – but how many households will mark “a telephone”.

This will finally give us a clearer understanding what percentage of households do not have a landline.

If the numbers of households without a landline are significant (+/- 10%), then polling companies will either have to adjust their polling techniques – or be rendered useless. Without factoring in cellphone-only households, polling companies risk becoming an expensive ‘parlour game’ with little value.

One option is to return to the days of door-knocking pollsters. It’s an expensive option, but may be more reliable than phoning people on landlines.

This blogger keenly anticipates Statistics NZ releasing poll results on Question 17. It’s impact on politics in this country may be greater than we realise.

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Previous blogposts

Three recent polls

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Three recent polls

21 February 2013 16 comments

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polls_ist2_141437_arrow_graph_down_rev_2249_704752_poll_xlarge

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A TVNZ/Colmar Brunton Poll on 17 February must have been a joyous event for National and it’s supporters.  At 49%, it appeared to show the governing Party with increased (up 5%!) public support.

No such luck, I’m afraid, my Tory fellow New Zealanders.

Three polls this month (February, 2013)  yielded two distinctly different results.

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Roy Morgan

13 Feb 2013

TVNZ/Colmar Brunton

17 Feb 2013

Fairfax/Ipsos Poll

20 Feb 2013

Right bloc:

National

44% (-2%)

49% (+5%)

44.9% (-1.3)

Maori Party

0.5% (-1%)

1% (n/c)

1.3% (-.01%)

ACT NZ

0.5% (n/c)

.01% (-0.5%)

.04% (+.04%)

United Future

0% (n/c)

.02% (-0.3%)

.01% (-.01%)

Left bloc:

Labour

34.5% (+3%)

33% (-2%)

36.3% (+1.9%)

Greens

13.5% (n/c)

11% (-2%)

10.7% (+.02%)

Mana Party

0.5% (n/c)

1% (n/c)

1.4% (+.08%)

Other:

NZ First

4% (-1.5%)

4% (n/c)

2.8% (-1%)

Conservative Party

2% (+1.5%)

1% (n/c)

1.6% (.02%)

n/c = no change

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Both Roy Morgan and Fairfax/Ipsos show similar, almost identical results for National; 44% and 44.9% respectively. Both also record a drop for the Nats.

Curiously, TVNZ/Colmar Brunton went against the tide, showing support rising by a massive 5%, to 49%.

That 5% rise seems utterly unlikely given the other two polls, and is way outside the “Samnpling Error” of  +/- 3.1%, according to Colmar Brunton’s own website.

So what’s going on? Which polling companies are closer to the real picture (bearing in mind that phone polling is done by calling land-lines – not cellphones, nor door to door)?

A clue might lie in the polling leading up to the 2011 general election:

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Roy Morgan

24 Nov 2011

TVNZ/Colmar Brunton

24 Nov 2011*

Fairfax/Media Research

23 Nov 2011

2011

Election results

Closest Polling result

Right bloc:

National

49.5%

50%

54%

47.31%

Roy Morgan

Maori Party

1%

2.0%

1.1%

1.43%

Media Research

ACT NZ

1.5%

1.7%

0.7%

1.07%

Media Research

United Future

0.5%

0.1%

0.1%

0.6%

Roy Morgan
Left bloc:

Labour

23.5%

28%

26%

27.48%

Colmar Brunton

Greens

14.5%

10%

12%

11.06%

Media Research

Mana Party

0.5%

1.0%

1.1%

1.08%

Media Research
Other:

NZ First

6.5%

4.2%

4%

6.59%

Roy Morgan

Conservative Party

n/r

2.4%

n/r

2.65%

Colmar Brunton

n/r = no result provided

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(A) Roy Morgan was closest to Election Day results with their polling for the combined National/ACT/United Future bloc at 51.5%.

Colmar-Brunton came second with their combined National/ACT/United Future bloc at 51.8%.

And Media Research came third with their combined National/ACT/United Future bloc at 54.8%

The Election Day result for the combined National/ACT/United Future bloc was 48.98%.

(B) By comparison, the results were reversed when it came to the Labour/Green/Mana bloc.

Media Research was closest with their combined result for the Labour/Green/Mana bloc at 39.1%

Colmar Brunton was again second with 39%.

And Roy Morgan came last with 38.5% for the Labour/Green/Mana bloc.

The Election Day result was 39.62%.

When it came to polling in the week leading up to the 2011 general election, all three pollsters seemed to “pick” correct results – but for different Parties.

Roy Morgan picked National, United Future, and NZ First.

Colmar Brunton picked Labour and the  Conservative Party..

And Media Research picked Maori Party , ACT,  Mana, and the Greens.

As such, for accuracy relating to National, Roy Morgan is the poll to watch.

For Labour, it is Colmar Brunton. (Which, for Colmar Brunton is supported by data here: Opinion polling for the New Zealand general election)

Even well-known  right-wing commentator and National Party apparatchik, Matthew Hooton confirmed this on Monday, 18 February, when he said on  Radio NZ,

According to that [poll], National could govern alone. Look, I find that Colmar Brunton poll has a consistant history of over-estimating National’s support, going back right through to the nineties, if not before. I don’t believe that National has more votes, more support, than it did at the time of the election. National got 47.3[%] [at] the last election. This poll gives it 49[%].”

Source: Radio NZ: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams

Conclusion

Polls seems to be varying wildly, but Roy Morgan appears to be marginally more accurate for National, and Colmar Brunton for Labour.

Having said that, all pollsters rely heavily on landline phone-interviews. Anecdotally, fewer and fewer households (low income; students; etc) are relying on landlines and preferring instead cellphones and the internet.

Support for left-wing Parties, from low income households, may therefore be under-represented in Colmar Brunton polling. The task for the Left, though, is to motivate these housefolds to go out and  vote on Election Day.

If that can be achieved, the Kiwi flirtation with the centre-right will be at an end.

National is also vulnerable on issues relating to,

  • high unemployment
  • increasing job losses
  • a stagnant economy
  • unaffordable housing driven by investors/speculators driving up prices
  • Christchurch
  • asset sales
  • an upcoming poll on asset sales, which could be a hard slap in John Key’s face, with hisinsistance  of having a “mandate” to partially-privatise several SOEs
  • watch out for on-going problems with education, school closures, charter schools, novopay, etc
  • and potential “hot spots” with environmental controversies and health-related issues

All of which will act as a slow-acting political corrosion on National’s polling.

Note 1

(*) The data for Colmar Brunton was updated on 25 February. New data obtained  was closer to Election Day results  than previous figures quoted in this blogpost, which gave an incorrect result.

Note 2

NZ First is the ‘wild card’ in this equation.

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References

Scoop: Support for National barely damaged by Tea Tapes (18 Nov 2011)

Fairfax: National still cosy in polls after tea break (23 Nov 2011)

Roy Morgan: National set for election victory, but no majority as ‘teapot tape’ scandal dents National & benefits NZ First  (24 Nov 2011)

TVNZ: Gap closes as election looms – poll (24 Nov 2011)

Wikipedia: New Zealand general election  (26 Nov 2011)

Wkipedia: Opinion polling for the New Zealand general election (2011)

Roy Morgan: National (44%) lead down over Labour lead down over Labour  (34.5%) Labour, Greens, with minor parties would win election (13 Feb 2013)

TVNZ: National bounces up in poll (17 Feb 2013)

Colmar Brunton: Current One News Colmar Brunton Poll

Fairfax media: National no longer a sure winner – poll (20 Feb 2013)

Other blogs

The Dim Post: My theory about what’s happening in the polls

Brian Edwards: John Key on 41%, David Shearer on 10%. That can’t be right. Can it?

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