Posts Tagged ‘Fairfax/Ipsos Poll’

Polls, propaganda, and Tracy Watkins

12 September 2014 2 comments


Fairfax media - if you think, the bolsheviks win


1. A bit of personal history…

Since I became more and more politically active, part of the growth of my political consciousness was an awareness that the media – whether print or electronic – was not always a clear reflection of what really was happening.

The first time I became starkly aware of the disconnect between a media story and reality was in 1989, when an associate and I made a submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee on the Classifications Bill. The Bill was aimed at replacing the old, antiquated Censorship Act.

There were some aspects of the Bill which we took exception to (from a liberal viewpoint) and we put together a submission, and requested an opportunity for a supporting oral submission.

We were due to ‘appear’ near the end of the day, and thus had an interesting opportunity to listen to all the submissions made by various groups, organisations, and individuals. Submitters ranged from the Nurses Organisation; Film Directors Association,  NZ Law Society, etc.

I took note of the tenor of each submitter, and it was roughly 50/50 toward strengthening the proposed Classifications Act or liberalising it.

The following morning, the Dominion featured two stories on two submitters – both from the “pro-censorship” camp.

A critical submission from the NZ Law Society, regarding an aspect of the Bill which they deemed to be fatally flawed, was not reported. Neither did the Dominion report an astounding comment by then-MP, Trevor Rogers, who threatened to “change officials of the Courts” who could not, would not, implement the new law, whether flawed or not.

Had I not attended the Select Committee hearing personally, I would have assumed that all submissions were of a similar nature; would not have been aware of opposing views; would have been unaware of the Law Society’s views; and been oblivious to a Member of Parliament threatening to interfere with the judicial system of this country.

After 25 years, the incident remains vividly clear in my memory.

That was my very first lesson – not just in Select Committees – but media (mis-)reporting.

Since I began this blogging lark in July 2011,  I have found no reason to lessen my wariness of  media reporting, accuracy, and fairness. In fact, sadly, quite the opposite.

2. Once upon a time, in a fairy-tale land called Fairfax Media…

So begins this analysis of a recent Fairfax-Ipsos Poll which, upon closer scrutiny, is a fantasy lifted straight from the pages of Brothers Grimm.

A very recent  Ipsos poll was taken over a five day period, starting from Saturday, 30 August – the day of Judith Collins’ resignation from her ministerial portfolios (though not from Parliament itself).

The results, as a graphic;


Fairfax poll - november 2011


The infographic shows National at 54% and the Labour-Green bloc at 38%.



The above poll infographic was taken from a Research International poll, commissioned also by Fairfax Media – and released on 23 November, 2011three days before the General Election, three years ago.

The actual current, September 2014  poll results from Fairfax and it’s “newly” commissioned polling agent, Ipsos;


Fairfax poll - september 2014


Compare the two polls above.

Two “different” polls. Two different polling companies. Three years apart. Almost exactly same figures.

Now let’s chuck in the actual election results for the 2011 Election;


2011 poll - 2014 poll- fairfax - 2011 general election


In the 2011 poll,  Fairfax’s polling agent over-estimated National’s support by a staggering 6.69 percentage points – well outside the stated margin of error  by Research International (3.1%).

Considering that other mainstream polling companies have National ranging from 45% (Roy Morgan) to 46.4% (NZ Herald-Digipoll and TV3 News) to 50% (TVNZ News), it could be safely argued that the Fairfax-Ipsos results are in Wacky-Doodle Land.

The figures are not only dubious – but Fairfax buries an important fact;

The undecided vote remained steady at 13 per cent, which is higher than in some other polls. [my emphasis]

That statement is buried near the bottom of Vernon Small’s article, “National soars without Collins – poll“.

Incredibly, Small then adds – almost seemingly as an after-thought;

Benson said if Ipsos included those who said they were undecided, but when pressed were leaning towards a particular party, that number dropped to about 7 per cent and saw National’s vote come in about 2 percentage points lower.

Anything else we need to know, Vernon?!

The problem here is not just Fairfax presenting dodgy polling figures over two consecutive election periods – but the fact that Vernon Small, who wrote a story covering the poll,  was thoroughly accepting of the results – and made no effort to question the veracity of the figures. Some  comments from Small;

Two weeks out from the election National’s popularity has soared after the dumping of justice minister Judith Collins, putting John Key on course for a thumping victory on the evidence of a new poll.


Assuming all the small parties hold their current seats, but independent Brendan Horan is not returned, National would have a dominant 70 seat bloc in a 125 seat Parliament.

Small also quoted Ipsos pollster Matt Benson without any real critical analysis;

Ipsos pollster Matt Benson said the poll followed the first televised leaders’ debate and straddled the resignation of Collins.  ‘‘Despite a difficult week for National the poll shows support rise for the National Party, and John Key as preferred PM has also increased to 51.7 percent.’’ 

He said the rise may have been caused by wavering voters, uncomfortable with Collins, swinging in behind Key for finally taking action against her.

In no way could this poll and associated story be considered critical political analysis or news in the traditional sense.

Little wonder that, after only ten comments, Fairfax closed down posting on it’s comments section, at the end of Small’s article;

* Comments are now closed on this story.

– Stuff

The criticism of Fairfax must have been excoriating!

The problem here, as I see it;

Firstly, Ipsos is paid by Fairfax to conduct it’s polling.

Therefore, Fairfax has an inherent, undeclared financial interest in the source of  “story”. Fairfax is not reporting on a story from the point of view of an impartial, disinterested party. They have a vested, commercial stake in promoting Ipsos’ findings.

As such Fairfax would be as critical of Ipsos as the Editor of the Dominion Post would commission an investigative piece on sub-editors being made redundant from his own newspaper (the redundancies happened – the story reporting  the event never materialised).

In fairness, it should be pointed out that Fairfax is by no means unique in this obvious conflict of interest. The NZ Herald, TVNZ, and TV3 all have their own contracted pollsters. None of them will question the accuracy of their respective polling agents.

Secondly, because Fairfax (and other media) have a vested interest with their respective pollsters, they are locked in to using that sole company as a source for polling “news”. Hence,  each media outlet’s authoritative reputation rests on pushing up the credibility of their respective polls. They must not question their own polling for fear of damaging their reputation for “authoritative political analysis”.

Regardless if their own polling is hopelessly implausible, it must be presented as factual and inarguably credible.

Even if it is clearly not.

3. Radio NZ – an oasis of information in a desert of pseudo “news”

The non-commercial Radio New Zealand not only reports polling results from various pollsters, but is currently running a Poll of Polls;

The POLL of POLLS is an arithmetical average of the four most recent major polls since mid-June from among: TV1 Colmar Brunton, TV3 Reid Research, Fairfax Media-Ipsos, NZ Herald DigiPoll, Roy Morgan New Zealand and UMR Research, which is not published.”

– and is well worth keeping an eye on.

Off the main pollsters, the most accurate one to keep an eye on is Roy Morgan, as it alone calls respondents on cellphones. All others rely solely on landlines to contact respondents.

4. Tracy Watkins

Associated with Vernon Small’s front page article on the Dominion Post on 5 September, was a side-bar “opinion piece” by the paper’s political editor, Tracy Watkins. This is the on-line version;


tracy watkins - dominion post - fairfax news - all over bar the shouting


“Two weeks down, two weeks to go and on today’s poll it’s all over bar the shouting.”

I was stunned when I read that comment. In effect, Watkins has elevated Fairfax’s 3 September  public opinion poll to supplant the up-coming general election and accept a National Party victory based on Ipsos’ findings.

I put this issue to Neil Watts, blogger (Fearfactsexposed) and long-time commentator/critic of Fairfax Media and it’s policies. I asked him about the credibility of Fairfax’s polling and he replied,

“Having watched Fairfax Media make an art form of National Party propaganda for many years now, nothing they publish surprises me anymore. Their polls are notoriously, willfully unreliable, and they blatantly use them to manipulate  rather than inform  the electorate.”

This would certainly seem to be the case, as it should be noted that two different polling companies contracted by Fairfax consistantly over-rated National in their results. Neil had definite thoughts on why that might be. He said;

“Their political coverage is partisan, anti-opposition, anti-democratic, and their spin consistently comes from the exact same angle that the National Party are taking via Crosby Textor.

In fact, this is so reliable, that I only bother to read these days to find out what the Government’s spin will be on any given issue.”

When I pointed out Watkins’ piece, “All over bar the shouting”, Neil was scathing about her lack of impartiality;

“Political editor Tracy Watkins is clearly enamored with the Prime Minister and unprofessionally close to him. After several international trips with John Key and a substantial back catalogue of journalese ‘love letters’ to him, she really has zero credibility as an objective reporter.

To the informed reader, her copy is generally one-eyed, propagandist tripe. The weight of evidence is in their reporting, but I have heard from sources within Fairfax Media that their blatant goal is to get Key’s Government re-elected.”

If true, and the Fourth Estate has become a mouth-piece for The Political Establishment, it may explain why people are turning away from the mainstream media as well as politics. The previous general election had the lowest voter turn-out since 1887 – no feat to be proud of, and seemingly  indicative of a growing malaise of alienation, apathy, and disconnection from our heretofore strong civic pride.

It simply beggars belief that a journalist such as Ms Watkins with many years experience could publish such an off-hand comment that effectively undermines current efforts by the Electoral Commission, trade unions, political parties, et al, to encourage people to enroll and to vote.

The Commission is spending tax payers’ money to encourage voter turn-out – and Watkins’ casual, flippant, remark that “it’s all over bar the shouting” undermined that campaign with half a dozen words. The fact that the Dominion Post reinforced that off-the-cuff remark by placing the Fairfax-Ipsos poll-story on the front page of the edition reinforced her comment with a subtle message; “don’t bother voting – National has won – it’s all over bar the shouting”;




Note the heading in big, black, bold lettering,

Poll sees Nats in command

In command“? Was the election held on 5 September?! Did I miss it?

Note also the hidden subtext of an image of the PM, John Key, twice the size of his opponant, David Cunliffe. Note the victorious look on Key’s face – and the open-mouth “petulance” of ‘disappointment’ on Cunliffe’s.

The impression is clear; Key has “won” the election.

Cunliffe’s annoyance validates Key’s trimphant expression.

This is not reporting the news – it is manufacturing it.

Meanwhile, with more than a hint of irony, the real news of election-related events are buried within the newspaper;





Little wonder that Neil Watts summed up Fairfax’s agenda thusly,

 “For a media corporation to be effectively aiming for oligarchical rule in New Zealand is a gross abuse of power and position. At the very least, they should be honest and open about their political loyalties, so that ordinary Kiwi voters can make an informed choice about where they source their news.”

I see nothing to disabuse me of the notion I began to develop in  1989, that a healthy dose of skepticism is required when presented with information from a media source.

Their agenda is no longer to present news.

Their agenda is to manufacture it; embellish it; use it to sell advertising; and to further political goals.

How else does one explain naked propaganda-masquerading-as-“news”?

Because looking at the full-blown story on the front page, I can see no other interpretation than the conclusion I have arrived at.

According to the Dominion Post, the election is done and dusted and the Nats are “in command”. So don’t bother voting. It’s all over.

Bar the shouting.




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

Fairfax media: National soars without Collins – poll (2014)

Wikipedia: New Zealand 2011 General Election

Roy Morgan: ‘Dirty Politics’ muddies the water for major parties in New Zealand

NZ Herald: National or Labour could form a Government – poll

TV3 News: Key could need Maori Party post-election

TVNZ News: National unscathed by Dirty Politics – poll

Radio NZ: Election 2014 – Poll of Polls

Dominion Post: All over bar the shouting

Massey University: Massey commentators preview key election issues

Dominion Post: Tracy Watkins on politics


Fairfax media: Ipsos Polling Station

Previous related blogposts

Mr Morgan phoned

Census, Surveys, and Cellphones (part tahi)

Census, Surveys, and Cellphones (Part rua)




20 september 2014 VOTE

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 7 September 2014



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Labour’s collapse in the polls – why?

24 June 2014 7 comments


Red Arrow Down


In recent months, successive polls have not favoured the Labour Party and the Left Bloc.

A TV3 Reid Research Poll in mid/late May gave a  shock result for Labour;

National:  50.3% (+ 4.4%)

Labour: 29.5% (- 1.7%)

Greens: 10.2% (- 1%)

NZ First: 5.6% (+ 0.7%)

A Roy Morgan poll in late May/early June – one of the more accurate of polls – fared no better;

National: 52.5%  (+ 7%)

Labour:  29% (- 1.5%)

Greens:  9% (- 4.5%)

NZ First:  4.5% (- 1.5%)

A mid-June Herald Digipoll presented similar results;

National: 50.4% (- 0.4%)

Labour:  30.5% (+ 1%)

Greens:  10.7% (- 2.4%)

NZ First:  3.6% (n/c)

The most recent stats,  from a June  Fairfax/Ipsos poll, was even worse;

National: 56.5 (+ 8.9%)

Labour:  23.2% (-6.3%)

Greens:  11.9% (- 0.8%)

NZ First:  3.2% (- 0.5%)

Though National’s 56.5% is in pure la-la land (they scored only 47.31% in the 2011 General Election), the overall pattern seems fairly clear; National is rising, whilst the Labour-Green bloc is falling, and – on face value – close to collapse. (I also do not believe that NZ First will not cross the 5% threshold.)

I put National’s rise and the Left’s fall down to three significant factors;

1. National’s May 15 Budget which took a lurch to the left with extra social spending; removing tariffs (temporarily) on building materials; and the promise of a budget ‘surplus‘.

It was a typical electioneering budget, increasing spending on social areas that had been  been previously starved of funding in recent years. Even the so-called “surplus” was questioned by the Opposition.

2. Increasing economic activity, predicated mainly on three factors;

3. Infighting between Labour and it’s potential coalition partners.

On 7 June, I blogged on the issue of Labour’s unprovoked and negative attacks on it’s potential allies. I wrote;

Going by recent public comments made by Labour MPs and candidates, it seems that the Labour Party is either planning to sit this election out – or some of it’s higher-ranking public individuals are out of control.

How else to explain recent statements made in the mainstream and social media by Labour people, attacking others on the Left?

Being “principled” and attacking potential allies will result in looking weak and fractured, in the eyes of the public.

Being “principled” and attacking potential allies smacks of dis-unity. Dis-unity, in the eyes of the public, is not a Government-in-waiting. It is Labour unable to set aside self-interest and party-politics for the good of the nation.

If the public perceive that Labour is more interested in attacking it’s own potential allies – and here is the nub of the problem – then why should people vote for such a fractious party that appears unable to work alongside said potential allies?

National – polling in high 40s and low 50s – cultivates potential allies.

Labour – polling in high 20s and low 30s – undermines, attacks, and marginalises it’s own potential allies.


How many times have we heard the public say, “why can’t they work together for the good of the country?”.

Well, National’s strategists have understood and implemented this very simple truism; the public do not like seeing squabbling politicians. The public want political parties to work together, collegially to solve pressing problems.

That is why Key keeps repeating his mantra,

“We’ve shown we can deliver strong and stable government and can work with other parties for the good of the country blah blah blah..”

That is why National is high up in the polls.

That is why Labour is floundering and losing support. And respect.

Not only do I not resile from the above comments I wrote on 7 June, but I reassert that recent polling has more than proven my point.

We on the Left can do very little about National’s fudging of Budget figures, nor economic  growth created by demands from an earthquake-ravaged city; a housing bubble; and Chinese consumption.

We can, however, get our own house in order when it comes to inter-party relationships.

If Labour wants to portray itself as a credible government-in-waiting, it must demonstrate that it is capable of working across all sectors in society.

If they cannot work collegially with other Left-leaning parties – then why on Earth should the public believe that Labour could  work with other sector-groups? The ‘signals’ that various Labour MPs (Hipkins, Nash, Goff, Shane Jones, Davis, et al) are sending is one of fractious in-fighting; of “greedy little little children grabbing all the toys in the cot, and not prepared to share and play together”.

This is not a political party demonstrating readiness to be a government. It is a party showing  desperation to grab votes at any expense.

Unless Labour is looking forward to sitting on the Opposition benches for the next ten years, it must change it’s internal culture. We talk about the “Police culture” needing change – I submit that Labour itself needs to look deep within itself and understand why the public are not responding to their policies and messages.

Why is  the public turned off  from Labour?

How does the public view Labour’s bitter attacks on the Greens and Mana-Internet?

What  does the public want?

Ask those three questions at the next focus groups, Ms Coatsworth, and you may start to understand why it is that Labour is not connecting with voters.




TV3 Reid Research: 3 News Reid Research Poll

Roy Morgan: National (52.5%) surges to election winning lead while Labour/ Greens (38%) slump to lowest

NZ Herald: National flies high as new party nibbles into Greens

Fairfax media: Ipsos June 2014 Poll – The Party Vote

Wikipedia: New Zealand general election, 2011

NZ Herald: Budget 2014 – Bigger surplus unveiled, doctor visits for kids Government to temporarily remove duties and tariffs on building materials

Dominion Post: Wellington rape centre forced to cut hours

Fairfax media: Rape crisis line forced to cut staff

Fairfax media:  Budget 2014: Surplus real, says English

NBR: Auckland house prices continue their relentless rise

NZ Herald: Big resurgence in NZ house-building

Stats NZ: Dairy product exports grow for 20 years

Stats NZ: Logs to China drive our forestry export growth

Daily Blog:  The secret of National’s success – revealed

Previous related blogposts

Letter to the Editor: playing politics with rape victims, National-style

Budget 2014 – How has National exposed itself in Election Year?







Why I am a Leftie

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 19 June 2014.



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Radio NZ: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams – 17 February 2014

17 February 2014 Leave a comment


– Politics on Nine To Noon –


– Monday 17 February 2014 –


– Kathryn Ryan, with Matthew Hooton & Mike Williams –


Today on Politics on Nine To Noon,




Click to Listen: Politics with Matthew Hooton and Mike Williams (24′ 09″ )

  • Kim Dotcom/Russel Norman
  • Green Party in government
  • GCSB/surveillance
  • David Cunliffe
  • Fairfax/Ipsos Poll
  • Shane Jones/Countdown supermarkets
  • Labour’s “Best Start” Policy/Taxation
  • Passports/Syria/Al Qaida
  • Green Party Home Solar Policy


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Three recent polls

21 February 2013 16 comments




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.


Roy Morgan

13 Feb 2013

TVNZ/Colmar Brunton

17 Feb 2013

Fairfax/Ipsos Poll

20 Feb 2013

Right bloc:


44% (-2%)

49% (+5%)

44.9% (-1.3)

Maori Party

0.5% (-1%)

1% (n/c)

1.3% (-.01%)


0.5% (n/c)

.01% (-0.5%)

.04% (+.04%)

United Future

0% (n/c)

.02% (-0.3%)

.01% (-.01%)

Left bloc:


34.5% (+3%)

33% (-2%)

36.3% (+1.9%)


13.5% (n/c)

11% (-2%)

10.7% (+.02%)

Mana Party

0.5% (n/c)

1% (n/c)

1.4% (+.08%)


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


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:


Roy Morgan

24 Nov 2011

TVNZ/Colmar Brunton

24 Nov 2011*

Fairfax/Media Research

23 Nov 2011


Election results

Closest Polling result

Right bloc:






Roy Morgan

Maori Party





Media Research






Media Research

United Future





Roy Morgan
Left bloc:






Colmar Brunton






Media Research

Mana Party





Media Research

NZ First





Roy Morgan

Conservative Party





Colmar Brunton

n/r = no result provided


(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


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.





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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On course for a change in government (Part Rua)

29 July 2012 6 comments



Continued from:  On course for a change in government

The polls continue to look bad for Dear Leader and the Nats. The most recent, conducted by Fairfax Media/Ipsos, has National down on 44.9%,


Frank Macskasy  Frankly Speaking

Full story


Fairfax’s Tracy Watkins and Kate Chapman suggest that, at nearly 45%,  “National has enough support for a third term“.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and the number of Undecided Voters – at 11.6% -will be the ones who will determine the next election in 2014 (if not earlier).  Over one third of Undecideds leaned toward Labour, Greeens, and NZ First,

See:  Fairfax Media/Ipsos Graphic

But most critically, we should not forget that National went in to the 2011 Elections riding high in polls.

For example, one year ago, a Roy Morgan Poll dated 28 July 2011,  had National on 52%.

Two previous Roy Morgan Polls  had National on 54% (June 13-26, 2011) and 49%  (June 27 – July 10, 2011).

(Sampling 895 respondents)

See: Roy Morgan Poll: Govt 57.5% Opp 42.5%

Another example, using a Fairfax Media-Research International poll, conducted between July 21 and July 25 2011 – again, about a year ago – had National on 56%.

Again, Tracy Watkins wrote enthusingly,

National continues its extraordinary run of popularity in today’s poll, recording 56 per cent support – enough to comfortably govern alone if the results were repeated on election night in November.”

(Sampling 1,004 respondents)

See:  Labour ‘not fazed’ by dismal poll result

Averaging out the 28 July Roy Morgan poll of 52% and the July 21/July 25 Fairfax poll of 56%, gives us 54%.

National achieved nothing like that figure on election night on 26 November 2011, gaining only 47.31% of the Party Vote. Not enough to govern alone.

See: Electoral Commission 2011 Election Results

National’s support from Election Night has dropped from 47.31% to the current Fairfax Media/Ipsos polling of 44.9% – a drop of 2.41%.

But more critically,  from July 2011 polling to Election Night voting, National’s support dropped from an averaged 54% to 47.31% – a drop of 6.69%.

The reason that this is so critical is that heading into the next election, National’s base polling has to start high, to take natural voter-support  attrition into account.

Remember;  in July 2011, National started high with 54% and 56% in the polls – then dropped to 47.31% on election night.

Now imagine if National’s polling stays at around current 44.9% support and heads into an election. Factor in natural voter-support  attrition of  (for example) 6.69% – and their election night result would be 38.21% – almost precisely the same figure National gained in the 2005 General Election.

See: Results 2005 General Election

The above figures are assumptions. But natural voter-support attrition is not, as Labour found to it’s dismay in 2002, after the ‘Corngate’ Affair.

With two years left (or earlier, as this blogger continues to predict), and many of National’s unpopular policies continuing to alienate the public, a loss of even 2% or 3% in support will mean the demise of National in power, and a new Labour-led government.

If/when Mighty River Power is partially privatised, expect National’s support to drop like a stone in a hydro-storage lake.

This is the simple reality that Fairfax neglected to mention in it’s story above.



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