The Dim-Post

November 18, 2011

Chart of the day, reality check edition

Filed under: polls — danylmc @ 11:41 am

Via the Wikipedia aggregated poll chart, New Zealand opinon polls for the year 2011.

Update: A caveat from the creator of the chart:

As the person that created that graph, may I remind you all that there are three types of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

This is not the current version on wikipedia, but someone challenged (perhaps validly) on the talk page, whether there was some very recent movement not evident on the main graph. I changed the parameter on the smoothing line to make it more sensitive to recent changes. With the sensitivity to recent polls increased, it does seem like there has been some quite strong movement in the past weeks, but interesting, I tested an intermediate value that would give rise to a different interpretation (mainly that Labour’s support is stable, and slower change for National and Greens). So exactly how you interpret the poll trends hinges on the value of the smoothing function, but if you buy into the more sensitive version, then there does seem to be something of a swing in progress.

About these ads

24 Comments »

  1. In short, we are a 1-2 point swing, give or take, away from a change of government.

    Comment by Jake Quinn — November 18, 2011 @ 11:44 am

  2. “In short, we are a 1-2 point swing, give or take, away from a change of government.”

    Maths is hard.

    Comment by Richard D — November 18, 2011 @ 11:51 am

  3. Jake,

    In short, nothing of the thing. Confounding variables:
    (1) Act winning Epsom;
    (2) Maori Party overhang … plus its post-election choice of support;
    (3) NZ First getting over 5% … and then deciding what the hell to do;
    (4) Dunne winning Ohariu (and maybe even doing so as an overhang seat, given UF’s polling).

    Depending on the “wasted vote” and (lack of) overhangs, National could conceivably govern alone with only 47-ish% of the vote.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 18, 2011 @ 11:53 am

  4. I can’t see how you equate Greens and Labour at about 40 (+ or minus 3)and National at 51 plus or minus 2 % as indicating that a swing of 1-2% would be enough.

    Interestingly the current version of the page is a little different , with National at 53 and Greens at 11%. Even more interesting is the minor parties chart. Thrill with the ups and downs of New Zealand first, with outliers up to almost 6%! Ride the ups and downs of Act as they dump their leaders and then turn down to about 1%! Peter Dunne’s polling is amazingly consistent, at around 0.3% per poll, Is every pollster ringing his Mum every time?

    Comment by Conrad — November 18, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  5. In short, we are a 1-2 point swing from a Government exclusively National or a Government 98% National… In reality we’re probably a, what, 7-8 point swing from a change in (the majority party of) Government? Even that relying on the swing landing properly?

    Comment by garethw — November 18, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  6. The minor party graph on wikipedia shows Maori Party and ACT losing support at the same time NZ first gains support.

    Comment by mjl — November 18, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  7. This morning I took the thoughts provoked by Dim-Post on a walk up Manaia Maunga, Whangarei Heads. The thoughts I returned with were; we need more hard decisions made, more austerity, more freedom, more compassion, more fairness, no idol rich nor idle poor.
    Will the mix of people lining-up to run this outfit seem likely to deliver such outcomes?

    Comment by tawhaowhao — November 18, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

  8. I suspect Jake Quinn is being humerous/tongue in check rather than having maths problems.

    Comment by WH — November 18, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

  9. As the person that created that graph, may I remind you all that there are three types of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.

    This is not the current version on wikipedia, but someone challenged (perhaps validly) on the talk page, whether there was some very recent movement not evident on the main graph. I changed the parameter on the smoothing line to make it more sensitive to recent changes. With the sensitivity to recent polls increased, it does seem like there has been some quite strong movement in the past weeks, but interesting, I tested an intermediate value that would give rise to a different interpretation (mainly that Labour’s support is stable, and slower change for National and Greens). So exactly how you interpret the poll trends hinges on the value of the smoothing function, but if you buy into the more sensitive version, then there does seem to be something of a swing in progress.

    Comment by James — November 18, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

  10. “we need more hard decisions made, more austerity, more freedom, more compassion, more fairness, no idol rich nor idle poor.”

    So the same conclusions everybody’s been making about politics since 1776, then. Thanks for that, really. Good stuff.

    Comment by Hugh — November 18, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

  11. As long as National stay above 46 they should be able to form a government if they have help from any of ACT/GRE/MAO/NZF (assuming Dunne’s in the bag). At 45 things start to get more chaotic.

    Comment by bradluen — November 18, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

  12. National …should be able to form a government if they have help from any of ACT/GRE/MAO/NZF

    Yeah, worst-case scenario for National appears to be “we need two coalition partners”.
    Best case scenario for Labour appears to be “get ALL the coalition partners”

    Comment by Phil — November 18, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

  13. Any coalition in which you need ACT and the Maori Party to pass your budgets is gonna be a little fraught.

    Comment by danylmc — November 18, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

  14. Hehe, yes. tounge in check. Ie. “National loses a few points, labour and greens gain a few points and the left bloc is STILL 10% behind”. Sigh.

    Comment by Jake Quinn — November 18, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

  15. James,

    Can you easily tell what difference you might get in results, if you first estimated a trend line for each party by from polling company, and then averaged those?

    I suspect that by increasing the significance of ‘more recent’ polling, you’ll introduce statistical noise into the trend that comes about simply because of which polling company reported results.

    Comment by Phil — November 18, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

  16. “Any coalition in which you need ACT and the Maori Party to pass your budgets is gonna be a little fraught.”

    Only a little. Given both ACT and the Maori Party will be massively outnumbered by National MPs their leverage is going to be minimal. And Key has spent the last three years building a very strong relationship with both parties so he will be negotiating from a position of familiarity and strength.

    I mean, I’m not saying it’s a non-issue, because he would obviously prefer to not have to negotiate at all, but the worst-case scenario is still pretty bloody good for National. National’s absolute worst-case looks a lot like Labour’s absolute best-case.

    Comment by Hugh — November 18, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

  17. “And Key has spent the last three years building a very strong relationship with both parties”

    Ah, but who in Act has Key built that relationship?

    I agree that small numbers of seats normally have a small say, but how Brash would be in coalition is an unknown..

    Comment by Pete George — November 18, 2011 @ 1:48 pm

  18. Hi Phil — I’d love to partial out polling company specific trends, but at the moment I’m modifying someone else’s analysis, rather than starting from scratch, but not something I have time for today.
    However, it’s quite easy to rebut this graph being overweight in a particular poll. In the last few months, all of the polling companies have been polling approximately weekly, so no one poll will be too dominant. And when selecting the sensitivity, I deliberately didn’t go too sensitive — these lines are still quite smooth relative to what they could be.
    Ironically, your criticism is more valid for 2008 through June, because Roy Morgan polls far more frequently than the other firms.

    Comment by James — November 18, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

  19. “Any coalition in which you need ACT and the Maori Party to pass your budgets is gonna be a little fraught.”

    Turia was very Winston-esque on this topic during that minor party debate – they asked a “who would you go into coalition with?” question and she said we can work with anyone but ACT. Which probably gave a couple of National strategists a small coronary, but she then hedged the whole thing by saying that the don’t currently HAVE a coalition with ACT and don’t work with them, they are IN a coalition with ACT and that’s not the same thing.

    Comment by garethw — November 18, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  20. That was me that asked for the smaller sample, btw James – so thanks for that.

    While I’m making unreasonable demands, would it be easy, difficult or impossible to modify the graph so that each datapoint had a context box that popped up and gave you information about the poll it came from (pollster, sample size, sample period, ect)?

    Comment by danylmc — November 18, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

  21. Hi Danyl; no problem. Long time reader, literally first time poster here. Context boxes would require either flash, or some very sophisticated coding on your website, as far as I can tell, and easily exceeds my skill set. It would be possible to colour code the data points by pollster, but would probably require each party to feature on its own graph. Because the graph is made with data scraped from the wikipedia page in the first place, which doesn’t have sample size in it, I’m calling that too hard. My general observation is that these polls invariably have 800 (sometimes 1000) people in them, because this is the sweet spot power-wise (you’d have to almost double your sample size to reduce the margin of error from 3.5% to 2.5%).
    I have other things I *should* be doing this afternoon, but if I have time, I’ll be in touch.

    Comment by James — November 18, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

  22. “assuming Dunne’s in the bag”

    I would not assume that. He won by the skin of his teeth last time.

    Comment by kuhlmannfoo — November 18, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

  23. # 13 “Any coalition in which you need ACT and the Maori Party to pass your budgets is gonna be a little fraught.”

    Well, passing asset sales should go through.

    Comment by MeToo — November 18, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

  24. I foresee the merger of IRD and WINZ under Labour, as well as more cohesion with the Police Force and the mental health system. Labour is the sort of party that would come up with these ideas to make Government spending more efficient.

    We need David Parker as leader of Labour, so Labour win in 2014. He is a sensitive and caring politician with personal views that are complementary to the way most kiwis think.

    We also need tax incentives for dairy farmers due to the strain of the ridiculous Carbon Emissions Scheme; No GST on fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products and poultry products; a reduction of the excise tax on beer and petrol; superannuation to be reduced to 62 years of age; $15.00 per hour minimum wage; we need the Government to get its forestry industry up and running again, to where it was in the seventies and above that, so that that sector employs 8,000 – 10,000 of our currently unemployed people; we need to reduce personal income taxation; we need to clean up our rivers; we need cheaper tertiary education; we need Labour to back a fairer justice system for all socio-economic people and for people of all ages and races; we need to reintroduce the 15 year minimum requirement to obtain a learner’s license; we need to get back into surplus by 2017; we need to pay our debts off by 2025; we need a party that will put a cap on its borrowing from 2015 onwards; and, most of all, we need a party that will bring in legislation to ensure that the sale of TAXPAYERS ASSETS will NOT go ahead, unless a VOTE has been held and a MAJORITY OF NEW ZEALAND CITIZENS have decided to vote for the sale of their assets.

    Comment by Betty — November 20, 2011 @ 2:54 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Rubric Theme. Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 417 other followers

%d bloggers like this: