The Dim-Post

April 2, 2014

On popularity

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:38 pm

Simon Wilson at Metro writes:

It’s a political truism that when you’re up you’re up, so none of your stumbles knock you off your feet. And when you’re down, every little misstep takes you closer to your grave. Prime Minister John Key is so up, he’s dancing on air. How did this happen?

I blame his critics — his political opponents especially, but also independent commentators. As spectacular mis­judgments go, it’s hard to think of anything greater than the nature of their complaints, especially in the early years of his leadership. He was, they said repeatedly, gauchely inept in his speech patterns and his vocabulary, embarrassingly off kilter in his sense of humour, insultingly dismissive of real concerns about various policies.

The result was profound. Key connected to a whole range of New Zealanders who did not see the world the same way as those critics. Their mockery both reinforced his popularity and discredited the people who engaged in it. And, perhaps because the critics did not change their line of attack, that discrediting came to define them.

It has been clear for at least five years now that when Key is mocked, a large part of the electorate reads the very existence of the ridicule as further evidence that he is the right guy for us and the jokers are irrelevant fools. Labour, in particular, while obviously having had its own problems finding the right leader, has added immeasurably to its malaise by misreading the nature of Key’s popularity.

Key’s breakout, unprecedented levels of popularity are part of the conventional wisdom of New Zealand politics so I decided to look at the data and see if it was a real thing. Here’s a graph showing the Preferred Prime Minister ratings from the TVNZ and TV3 polls for the first 62 weeks of both John Key and Helen Clark’s tenures as PM. For Clark this takes us from late 1999 to April 2005, and for Key it takes us from late 2008 until April 2014, ie right now.

clarkkeypopularity

Key was very popular in his first term, especially compared to Clark and I think his performance here would compare very well compared to any western leader after the Global Financial Crisis. But second term Key – which starts at week 36, pretty much tracks along with second term Clark. He’s a bit more popular but not amazingly so, and not – I think – to a degree that he can’t be criticised because the public love him so much they’ll turn on any of his critics.

The other thing Wilson touches on, and that I’ve seen other people discussing around the traps is the discrepancy between the public’s evident reaction to Cunliffe’s trust and the Oravida scandal. Cunliffe and Labour have dropped in popularity while National has gone up, even though the Oravida issue seemed like a more serious offense. What’s up with that?

Wilson thinks this has to do with Key’s popularity, and other people attribute it to a biased media or an ignorant public. The mistake many politics junkies make here is that they regard Key and Cunliffe as approximate equals. One leads National, the other Labour. Shouldn’t they get equal treatment in the eyes of the public?

But if you’re a member of the non-politics-obsessed public then – I think – you see them very differently. Key has been running the country for almost six years and seems pretty good at it and Cunliffe is this guy you’ve never heard of who wants Key’s job, but the very first thing you heard about him is that he had some kinda dodgy secret trust and wasn’t straight-up about his first policy launch. It’s a bit like having an old friend and a total stranger dressed in a pirate costume both turn up at your house and ask to borrow your car. Who are you going to give the keys to?

Here’s my point. It’s supposed to be hard to change the government. Now, Key is not magical. He’s not unbeatable. Clark almost lost the 2005 election on popularity ratings only marginally lower than his. But the public doesn’t have to give the opposition leader the benefit of the doubt. They don’t have to listen to him. If they’re given the choice between a known quantity who has been running the country for six years and some new guy who seems kind of bumbling and untrustworthy then that’s an incredibly easy choice and people are making it.

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63 Comments »

  1. “not – I think – to a degree that he can’t be criticised because the public love him so much they’ll turn on any of his critics”

    Strawman much?

    Anyway, you seem to be developing a theory whereby an incumbent government has an innate electoral advantage over an opposition. I’m not sure that’s true. More specifically, I doubt that people so disengaged with politics that they’ve literally never even heard of David Cunliffe before are going to be that engaged with the detail of the whole secret trust thing.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 2, 2014 @ 8:43 pm

  2. Lots of interesting stuff in here too:

    http://www.reidresearch.co.nz/TV3+POLL+RESULTS.html

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — April 2, 2014 @ 8:48 pm

  3. “months”, not “weeks”.

    Comment by Kiwi Poll Guy — April 2, 2014 @ 8:52 pm

  4. What’s interesting is Key is less popular than his party, that wasn’t the same for Clark in her end years

    Comment by Mike — April 2, 2014 @ 8:59 pm

  5. A nice guy but cant make decisions. Thats why the Chinas are walking all over us and legal highs are destroying our youth. Winston will get my vote.

    Comment by bosun — April 2, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

  6. I agree with the main premise of this article, which is “the known quantity vrs the new guy” BUT, I would love to see an analysis of the NZ Heralds articles over a 4 week period for bias. Here is Audrey Young today pretty much releasing a National Party press release verbatim, no challenge, no analysis…would she do the same for Labour…No way. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11230900

    And this happen regularly in the NZ Herald, OK, I accept its always been a right wing rag but it has an impact on the polls. So although I agree with this article, the latest poll results also reflect what the polled are reading in the media.

    Comment by Saarbo — April 2, 2014 @ 9:11 pm

  7. So Key was more personally popular than Clark in the first two years of his first term, but thereafter has fairly similar ratings. She won her second election handily against an unpopular opposition leader without much personality, just as he did. She won her third election by a narrow squeak, which he seems likely to do. But people do forget how close Clark came to losing in 2005. Prime Minister Brash was very nearly a happening thing.

    Comment by Dr Foster — April 2, 2014 @ 9:12 pm

  8. Most people i know who don’t follow politics obsessively don’t believe polls, or at least take them with vein hardening pinches of salt.

    The fear that polls will generate some self perpetuating labour will lose meme is just another of the people are stupid/ it’s the media’s fault argument Labour and the Greens like to run.

    Clark was popular i think because she was perceived as honest and no ones fool. She also had Cullen riding shotgun. There’s been few such teams.

    And since I haven’t had a bleat about labour for awhile her goes,

    I became somewhat pathologically disillusioned with Labour primarily because of Chris Carter’s bushshit attack on Key and Geoffrey Palmer over whaling.

    I surmised that Carter was lying and was an unpleasant person and made my opinions known at RedAlert. That was prior to his being air-brushed out of Labour history and I was banned, called a troll etc by the Peoples’s MPs.

    So now Cunliffe is spouting bullshit on whaling and I think that will pretty much determine how i vote.

    He could of easily said something along the lines of – Congratulations to National for keeping Palmer in the job to continue what Labour had set out.

    But no, he had to turn whaling into yet another tribal pissing contest and either lied or didn’t know what he was talking about.

    Comment by NeilM — April 2, 2014 @ 9:37 pm

  9. Good points NeilM. It’s going to be a close fought thing but I’m pretty sure that the 2014 election will be won or lost on the major parties positions on whaling!

    Comment by Richard29 — April 2, 2014 @ 9:58 pm

  10. I don’t see Cunliffe having an Orewa moment like Brash did , also he’s increasingly looking like he has a vague and nodding acquaintance with the truth. I don’t think anyone is particularly surprised when a politicians lies but in the internet age making an fool of yourself lying over something as easily checked as whaling is pretty odd.

    Bosun, “A nice guy but cant make decisions. Thats why the Chinas are walking all over us and legal highs are destroying our youth. Winston will get my vote”
    Okay……. and voting for Winston will change what exactly? Genuine question , my guess is he’ll get in with the nats , get a reasonably high ranking job, make an occasional soundbite , enjoy the perks and do very little of any real substance. You know ,like he has for the past thirty years or so. Happy to be corrected.

    Comment by Del Griffith — April 2, 2014 @ 10:04 pm

  11. I could not agree more with this analysis. For the last 9 years or so I’ve been trying, however poorly, to measure the views of ‘typical New Zealanders’. Most are non-politics-obsessed, and I believe a not inconsiderable number of current National and Labour supporters are not making a decision between National and Labour. They are deciding between John Key and… who’s that guy again?

    Comment by Andrew — April 2, 2014 @ 10:06 pm

  12. Danyl:
    “Key’s breakout, unprecedented levels of popularity are part of the conventional wisdom of New Zealand politics so I decided to look at the data and see if it was a real thing”

    Conclusion – it’s a real thing. You did a direct comparison between Key and one of the most popular and longest serving Prime Ministers that NZ has had in the last few decades and his popularity consistently beats hers for almost the entire time series.

    Comment by Richard29 — April 2, 2014 @ 10:07 pm

  13. You got your weeks and months the wrong way round here.

    Comment by DT — April 2, 2014 @ 10:19 pm

  14. For 3 of the last 9 years, they would have been deciding between John Key and Helen Clark, who had already been PM for 6 years, hardly “who’s that guy again?”

    Comment by wtl — April 2, 2014 @ 10:22 pm

  15. @Richard

    Yep, because popularity is the main and perhaps only thing Key is trying to achieve, along with a few golf games with Obama and grouse shoots with the Queen.

    Comment by sheesh — April 2, 2014 @ 10:26 pm

  16. I agree with everything here except this: “Key has been running the country for almost six years and seems pretty good at it”. If he “seems” good at it, the media aren’t doing their job.

    Comment by pete — April 2, 2014 @ 10:35 pm

  17. I don’t think that the public understand or care about the Oravida “scandal” at all. Most people think that in our foreign trade we should adopt an “NZ Inc” approach. Cabinet ministers ought to hob-nob with foreign rulers and officials in order to boost our exports. In Winston Peters’s term in the portfolio, I bet it was compulsory.

    Comment by Philo — April 2, 2014 @ 10:55 pm

  18. #10: The Opposition nearly had an Orewa Rotary moment with NZ Power. It didn’t stop the asset sales program, but it did strip the gloss off it, and it’s the ideal issue to pull out of the ‘Beltway’ and into the public arena. However, the momentum wasn’t kept up, and the Opposition have struggled to translate it into a game changer.

    Comment by deepred — April 3, 2014 @ 3:56 am

  19. Deepred that wasn’t that close to being an Orewa moment , I suspect a fair amount of people were turned off by announcements that the Greens and Labour would buy back the shares if they ever got into power presumably with money they would in all likelihood have to borrow . The Genesis sale is looking a lot better presumably because people think the likelihood of a change in govt is looking less likely.

    Comment by Del Griffith — April 3, 2014 @ 6:49 am

  20. I believe the the meta-point of this latest of what increasingly appears to be an election year pattern of disingenuous posts on this site is “Vote Green”. Seriously Danyl, if you want to run a smugly pro-Greens site at least have enough balls to just say so.

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 3, 2014 @ 7:25 am

  21. @Sanc: You just noticed this?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 3, 2014 @ 7:52 am

  22. “…@Sanc: You just noticed this..?”

    No.

    But it is starting to get really annoying.

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 3, 2014 @ 8:12 am

  23. @Sanc: Well, it’s no worse than many other thinly-veiled partisan blogs.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — April 3, 2014 @ 8:27 am

  24. These comments only prove that people will see what they want to see in any set of facts. The same blind spots that are preventing Labour from looking honestly in the mirror are quite evidently on display above. Am I partisan? hell yes, but then it is a privilege to have my interpretation of the situation validated by Danyl’s graphs.

    Comment by DavidW — April 3, 2014 @ 8:48 am

  25. I don’t think anyone disagrees with Danyl’s first part. It is the last two paragraphs where he veers into an anti-Labour editorial that leaves a bad taste.

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 3, 2014 @ 9:37 am

  26. I don’t think anyone disagrees with Danyl’s first part. It is the last two paragraphs where he veers into an anti-Labour editorial that leaves a bad taste.

    A “bad taste”? Oh, get over yourself. If it’s hurting your eyes to see people being brutally honest about your party’s leader, you could always go and take your frustrations out on someone’s cat.

    Comment by Flashing Light — April 3, 2014 @ 10:30 am

  27. Well, it’s no worse than many other thinly-veiled partisan blogs.

    Such as? One thing I’m not detecting here is the kind of erotically-charged leg-humping that you get with Audrey Young on Key, or Sanctuary/Semmens on Shane Jones.

    Comment by Joe W — April 3, 2014 @ 11:15 am

  28. “It is the last two paragraphs where he veers into an anti-Labour editorial that leaves a bad taste.”

    sensitive sausage

    Comment by Sacha — April 3, 2014 @ 11:29 am

  29. ” Cunliffe and Labour have dropped in popularity while National has gone up, even though the Oravida issue seemed like a more serious offense. What’s up with that?”

    Oravida wasn’t simple enough (and it wasn’t Key himself drinking the glass of milk). It didn’t fit into a sound bite, so little impact from MSM reporting.

    Comment by rickrowling — April 3, 2014 @ 11:37 am

  30. “the very first thing you heard about him is that he had some kinda dodgy secret trust”

    Actually the first thing a lot of people heard about him was the faux “bro” accent in South Auckland, which I suspect had a big impact on his impression of trustworthiness on the bulk of people who don’t get into politics enough to worry about how campaigns are funded.

    Comment by rickrowling — April 3, 2014 @ 11:43 am

  31. Danyl – this is very good data and a great post. I think I have seen something similar from UMR.

    What it shows, I think, is that the current political situation is not so much about Key being brilliant (the case Simon Wilson makes which, given he signs some of my invoices, I will criticise only indirectly). It is about the main opposition party being in denial and useless.

    By this time after the 1999 change of government (so, early 2005) National had experienced its 20.93% nadir, had a major ideological war between the purists (the Brash faction) and the pragmatists (the English and then Key factions) and had resolved it, ironically, in favour of the former. Brash then went out and appealed to both the right wing and also the then equivalent of the so-called “missing million” with his Orewa speech.

    But, after the 17% poll lift in early 2004 (the equivalent of early 2013 in the current cycle), National drifted down in the polls, and only improved again (from memory) when iwi/kiwi began sometime in early or mid 2005 (the equivalent to around now in the current cycle). Both Orewa and iwi/kiwi, it should be remembered, were massive departures from the Bolger Government on those issues.

    In contrast, Labour, it seems to me anyway, has never accepted the 2008 default the way National accepted 1999 (we never loved Bolger or Shipley the way Labour loved Clark, and the way Nats love Key now).

    Its 2011 defeat was bad but not as bad as National’s in 2002, at the same point in the cycle. Labour has had an ideological war to some extent, but not as vicious as English v Brash, and the winner, Cunliffe, has not been as prepared as Brash was to take a bold policy position to appeal to those the party perceives as having lost (in Brash’s case, those who didn’t like the Bolger/Shipley Treaty settlement process etc – in Cunliffe’s, the “missing million”).

    So I think your post does a lot to help analyse the last few years. What will be interesting is what happens after 2014, which, like 2005, will probably turn out to be a narrow win for the incumbent. In National’s case, after 2005, there was a year of infighting that led to Key becoming leader and a decision to hug the median voter. Even those of us who were ideological suspicious of Key backed him totally because we were sick of losing.

    In Labour’s case, I expect there will be a year of infighting that will lead to a decision that Labour in 2014 was insufficiently left wing. This will lead to a decision to properly appeal to “true believers”, either with Cunliffe or someone else who is believed to be capable of appealing to the base. Labour may then get a big poll boost.

    But overall, having been prompted by your post, I think Labour is operating three years behind National after 1999. So I think, at this stage, that National will win its third term in 2014 and Labour will be humiliated the way National was in 2002. Then Labour will boldly go to the left, excite a lot of the “missing million” and come close in 2017. Then it will find a new leader (that we haven’t even thought of yet) who will be able (like Key) to keep the support of the true believers, while pitching aggressively to the centre. And then Labour will win in 2020.

    This is all stream of consciousness, but thanks for prompting it through your post. That’s when blogs are at their best.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — April 3, 2014 @ 11:49 am

  32. “Such as? One thing I’m not detecting here is the kind of erotically-charged leg-humping that you get with Audrey Young on Key, or Sanctuary/Semmens on Shane Jones.

    I can’t comment on Sanctuary’s tastes but journalists in the gallery who spend a lot of time with politicians develop a lot of respect for MPs who are both professional and successful, irrespective of their party. A PM’s performance gets monitored each day, every day and the polls provide a running indicator of that scrutiny, culminating in the the three yearly poll that counts. Young and her colleague John Armstrong had a great deal of respect for Helen Clark because she prevailed in both the running polls and the poll that counts. They were both slow to pick up on the success of Key as Opposition Leader because of Clark’s record of despatching Shipley, English and Brash. They initially discounted Key’s ability not noticing how he had prevailed in the head to head contest with Michael Cullen as finance spokesman in the run up to the 2005 election. They thought that Clark would be better than she was and underrated Key’s ability (the latter is a whole sad Labour story in itself). Now they have a comparable level of respect for Key, because of his record of success and ability to prevail in the very challenging role of PM. I suspect they will be equally slow to pick up on an effective challenger to Key because of that record. It doesn’t mean they are biased politically, it simply means they favour the politician with the track record of success and it takes a lot to convince them that a challenger will have the goods to prevail. Currently, it doesn’t help that Cunliffe’s performance since becoming leader has been less than stellar, all Dewey Crowe to Key’s Raylan Givens.

    Comment by Tinakori — April 3, 2014 @ 11:50 am

  33. Young and her colleague John Armstrong had a great deal of respect for Helen Clark because she prevailed in both the running polls and the poll that counts. They were both slow to pick up on the success of Key as Opposition Leader because of Clark’s record of despatching Shipley, English and Brash.

    Respect? Hah! Young & the Naked Mole Rat’s pulpits have always been the rectums of those they perceive as holding power.

    Comment by Joe W — April 3, 2014 @ 12:09 pm

  34. Bit early for the sherry, don’t you think?

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 3, 2014 @ 12:14 pm

  35. “Actually the first thing a lot of people heard about him was the faux “bro” accent in South Auckland, ”

    im mystified by this claim – when did it happen?

    Comment by framu — April 3, 2014 @ 12:25 pm

  36. It was West Auckland not South Auckland, but showed him to be totally fake: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qvenqcfX1j8

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — April 3, 2014 @ 12:35 pm

  37. umm – listened to all of that and theres no “bro talk” – he used the word “fullas” (which is pretty common NZ vernacular) and had correct maori pronounciation – is that whats gotten everyone upset?

    really hoots – if you think showing respect for a different language by pronouncing it properly is a bad thing i wouldnt travel to france if was you

    talk about a turd storm in a bullshit teacup

    i still dont see the bro talk – wheres the “cher bro”, “aye cuz”, – isnt that what bro talk is meant to be?

    Comment by framu — April 3, 2014 @ 1:01 pm

  38. Matthew’s ‘faux bro’ meme is one of my favourites. Oh dear, he says ‘fulla’! How utterly orchestrated of him!

    Cunliffe’s voice is strained, but he’s shouting into a mic on a windy day. And saying some damn good things, too! I don’t know how much it helps the right vote to keep posting links to strident, powerful leftwing oratory (albeit punctured by the fact they lost).

    Comment by MsStephanieCatherine — April 3, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

  39. National will win its third term in 2014 and Labour will be humiliated the way National was in 2002

    I suggest you buy a Lotto ticket this week, Matthew, as you’re obviously feeling very lucky.

    Comment by Ross — April 3, 2014 @ 1:45 pm

  40. It was West Auckland not South Auckland, but showed him to be totally fake

    As opposed to the PM mincing down the catwalk. Yeah, nothing fake about that.

    Comment by Ross — April 3, 2014 @ 1:48 pm

  41. “Cunliffe’s voice is strained, but he’s shouting into a mic on a windy day. And saying some damn good things, too!”

    He looks and sounds desperately try hard, above all he doesn’t sound like that is who he is. He sounds like he is trying to be someone else whose identity is a long, long way from his core self. The class warrior pose is just that, a pose, and not an authentic expression of David Cunliffe. Unfortunately for Labour, that is how he seems most of the time. Winston is who he is, so is Key and so are Norman and Turei. Ditto Sharples and Turia. The difference between Cunliffe and these leaders is obvious, They are expressions of both themselves and their parties. Perhaps that’s why he keeps getting tripped up on the details of what he says.

    Comment by Tinakori — April 3, 2014 @ 1:50 pm

  42. tinakori – yeah the rhetoric was very “old labour” – plus the shouting into the wind will never help anyone sound good – still no faux bro though

    Comment by framu — April 3, 2014 @ 2:04 pm

  43. “Young and her colleague John Armstrong had a great deal of respect for Helen Clark because she prevailed in both the running polls and the poll that counts.”

    I’m as blue as they come but I and many thousands of Nats respected her abilities.. she was good at her job and so were so many of her other MPs. I mightn’t have liked her policies but they were competently administered and for many centre voters I suspect they were happy to leave her there till the Nats had a more compelling message.

    JC

    Comment by JC — April 3, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

  44. You can’t claim that the Herald’s coverage of ACT is about their worship of power or respect for the MPs involve. They just really, really, really love ACT.

    They don’t see it that way of course. Their line is that they’re an Auckland newspaper, they report on political issues that are important to their readers and a Wellington guy like me could never imagine how relevant the ACT Party is to the people of that great city.

    Comment by danylmc — April 3, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

  45. “You can’t claim that the Herald’s coverage of ACT is about their worship of power or respect for the MPs involve.”

    I wasn’t making that argument, nor would I.

    Comment by Tinakori — April 3, 2014 @ 2:47 pm

  46. “how relevant the ACT Party is to the people of that great city.” – really?
    For that to be true then act would have to get waaaay more than a freebie in epsom

    If those are indeed the words of the herald then im even more stunned by their collective idiocy than i was before

    I would hazard a guess that act isnt relevant for their readership, let alone a city with a population as large and diverse as auckland

    Comment by framu — April 3, 2014 @ 3:07 pm

  47. I have made much the same point at The Standard from time to time, but no one seems to get it. When labour lost the last election there was a bad taste over perceived excesses and ‘nanny stateism’. They got quite a flogging in that election. The electorate pretty much rejected the attempts to dig up dirt on Key and he came into office on a wave of popularity. People seemed to connect with his relative political inexperience and his spontaneous nature. It seems just plain stupid to me that Labour and it’s supporters have continued the “shonkey’ ‘tricky, ‘donkey’ theme without waking up to the fact they they were being judged and found wanting. Still they seem to want to dig the dirt.
    Cunliffe conversely has trouble connecting because he is trying to project a personna that people generally can’t relate to. It is easier for Joe Public to see Cunliffe as right wing – nice suits, business background, affluent, works through trusts, leafy suburb resident etc, etc, than it is to see him as a champion of the left. It just seems incongruent to me. As much as I hate to admit it, I also thing there is something to this idea that he doesn’t really appeal to women voters. I was a fly on the wall this morning listening to a group of women discussing him, and they all seemed to have a problem with the way he looked!!! I don’t get that but there you go.

    Comment by Pete — April 3, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

  48. ” It was just windy that day!”

    Lol

    Comment by Swan — April 3, 2014 @ 5:19 pm

  49. It’s funny how they love the Act party so much that they frame virtually everything with a left wing narrative.

    Comment by Swan — April 3, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

  50. What a strange little world you must live in

    Comment by Rob — April 3, 2014 @ 7:50 pm

  51. Pete, take a look at the numbers in the reid polling on what voters actually think about Key and Cunliffe.

    On ‘out of touch with ordinary people’ guess what you imagine the numbers are, given:

    Cunliffe conversely has trouble connecting because he is trying to project a personna that people generally can’t relate to. It is easier for Joe Public to see Cunliffe as right wing – nice suits, business background, affluent, works through trusts, leafy suburb resident etc, etc, than it is to see him as a champion of the left.

    and now go look at the actual numbers:

    http://www.reidresearch.co.nz/TV3+POLL+RESULTS.html

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — April 3, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

  52. Sorry Rob I should have been more specific with my language:

    Authoritarian, state-centric (“government responsible for everything”), paternalistic, pro central planning, etc

    Comment by Swan — April 3, 2014 @ 8:58 pm

  53. Pascal, that Reid Labour Leader graph sports a few errors – claiming Cunliffe became leader in April 2013 when it was Sept 2013 and missing out David Shearer as Labour leader entirely. Also many of the leadership values aren’t entered in the latest date – jan 14. Also in the preferred PM graph there’s no David Cunliffe at all.

    What the heck is going on there? I hope the Reid polling and data management is handled better than those graphs.

    Comment by nigelsagentinthefield — April 3, 2014 @ 9:28 pm

  54. It could be they don’t ask every question at every poll.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — April 3, 2014 @ 9:35 pm

  55. The most interesting aspect of the Reid poll is the steady downward trend of Key’s personal popularity.

    Comment by Alex Braae — April 3, 2014 @ 10:14 pm

  56. Swan @52: Authoritarian, state-centric (“government responsible for everything”), paternalistic, pro central planning, etc

    Is that your definition of left wing? That seems a bit eccentric.

    Comment by RJL — April 4, 2014 @ 9:15 am

  57. Swan @52: Authoritarian, state-centric (“government responsible for everything”), paternalistic, pro central planning, etc

    Apart from taking responsibility, you’ve nailed Brownlee’s approach to the Chch “rebuild”.

    Comment by Joe W — April 4, 2014 @ 9:45 am

  58. Yes maybe left wing wasn’t the correct term – opposite of the Classical liberal quadrant might be better.

    Comment by Swan — April 4, 2014 @ 10:00 am

  59. @52 Wow Id imagine that Sinagpore’s PAP and ex cheif minister Lee would be most surprised to hear that they were left wing…

    Comment by Ian — April 4, 2014 @ 10:14 am

  60. Wow Id imagine that Sinagpore’s PAP and ex cheif minister Lee would be most surprised to hear that they were left wing…

    The People’s Action Party was a member of the Socialist International until 1976.

    Comment by Joe W — April 4, 2014 @ 10:18 am

  61. Authoritarian, state-centric (“government responsible for everything”), paternalistic, pro central planning, etc

    Pretty elegant description description of fascism 20th century fascism also.

    Comment by Gregor W — April 4, 2014 @ 11:31 am

  62. As a matter of fact, the PAP quit the Socialist Int’l after the Dutch Labour Party moved to kick it out on the grounds the PAP was too censorship-happy. In practice the PAP would be better suited to the Int’l Democrat Union.

    Comment by deepred — April 4, 2014 @ 9:37 pm

  63. The’ left’ have and continue to underestimate Key. How many Labour leaders has he seen off so far? – The opposition have painted themselves into a corner. It’s not his ‘popularity’ (even that infers a kind of pompous dismissiveness) it’s more ‘the lefts’ self-inflicted inability to formulate a strategy partly based on the fear of appearing to have to admit what most ‘non-political’ others will tell them – that Key has consistently made them look like chumps.

    Comment by Lee C — April 6, 2014 @ 7:34 pm


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