The Dim-Post

October 27, 2012

It is not the policy of the Dim-Post to comment on individual polls

Filed under: Politics,polls — danylmc @ 8:24 am

But the latest Roy Morgan (with Labour down and National up, and the Roy Morgan sample size seems to get smaller with each poll, and is now just over 800) finds that Labour/Greens/New Zealand First is likely to win an election.

On current settings, isn’t a National-New Zealand First coalition just as likely as a Labour/Greens/New Zealand First coalition? Possibly more so. Given the dynamics of the coalition talks, in which the Greens would have far more seats than New Zealand First, but Winston Peters would have far more leverage than Russel Norman – because Peters can take his votes to National and Norman can’t – it’s hard to imagine Shearer (or whoever) putting together a functional government that lasts for three years. John Key probably won’t have any other significant coalition partners to worry about. He might have the Conservatives, but they’d probably be a luxury (like United Future during his last term) and they’d be smaller than New Zealand First.


  1. Also those polled were a cross section of 1026 people aged over 14 years. Surely these pollsters should only factor the views of people who can actually vote. That said, it is a shocker of a poll for Labour, especially after two months of National struggling to maintain governance credibility.

    Comment by Selwyn — October 27, 2012 @ 8:33 am

  2. “The latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Government Confidence Rating is up 4pts to 110 with 49% (up 5%) of New Zealanders saying New Zealand is ‘heading in the right direction’ compared to 39% (up 1%) that say New Zealand is ‘heading in the wrong direction’.”

    This comment would likely indicate voters would gravitate to the status quo at election, when you had to actually mark the ballot paper instead of just tell a pollster your opinion.

    Comment by gn35 — October 27, 2012 @ 9:10 am

  3. A question for posters: Who has a landline? We don’t – naked broadband with skype and mobile all the way.

    Comment by Sanctuary — October 27, 2012 @ 10:26 am

  4. The Roy Morgan confidence question is loaded in such a way that it is meaningless except for watching trends. The question asked is not “heading in the wrong direction” but “seriously heading in the wrong direction.” However, it still seems clear from these polls that David Shearer was the wrong choice as Labour leader. This government must be one of the worst this country has ever endured yet Labour is still not being seen as viable alternative by enough of the population to ensure a change of government. Most of caucus seem to lack vision, and a several seem to be drifting aimlessly. Perhaps Cunliffe was unpopular because he was going to demand a bit more from his caucus.

    Comment by Karen — October 27, 2012 @ 10:40 am

  5. What Karen said.

    It’s the weekend, I can’t be bothered to go on loop-rant about Labour, they aren’t worth it, and there’s nothing more to say, except the obvious, namely ..

    Opinion on David Shearer is divided: On one hand, a majority of the Labour caucus (for whatever reason, probably unrelated to actually winning the election).

    On the other hand, everyone else. Including those pesky voters. Like they would know! Or matter.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — October 27, 2012 @ 11:16 am

  6. The problem here is that you cannot predict a coalition between Labour/Greens/NZ First, because Winston Peters is likely to go with National. Not that he especially likes them in the House of Representatives at the moment; it’s just that over the past twenty years or so, whatever you’ve been expecting him to do, he does the complete opposite. It’s not altogether loopy, he was once Deputy Prime Minister; however, it is not an encouraging sign for centrist thinkers that may be Labour-leaning to vote for NZ First.

    Comment by Dan — October 27, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

  7. the Greens would have far more seats than New Zealand First, but Winston Peters would have far more leverage than Russel Norman – because Peters can take his votes to National and Norman can’t

    I’ve been of the impression that although obviously different, Labour and the Greens agree on more than either does with NZ First, so it shouldn’t necessarily be unusual to see NZF appear to get more concessions if the Greens already have much of what they want anyway.

    Hypothetically if Labour were divided down the middle to form two identical parties that split the Labour vote exactly, it’d appear as if all concessions were going to an outside party despite Labour 1 and Labour 2 each having a bigger share, but only because those two parties agreed on the important stuff to begin with.

    Comment by izogi — October 27, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

  8. “A question for posters: Who has a landline?”

    98% of the population, according to the most recent MSD social report – which was admittedly a couple of years back, but I doubt we’ve seen a statistically significant plummet in landline usage since then. The idea landline usage has dropped is a canard – its actually increased since the mid-1990s (it was around 96% at the time of the 1996 election, from memory).

    Party shills confronted with a poll they don’t like tend to trot out some reason their supporters don’t answer pollsters – I remember Prebble arguing Act supporters were predominantly self employed & living on their cellphones. I remember some Nats finding similar excuses in 2001-03.

    Its whistling in the dark stuff.

    That said, this is only one poll.

    Comment by Rob Hosking — October 27, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

  9. Sanctuary – where do you get naked broadband from? I’m about to move, and neither need nor want a landline.

    Comment by terryg — October 27, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

  10. “98% of the population, according to the most recent MSD social report”

    I’m wondering if they’re possibly counting people with active lines running into their homes, even if there’s no voice phone account. The last time I had a land-line, we almost never had a working phone plugged into it. It was only there for ADSL, and because at the time there was no option of having internet without a phone line.

    If they’re not already, I’m interested in what sort of costing it’d be for polling companies to start spamming mobiles as part of what they do. I’d have thought by now that at least one of the companies might have struck some deal with the major telecommunications providers to get cheap calls in bulk. For the telcos it’d be free money.

    Comment by izogi — October 27, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

  11. Peters and NZ First will obviously prefer Labour. But if the Greens are there Peters and NZ FIrst will hang out for whatever is best for Peters. It is a sad state of affairs really but naked greed will be more important than achieving what is important for our country.

    Comment by mickysavagemickysavage — October 27, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

  12. Eek it seems that I have developed a stutter …

    Comment by mickysavage — October 27, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

  13. And my comment that Peters in a Labour Green coalition would be poisonous and give him reason to go with National has disappeared …

    Comment by mickysavage — October 27, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

  14. Hi izogi

    The problem with calling cell phones doesn’t really lie in the cost of calls. For a polling company, calling a cell phone doesn’t cost that much more than calling a landline. The problem is the complexity and cost of employing dual sampling frames when the proportion of cell phone users without a landline is still very low. If the purpose of calling cell phones is to reduce non-coverage of likely voters, then you may actually need to ‘screen out’ those you call on cell phones who also have a landline (because they are already covered by the landline sample frame).

    If we assume 6% of eligible voters have cell phones and no landline, that means that 94% of the people you call on a cell phone will not be eligible to take part (again, because they are already covered by the landline sample frame). This is where the cost would really begin to build up – all those interviewer hours required just to screen people out (eek!).

    This is not the only way to reduce non-coverage – but it’s actually one of the more straight forward and ‘statistically pure’ ways (ie, you can develop some sort of weighting scheme, but the more you weight, the greater the design effect (which increases the margin or error, and decreased the accuracy of a poll).

    To make things more complex:

    – Some people have more than one cellphone, meaning that the probability of them being called is higher, so additional weighting would need to be applied to adjust for the probability of selection (you may notice that some polls weight by household size and the number of landlines connected to a house – this is adjusting for the probability of section)

    – There are a lot of cell phone numbers that are out of use, but when they are called they still go through to a voice mail. Unlike landlines (which you can ‘ping’ to test the connection), it is very difficult (ie, near impossible) to determine if there is actually an eligible person at the end of a number, so you’ve got no measure of the success rate of your sampling approach (ie, refusal rates, response rates, qualifier rates etc).

    – At the moment such a small proportion of New Zealanders have a cell phone with no landline that party support would need to be DRAMATICALLY different among those people for this particular type of non-coverage to influence the poll results for party vote (eg, support for Labour among cell phone only voters may need to be TWICE what it is among landline voters for the party vote result to shift by more than, say, the margin of error).

    When the proportion of people with cell phones and no landline is considerably larger than it is today (like it is in some other countries), then it will definitely make sense to employ a dual sampling frame approach. In NZ though (at least in 2011) most pollsters got things pretty close to the election day result so this would suggest non-coverage of cell phone only voters isn’t a big issue just yet. If cell phone plans get cheaper, then polling approaches will probably need to change to keep up.

    Just my opinion of course. Excuse my typos – it’s late. 🙂


    Comment by Guess the pollster :) — October 27, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

  15. Terryg – you can get naked BB from pretty much any RSP.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 27, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

  16. Peters probably would go with National which makes Labour’s sucking up to him all the more pathetic.

    Comment by NeilM — October 27, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

  17. I can not see why NZ First could possibly form a coalition with Green/Labour , it would be the junior party..To me it stands out like dog’s balls that NZ First 8% probably would go with the status quo.
    NZ Nat and ministerial position for Peters. I notice I predict is giving John Key only 50% chance of f leading into next election
    There would be ructions over Maori issues I suppose. But if you look at the older voter base they are more likely conservative, would go with NZNat and less likely to tolerate Green ideas like printing money

    Comment by paul scott — October 27, 2012 @ 11:19 pm

  18. Like Rob H said – this is just one poll! The rise in Nats support is probably just random variation – just the pollsters happened to grab a few more Nat supporters than the last few polls. We’ll see over the next few polls.

    That said, Labour are dire enough to lose. Shearer is clearly less capable than Goff (unsurprising, given Goff’s apprenticeship spanned 3 decades!) at controlling his caucus. To be expected, given the Labour caucus are such a pack of shameful, incompetent, timeserving, lickspittle backstabbers, they would put a crew of Somali pirates to shame. But that doesn’t help Shearer convince the public Labour are capable of forming a coalition govt with themselves, let alone another party or three…

    People seem to be assuming NZ First and Conservatives get over the 5% threshold, which I am far less sure of. Assuming ACT are toast, that leaves Key with Maori Party (3) plus Dunne, giving Nats+4. Hone and Greens are stuck with Labour, so Shearer does need to secure Winston’s support, and either cuddle up to Tariana and Pita, or try to knock out Dunne and another Maori Party MP or two. A shrewd leader would do a deal with Mana to not stand competing candidates in key seats, so helping Annette Sykes knock out Te Ururoa Flavell, and possibly Pita in Tamaki Makaurau. Guaranteed votes to the left of Labour at the expense of a Key ally.

    But does this all matter, when Labour’s real problem is not lack of policy – they have that in spades – but the fact that they can’t talk about their policies, because they are still wedded to the hugely unpopular Rogernomics free market capitalism which got us in the GFC, and which Key has shown won’t get us out of it?

    Comment by bob — October 28, 2012 @ 12:50 am

  19. “the Labour caucus are such a pack of shameful, incompetent, timeserving, lickspittle backstabbers”

    I have to say that I think only Shearer, Robertson, Cunliffe, Goff, and King fall into that category. Cosgrove is close to that. Therefore, their salvation must be Parker because it probably won’t be any of their other politicians. Parker is the only one that has made it through into the limelight unscathed.

    Comment by Dan — October 28, 2012 @ 2:20 am

  20. Parker is the only one that has made it through into the limelight unscathed.

    Events in his personal life don’t give the impression of someone who places a high value on loyalty or personal integrity. Also, did you forget Mallard or what?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — October 28, 2012 @ 8:04 am

  21. Bob, I get the impression that Somali pirates are pretty well organised and effective at what they do. Certainly more so than the New Zealand Labour Party.

    Comment by Dr Foster — October 28, 2012 @ 10:15 am

  22. Thanks Andrew#14. That makes a lot more sense.

    Comment by izogi — October 28, 2012 @ 11:34 am

  23. Psycho Milt, Mallard got a free pass on this one because of his lisp. I’m not being funny, something like that is hard.

    What do you mean when you say that “events in his personal life don’t give the impression of someone who places a high value on loyalty or personal integrity”

    Comment by Dan — October 28, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

  24. Sorry, ignore it – idle gossip. I thought this stuff was public knowledge, but on googling it I see it isn’t.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — October 28, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

  25. “Sorry, ignore it … idle gossip.”

    No, seriously, time to disclose what you know. I thought he was a really nice respectable guy. He and Cosgrove came to visit at a course I was doing and Cosgrove seemed like a prick and was quite unpopular with a couple of the other students because of dealings they had had with him previously, but Parker made it a point to converse with me and seemed interested in what I had to say.

    Comment by Dan — October 28, 2012 @ 3:45 pm

  26. Ahem! How far away is the next general election?

    How much does this poll matter? San Fairy Ann.

    Labour has a conference next month to figure out how to get the voters that once bothered to vote for them to even turn up at the polling booth.

    Now that conference is going to have more effect than a piddling little poll 2 years out from an election.

    Danyl you must have been bored in raising this blog. Sigh.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — October 28, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

  27. Don’t be a tool, Dan.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 28, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

  28. Um? Ditto?

    Comment by Dan — October 28, 2012 @ 11:15 pm

  29. >it’s hard to imagine Shearer (or whoever) putting together a functional government that lasts for three years.

    He’s got two more years and a lot more polls, before then. To have moved in only one year from losing the election to now having a viable winning coalition isn’t too bad. Mostly it’s from National fucking up, though. Which seems to be a working game plan. I’d quite underrated just how incompetent National has proved to be. In the long run, in the eyes of their own supporters, that’s probably a far greater evil than just being evil.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — October 29, 2012 @ 10:06 am

  30. No, seriously, time to disclose what you know.

    Like I say, don’t be a tool.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 29, 2012 @ 10:49 am

  31. What’s wrong with that?

    Comment by Dan — October 29, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

  32. Gordon Campbell has some very interesting things to say on this issue:

    FWIW I think Shearer will have to go. Look at the mess he’s made while enjoying a media honeymoon. Can you imagine what he’d be like under constant pressure and in the spotlight 24/7 in, say, an election campaign? If Shearer stays Labour is looking at low twenties if they’re lucky.

    Comment by Big Sam — October 29, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

  33. What’s wrong with that?

    The part where you seem to claim some sort of right to know what idle gossip PMilt has heard, even after he indicated he didn’t feel comfortable repeating it on account of it being idle gossip.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — October 29, 2012 @ 7:19 pm

  34. Not a right, more of an interest given that the person came across in a positive light to me.

    Also, that kind of banter : “No, seriously, time to disclose what you know”, which seems to have irritated some on this thread, is commonly known in western countries as humour.

    Also, responsibility lies with the people that hint at something to check first if they want to share it or not before alluding to something about someone. Otherwise they will probably continue to receive requests to share it, or questions relating to why they post something that seemed promising but wasn’t.

    Comment by Dan — October 29, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

  35. “Winston Peters would have far more leverage than Russel Norman – because Peters can take his votes to National and Norman can’t”

    yes Norman can.

    Comment by Hugh — October 30, 2012 @ 4:36 am

  36. “It’s hard to imagine Shearer (or whoever) putting together a functional government that lasts for three years”

    Have you changed sides, Danyl? What about Robertson?

    Comment by Dan — November 3, 2012 @ 12:27 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: Logo

You are commenting using your 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

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: