The Dim-Post

November 13, 2015

A reminder that people really like Key

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 6:10 am

In the 2014 New Zealand Electoral Survey – taken shortly after the election – researchers asked respondents for their opinion on our political leaders. Here’s the chart for Key:

key

People in the ‘Strongly dislike’ column would all like to think that the events of the last few days have shifted that distribution to the left. Maybe it has, but there’s no particular reason for that to be the case, and it seems just as plausible to me that it’s the other way and that more people like Key now, or, maybe, that some people have diverged from the centre.

Also, too, if you feel frustrated that Key is so popular and think that should change, I should remind you that complaining about him on twitter is the least meaningful way you can effect that change. Join Labour or the Greens, and/or donate money to them, and/or volunteer, and/or donate money to a rape crisis centre. Most of the people engaged in political social media debates are in the far left-most column or the far right-hand column and aren’t persuadable.

49 Comments »

  1. Well said. It was a terrible mistaken for the opposition to frame this issue was, for example, Turei vs Key. Key wins any such X v Key battle. A better political tactic is how National handled Clark’s mad “cancerous” comments.

    On Twitter and social media genrally, they are Donkey Kong for grown ups (showing my age). A bit of addictive fun.

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — November 13, 2015 @ 6:25 am

  2. Are you seriously suggesting joining Labour is just as useful to bringing down Key as joining the Greens? Given the general ineffectiveness of Labour’s attempts to hold Key to account in the last couple of months (to say nothing of the seven years since 2008) that seems pretty charitable.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — November 13, 2015 @ 6:31 am

  3. People my think Key is a nice guy to have a joke and a beer with, but as one tweeter asked, using an old war metaphor, would they like him in the trenches beside them. The answer may be different

    Comment by A Brainy Deal — November 13, 2015 @ 6:42 am

  4. Most of the people engaged in political social media debates are in the far left-most column or the far right-hand column and aren’t persuadable.

    The “don’t knows” are not persuadable?

    (Graeme Edgeler has sub-contracted me to take care of some of the more low-hanging fruit around the blogosphere.)

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 13, 2015 @ 7:01 am

  5. Great post Danyl. Twitter is nothing more than a way to vent and let off steam.

    Just donated 20 bucks to rape crisis Wellington.

    Comment by Phil — November 13, 2015 @ 7:03 am

  6. I think that metaphor may fairly be leveled at practically everyone in Parliament. and the winner is …… Winston Peters!

    Comment by Lee Clark — November 13, 2015 @ 7:03 am

  7. Call me old fashioned, but the more I see of John Key’s character, the more I cringe at his ethics and given the support he retains, the more I suspect that his popularity is from people who aspire to get what he got. And that is a big worry for our future society.

    Comment by wjohnallen — November 13, 2015 @ 7:08 am

  8. Back when Muldoon’s increasingly swinish aspect threatened to eclipse his once highly praised mastery of the television medium, the fine minds of that era counseled that the lumpenproles would simply conclude that a pig at the helm was just the ticket for trying times.

    Comment by Joe W — November 13, 2015 @ 7:15 am

  9. I can’t stand twitter. Five second reading for the concentration impaired. Deciding not to go onto twitter was probably the best technology/social media decision I’ve made in the last decade – and I LOVE my social media. I have a pretty diverse social group, and the aspirational Key admirers tend to put on their best passive aggressive face and switch off when Key is criticised. He is THEIR man, who has the three B dream plus some and as a bonus legitimises their prejudices by not giving a shit about anyone who isn’t like them. For them it is a very class based world view, where “the rich man is in his castle and the poor man is at his gate, the Lord God made them all and ordered their estate”. But that same 21.3% who strongly admire Key also aligns almost exactly with the core National vote, so all Key has done is cement their unquestioning obedience.

    It is the 6, 7 and 8s on the X axis on that list that are slowly deserting Key. In particular, I suggest Key is increasingly vulnerable amongst women voters. A clever opposition would craft constant dogwhistles attacks against Key aimed at those voters, who until seven years ago voted heavily left – so that suggests they are more open to persuasion to change their vote.

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 13, 2015 @ 7:18 am

  10. Lots of people might like Key but that doesn’t make him an honest, moral or decent person.

    Comment by Andrew R — November 13, 2015 @ 7:18 am

  11. “A clever opposition would craft constant dogwhistles attacks against Key aimed at those voters, who until seven years ago voted heavily left – so that suggests they are more open to persuasion to change their vote.”

    …perhaps by apologising for being a man, getting in a froth about ponytails and such … so far, so good. Interestingly, in my line of work, I encounter a large number of people who ‘hate’ John Key – and I can’t begin to tell you what their attitudes towards women are, and the last guy I heard loudly declaiming John Key at the kids’ sports day is locally considered a drunkard with a penchant for domestic violence against his wife and kid.

    … is that what you meant by ‘dogwhistle’?

    The real point I’d like to suggest, is that villifying Key is a lazy man’s attempt to get stuff without working for it. The ‘opposition’ have been attempting ad hominem personalised character assassination of Key since he came to prominence, and it has signally failed.

    I put it to you, for debate – that tactic, has in fact solidified his support amongst the wavering voter, has been a fundamentally flawed strategy by the opposing interests, and which is in danger of putting John Key into pole position next election. I mean if it has been tried for getting onto a decade and has failed, ,,

    Wasn’t it Einstein who made some remark about insanity and doing the same thing over and again and expecting different results?

    Comment by Lee Clark — November 13, 2015 @ 7:42 am

  12. So, Danyl, what would persuade you to become a Labour voter? Or are you one of the unpersuadables?

    Comment by Ross — November 13, 2015 @ 7:49 am

  13. History is full of examples of people and perspectives being seen as unassailable at the time, opposed only by a critical minority. Try finding their supporters now. (You know, everyone loved Mandela and hated Joe McCarthy and said Dubya was wrong on Iraq and they marched for civil rights and supported nuclear-free NZ and the Guildford Four and marriage equality and Kate Sheppard and … except, no they bloody didn’t).

    If you need to wait until the majority have moved before you do, you’re only going to wait longer. Nobody should be deluded about voters’ conservative instincts, and Key’s proven ability to play to them. But nobody should doubt who wins in the end – and how history will judge John Key’s emptiness.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — November 13, 2015 @ 7:53 am

  14. People who like Key have no time for the politics as portrayed on the evening news every night – it’s all part of the ‘they’re just playing the game’ narrative. So I’d say joining one of those parties is one of the least effective things you could do. Twitter is likely pointless, but I’d say a clever meme on Facebook has more sway on the general voter than anything Labour do or say in Parliament.

    Comment by James — November 13, 2015 @ 8:50 am

  15. I’m not sure how joining two parties whose use of rape as a political football is even more cynical and egregious than Key’s is going to help. Dunne is the only politician who seems to be trying to behave with a sense of dignity on this issue. Donating to rape crisis and woman’s refuge is certainly a better approach.

    Comment by rsmsingers — November 13, 2015 @ 9:04 am

  16. Daryl, Frank Macasky has been tracking Key’s popularity and get what? It has been falling. Down from around 59 to about 40. However the msm still highlight his “popularity” and this becomes the meme.

    I actually think the last week, may be Key’s undoing. Nobody much is supporting him in the media (very unusual) and as more info comes out like no rapists on xmas island and the army guy who hasn’t committed a crime, it exposes him as a liar. Middle NZ and your typical Kiwi bloke has a lot of time for soldiers.
    They may well not be too pleased with JK over this.

    Comment by anker — November 13, 2015 @ 9:13 am

  17. One of Key’s biggest assets is the people who dislike him intensely and their behaviour. Witness the last few days and the almost indecent excitement at the possibility the Great Satan had screwed up. The behaviour of his enemies does more to confirm a voter’s allegiance to Key than any National propaganda. This is of course the unmentionable – on this site anyway – K** D********** S*******. It’s way, way past the variations experienced by other successful leaders like Helen Clark and Sir Robert Muldoon.

    Comment by Tinakori — November 13, 2015 @ 9:16 am

  18. And who would rather have in the trenches. The labour party has proved they are more likely to shoot yourself in the back before you go over the top!

    Comment by rjs131 — November 13, 2015 @ 9:16 am

  19. Yes.

    And the opposition should ignore those who really like John Key. They should also ignore those who really dislike him (approximately 20% of the population). They should focus on the 25% who are neutral, or slightly positive. These people are aware of character faults, but conclude that there is good and that this makes him at least even.

    Working out what the few good things these people see are, and then relentlessly targeting those few things, would be a key opposition strategy.

    Comment by Wurble — November 13, 2015 @ 9:24 am

  20. It has of course been a year since that poll, and it’s interesting to look at the comments on the various Facebook pages. People get really fluffed up about him, and their number and vociferousness seems to have increased. I don’t remember it being like this two years ago.

    Comment by Wurble — November 13, 2015 @ 9:28 am

  21. John Key counselled against third-term arrogance after the election and then he went on to ignore his own advice. I think, like his predecessors in government, he will discover that his unassailability is steadily eroding with awkward events like the Saudi sheepfarm, the soldier locked up and abandoned in Oz for being friendly with the wrong people or his desperation to please Cameron Slater. No doubt Helen Clark couldn’t fathom how she could apparently lose an election because the voters objected to being told to use a smaller shower head.
    There does need to be a credible alternative waiting in the wings, though, and we’re still waiting!

    Comment by McNulty — November 13, 2015 @ 10:09 am

  22. You are no longer fit to lead.

    Step down, Mr Key.

    Comment by the Bruce — November 13, 2015 @ 10:20 am

  23. I would include Commercial Radio as social Twitter-like yet Key plays on it constantly, and it seems to work.

    Comment by ianmac40 — November 13, 2015 @ 10:26 am

  24. I would include Commercial Radio as social Twitter-like yet Key plays on it constantly, and it seems to work.

    I’m surprised that with a Woman’s Weekly editor as the head of their media team that they haven’t been able to crack radio sufficiently yet. Get Andrew and Grant and Jacinta on a bunch of stations, talking to millions of New Zealanders.

    Comment by Wurble — November 13, 2015 @ 10:29 am

  25. I would include Commercial Radio as social Twitter-like yet Key plays on it constantly, and it seems to work.

    I dunno. I have about 4,300 people following me on twitter which is pretty high for a leftie political type. But if I go back and look at comments I made a couple days ago that got favorited and retweeted by a bunch of people, the total number of engagements is still only 1500 people. That’s not very many. A radio station would have to be pretty tiny to have that few listeners.

    Comment by danylmc — November 13, 2015 @ 10:46 am

  26. Wasn’t it Einstein who made some remark about insanity and doing the same thing over and again and expecting different results?

    Comment by Lee Clark — November 13, 2015 @ 7:42 am

    No.

    Comment by BB — November 13, 2015 @ 11:02 am

  27. The real harm of twitter is that Labour MPs are using it to gauge what the mood of the man on the street is and become emboldened with attack lines that are so far off the mark it isn’t funny.

    Key is brilliant at reading the mood of the country on any particular issue (perhaps with some polling help) and this detainee thing will prove the point. The majority of kiwis couldn’t give a flying fuck about these ratbags holed up on Christmas Island.

    I suspect that Labour politicians do venture out from the left wing wankfests on twitter and facebook occasionally, but I suspect they just refused to believe what they see.

    Until they can start understanding the popular mood they are fucked.

    Comment by King Kong — November 13, 2015 @ 11:15 am

  28. “You are no longer fit to lead.”

    Did you think he was fit to lead up until now?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — November 13, 2015 @ 11:23 am

  29. The majority of kiwis couldn’t give a flying fuck about these ratbags holed up on Christmas Island.

    You think that. Facebook comments on ZB and RadioLive posts split about 50/50. A lot of ordinary New Zealanders are disturbed by this issue.

    Labour MPs are using it to gauge what the mood of the man on the street is

    Opposition MPs use Twitter to vent, and to put their thinking out directly. It’s only a problem if it moves from being a distraction to an occupation. There are not many for whom this is true.

    Comment by Wurble — November 13, 2015 @ 11:25 am

  30. Key is brilliant at reading the mood of the country on any particular issue

    I wouldn’t be so sure. How’s that flag referendum going?

    Comment by Ross — November 13, 2015 @ 11:37 am

  31. 73% of votes on RadioLive’s homepage are for John Key to give an apology for his “backing rapists” comments.

    Unless the page is predominently visited by the wittering classes, that says a fair amount.

    Comment by Wurble — November 13, 2015 @ 11:41 am

  32. Brilliant at reading the mood of the people John Key is not. The flag referendum, sale of the electricity generators, changes to the education system…. No, what he is brilliant at is taking calculated risks and he has learned that many a time, his risks pay off. That is how he earned his fortune and what he continues to do as PM. And he does that with other people’s money. He combines that risk-taking approach with a pragmatism that enables him to do whatever he has to do, to get his way. Increasingly often now, his way is not the way of the majority of people but he just barges on. It is an attitude that is leading to his downfall.

    Comment by wjohnallen — November 13, 2015 @ 11:49 am

  33. It’s way, way past the variations experienced by other successful leaders like Helen Clark and Sir Robert Muldoon.

    It is? Maybe I missed the bit where deranged sufferers of this syndrome put up billboards comparing Key to Mugabe and other dictators?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — November 13, 2015 @ 11:54 am

  34. Key is brilliant at reading the mood of the country on any particular issue

    He certainly has been. But Key 2006 or Key 2011 is not Key 2015. Nobody would be, that’s what power does (see countless leaders, in any democracy you care to name, including ours). You start to believe your bubble of courtiers is the public at large.

    A pertinent example, in light of current events: Brash 2005 lost partly because he performed poorly with women voters. Key changed that – and so National won.

    If Key 2008 had behaved like Key 2015, he wouldn’t have.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — November 13, 2015 @ 12:02 pm

  35. IMHO if Key was polling well on this issue, Farrar would have had more than one, shirt, post on it.

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 13, 2015 @ 1:02 pm

  36. *shirt = short

    Comment by Sanctuary — November 13, 2015 @ 1:03 pm

  37. I don’t think that concentrating on Key is going to result in a change of govt.

    Rather it seems to me the opposition needs a high emotional valence issue that really effects a lot of people – not the sort of issue that gets the a few in the social media excited.

    There is one I can think of that might. Depends if Labour is listening.

    But then there would still be the problem of NZF being a potential spoiler in forming a govt.

    Comment by NeilM — November 13, 2015 @ 1:14 pm

  38. No.

    Comment by BB — November 13, 2015 @ 11:02 am

    BB – Are you Winston Peters?

    Comment by Lee Clark — November 13, 2015 @ 3:47 pm

  39. “But then there would still be the problem of NZF being a potential spoiler in forming a govt.”

    Left-leaning Labour supporters generally prefer the Greens as a partner without NZ First. Right-leaning Labour supporters and floating voters generally prefer the inverse, or otherwise anything that doesn’t wag the dog (ie, a mirror flip of the Key Govt).

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — November 13, 2015 @ 4:36 pm

  40. “……billboards comparing Key to Mugabe and other dictators?”

    Must have missed those but I did note the ginormous German leading chants of Fuck John Key in the sweaty beerhall in the run up to the last election.

    Comment by Tinakori — November 13, 2015 @ 7:29 pm

  41. @ Tinakori. Is that really the best you’ve got? A lame Godwin about some kids at a hiphop gig. My god.

    It’s like you’ve never been seen hanging out in kiwiblog comments if that video reminded you of fascism.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — November 13, 2015 @ 8:18 pm

  42. “I don’t think that concentrating on Key is going to result in a change of govt.”

    Neither. Waiting out ongoing direct personal attacks until audience boredom sets in, then emerging on the other side with massive personal popularity and the critics somehow being labelled as partisan villains, is something the PM is really really good at, however he manages to do it.

    Repeatedly making every concern and every issue about the specific figurehead at the top, instead of talking more about the issues and a failing government, is probably doing exactly what National’s strategists want the critics to do. Every argument becomes a variant of how much people like or hate or trust or distrust the Prime Minister.

    Comment by izogi — November 13, 2015 @ 11:30 pm

  43. I compiled the numbers from the 2008, 2011, and 2014 electoral survey, and it makes interesting reading.

    Danyl, feel free to use the graph if you want.

    Comment by greys — November 13, 2015 @ 11:46 pm

  44. Those numbers are unbelievable! I didn’t think people liked politicians. I can’t think of many politicians, past or present, I would rate above a 5. Certainly none of the current crop.

    Comment by Matthew W — November 14, 2015 @ 5:55 am

  45. This post has encouraged me to publish a (tragically) half-completed old draft post that I wrote (during last year’s election campaign) on Key’s declining popularity. Here … http://sub-z-p.blogspot.co.nz/

    Despite a clear majority (roughly 60%) liking Key to one degree or another (at the time of the Election) in this NZES data, bear in mind that the Preferred PM polls of September 2014 generally put him in the mid-40s (and currently have him on 39-40%).

    Comment by swordfish — November 14, 2015 @ 8:37 am

  46. Good to see Frank Macskasy analysing Key’s popularity over recent months. But, I’ll just point out that I’ve been making comments on the slow erosion of Key’s standing in the polls for a few years now (particularly on The Standard and Brian Edwards Media). (Just in case anyone thinks I’m stealing Frank’s thunder here)

    Comment by swordfish — November 14, 2015 @ 8:54 am

  47. Out of curiosity I’ve also compiled results for the Labour leaders from the same NZ electoral surveys.
    The comparison is interesting to say the least.

    Bear in mind that Helen Clark’s result is after her contesting a fourth term, and John Key’s result only goes as far as him contesting a third term.

    Comment by greys — November 14, 2015 @ 2:03 pm

  48. I’ve never understood the attraction of John Key. He’s never appealed to me at all and that has been confirmed by experience of him as PM. Yet…at the very same time…there are people who really like him. I’m just not seeing it. But then….no one can really explain it either, other than to say “he’s a nice guy”….and I don’t even get that part.

    Comment by Steve Withers — November 19, 2015 @ 1:55 pm

  49. Despite a clear majority (roughly 60%) liking Key to one degree or another (at the time of the Election) in this NZES data, bear in mind that the Preferred PM polls of September 2014 generally put him in the mid-40s (and currently have him on 39-40%).

    So what?

    If these questions were put to me, i’d probably rate Key about 6 or 7. I also ‘like’ Shaw and I’m broadly OK with Little as Labour leader. The only leader I actively dislike is Peters (and it’s more for the sport of it than anything else). But, I can only pick one of those people for preferred PM. You could run the same analysis for each of the leaders and I’m willing to wager good money that you’d see the same gap between “likeableness” and pref. PM results.

    Comment by Phil — November 19, 2015 @ 3:46 pm


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