Salmond predicts easy National win in Northland

Rob Salmond is a strongly pro-Labour pollster. At his blog Polity he predicts what looks obvious to those with a grip on reality.

Prediction: Easy National win

With Winston Peters’ confirmation that he’s running in Northland, and Labour’s confirmed candidacy, I predict National will win the seat comfortably. The seat is a National stronghold, and a split opposition vote only helps them further in an FPP-style environment. So whoever wins the National selection, wins.

It would be remarkable if there’s an upset, and National have too much to lose to allow that to happen easily.

Since Peters has announced he will stand iPredict has swung against National but they still have a large majority. Mostly over that past weeks National have polled in the 90s but yesterday swung in the 70s, and they are currently at 82%.

Other (not National or Labour) party to win Northland by-election in 2015 has risen to 17% after peaking yesterday in the low 20s.

And more from Salmond a couple of weeks ago in Poll wordings in Northland that shows why caution is needed when peop;le claim ‘private poll’ support for their cause.

For the most dramatic poll result – “Winston could win!” – you would ask:

There is a by-election in Northland on 28 March. Which of the candidates are you most likely to vote for:

  • Willow-Jean Prime
  • Grant McCallum [or whoever it ends up being]
  • Winston Peters
  • Another candidate?

Winston gets a huge boost in this poll wording because he’s the only one with really wide name recognition across the seat, and also gets a smaller bonus for being the last named candidate, meaning his name is freshest in the memory when the person is required to give their answer. This question will hugely overstate Peters’ chances, at the expense of both National and Labour candidates.

For a more accurate poll result, you might ask this instead:

There is a by-election in Northland on 28 March. Which of the candidates are you most likely to vote for [in randomised order]:

  • The Labour party candidate, Willow-Jean Prime
  • The National party candidate, Grant McCallum [or whoever]
  • The New Zealand First party candidate, Winston Peters
  • Another party’s candidate?

This question provides people the information most of them will actually rely on when making their choice – party affiliation. That information, I understand, is printed on the ballots themselves, and it is the heuristic most people use when choosing local election candidates. (Also, the order is randomised from person to person, meaning the fresh-in-the-memory effect goes away across the whole sample.)

This is a much better question, and media outlets would be wise to insist on it, or some other variant that cues party affiliation. They’ll get less egg on their face on election night that way.

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