Recent polls – a roundabout indication in a campaign of swings

Polls have been giving quite a range of results over the last month. There have been significant movements in support, and there has seemed to be discrepancies between some of the results, but this has been confused by different polling periods. Different polling methods are also being used.

Poll-of polls are of limited use and could be misleading because of:

  • the swings and apparent volatility of the polls
  • averaging a few polls conducted over different dates is statistically dubious

I think we have to just see what we can in the polls and understand they are changing, they are subject to margins of error and polling errors, and they cannot predict a future election result.

Here are the last six polls from the polling companies with established records.

PollsElection2017

This suggests:

  • The last Reid Research result for National is out of step with the others
  • Labour support has been bouncing around
  • NZ First support has been bouncing around
  • The Roy Morgan result for Greens looks out of step but Greens could have recovered

Note that since these polls were taken:

  • Labour did their u-turn on tax
  • Winston Peters had his bizarre interview with Guyon Espiner
  • James Shaw had a very good interview with Guyon Espiner
  • The news broke about the Saudi sheep saga that may affect National

I think there may still be a lot of uncertainty amongst swing voters.

My observations and possibilities from now:

  • The ‘mood for change’ may win the election for Labour with possible options of either Greens or NZ First in coalition
  • There may be a move back to the known, that is, to National – or conversely voters may give up on National
  • It looks unlikely National will have a majority on their own (no party has had one since MMP)
  • Both the Greens and NZ First look vulnerable and are at risk of missing the threshold
  • There is an obvious tension between Labour and Green support due to Labour leaning voters wanting to rescue the Greens but also wanting to give Labour as strong a mandate as possible
  • The smaller parties have been left on the sidelines

I think this election is very open still, and could easily be decided by whichever way things swing on election day.

A large number of people have been advance voting – 229,259 up to Thursday and likely to be close to 300,000 up to Friday. This is due to more publicity about advance voting, more polling places, polling in public places, and enthusiasm of people who have already made up their minds.

However undecided voters are likely to leave it late to decide and to vote. Many will make their decision on election day.

Also significant will be whether there is a swing to deciding and voting, or a swing to giving up trying and not voting.

So what has happened in the last few days and what happens next week could make a significant impact on the outcome.

Polls are useful indicators for those of us who are swing voters, especially so for tactical voters.

In current day politics polls are only approximate indicators. They are subject to late changes, as is evident from the polls over the last month here, and from elections elsewhere like in the US and UK.

We the voters can glean some useful information from the polls, but we should be very sceptical about what media headlines and pundits say about what they mean.

We should make up our own minds about what the polls mean about our vote.

And ultimately we will make up our own minds about how we vote, or if we vote. Then the polls will mean absolutely nothing apart from providing fodder for a few media stories after the election.

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19 Comments

  1. chrism56

     /  September 16, 2017

    There is an explanation of how the organisations do poll sample weighing here.
    https://sciblogs.co.nz/unsorted/2017/09/15/polling-landlines-and-the-age-of-everybody-is-an-expert/

    Reply
    • Individuals can be as expert as they choose.

      The problem is with media who pretend they are experts but misrepresent and misuse polls badly.

      Reply
  2. Horizon poll: National and Labour virtually the same, ACT good for a second seat.

    https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/horizon-poll-nats-labour-neck-and-neck-act-two-mps-ck-207774

    I don’t know how reliable Horizon polls are, they don’t seem to get much publicity.

    Reply
  3. George

     /  September 16, 2017

    The ‘sheep’ thing is soooo old its up for winnies gold card

    Reply
  4. Conspiratoor

     /  September 16, 2017

    A whale removes emotion and takes a cold statistical approach to all scenarios. He makes a bold prediction…

    “One thing that is still a absolutely certainty, and that is that Winston Peters is going to be the only person in a position to dictate who will enjoy supply and confidence in the house. No one else. Despite what Corin Dann and Patrick Gower have to say about things”

    https://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2017/09/where-are-we-at-with-the-polls-2/

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  September 16, 2017

      Shave the whales!

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  September 16, 2017

        🤔 I suppose I should really have a read of PG’s post before just bursting into print like that!
        Sorry. 😬 I had a fat ass lazy duck problem this morning. 😠

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  September 16, 2017

          I can understand why someone might object to whales being shaved, if they’re a Greenie, say – but I’m a bit miffed about the downtick on this one, tbh.
          Can only assume you’ve never had a fat ass lazy duck problem! 😠
          And believe me – you wouldn’t want one! 🙄

          Reply
      • Conspiratoor

         /  September 16, 2017

        A rare collectors item to add to the potae collection G. This one signed by the old bastard, who I am led to believe very rarely puts his moniker to anything. May post pic later …or may not. Cheers,c

        Reply
  5. Oliver

     /  September 16, 2017

    The problem with these polls is they only target a demographic that uses landlines. So your baby boomer generation. So it should be taken with a grain of salt. Stuff poll had TOP at 10 percent.

    Reply
  1. Recent polls – a roundabout indication in a campaign of swings — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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