Political polls for 2018

Political polls for the year haven’t shown any drastic changes, with Labour and National swapping the lead a few times after Labour had risen to be competitive late last year after the election.

I presume there will be no more political polls for 2018. Colmar Brunton (for 1 News) are the only ones left doing polls, and they have just published what will be their last one for the year.

Reid Research (Newshub) did just two polls this year, in January and May. Roy Morgan have up given doing New Zealand polls. Their last poll was in November 2017.

Labour looked dire mid 2017 but Jacinda Ardern’s leadership turned things around for them enough for them to  be able to form a government, thanks to NZ First.

NZ First have remained in the MMP danger zone, peaking on the 5% threshold but dropping as low as 2.4% (in May).

After polling mostly in the 10-15% range in the first half of last year Greens dropped drastically after the Turei fallout, and through this year holding their support just over the threshold in the 5-7% range. So their support has halved from the support they got for most of last term.

It seems normal for coalition support parties to struggle to maintain support.

After the latest poll Ardern was criticised for claiming that Labour “finishing the year stronger than we started it”, but she is correct, sort of, by a small margin and she is comparing two different polling companies.

Reid Research did an unusually early poll in the political holiday period 18-28 January, and had Labour on 42.3%. In May they had Labour on 42.6%.

Colmar Brunton’s last poll (24-28 November) had Labour on 43% (rounded so could have been as low as 42.51% or as high as 43.49%). However Colmar’s first poll of the year (10-14 February) had Labour at 48% so Labour have dropped back from that Colmar high.

Ardern also said “polls do move around a bit these are all still within the margin of error” –

We can only see trends from Colmar – here are Labour’s results for the year.

  • 10-14 February 48%
  • 7-11 April 43%
  • 19-23 May 43%
  • 28 Jul – 1 Aug  42%
  • 15-19 October 45%
  • 24-28 November 43%

The 48% for Labour looks to be a polling outlier – it could have been accurate at the time, but Labour settled in and remained in the low forties for the rest of the year. While they will be disappointed to be trailing National this is a fairly solid result for them, considering their pre-Ardern polling had them dropping in the twenties. Colmar had them trending down to 24% in July 2017.

National’s results from Colmar this year:

  • 10-14 February 43%
  • 7-11 April 44%
  • 19-23 May 45%
  • 28 Jul – 1 Aug  45%
  • 15-19 October 43%
  • 24-28 November 46%

They were behind Labour in February and in October (affected by the Jami-Lee Ross mess) but this is remarkably consistent for a party in Opposition, and with new leader Simon Bridges (since 27 February) who is struggling to make a mark.

Looking at the Labour and National polling for the year there is little in it, and little significant change in most polls.

Media have tried to make big stories out of their polls, but the reality is quite mundane.

I think we have a real problem with how polls are reported. Obviously media try to get bang for their bucks – polling can be expensive – but they usually make mountains out of mole polls, often blatantly misrepresenting what individual polls mean.

Media try to make each of their polls look like some sort of mini election, which is nonsense. They can only be approximate indicators of support, and the year after an election most of the people care little about politics most of the time.

If media were doing proper journalism they would report on the political polling without sensation and misrepresentation. And mostly that would be (and should be) quite boring.

How should the media get value for the money spent on polls? Perhaps they should also poll on things of real public interest at the same time, and make their big stories about that.

1 News blew that opportunity in the last poll. They did ask a one-off question – Should Simon Bridges boot Jami-Lee Ross from Parliament using waka jumping law?

The results of that mean nothing (and were inconclusive, with 31% saying they didn’t know). Most people have moved on from one MP self-destructing – actually most people probably took little notice when the media were going hard out with headlines.

1 News would probably like to encourage National to chuck Ross out of the waka (that would be out of parliament, they have already chucked him out of the party) because that could be headlined as a sensational political somersault or something.

Rather than aiming for short term headlines 1 News could do a really public service (they are a public media company after all) doing a series of meaningful polls on issues that really matter to people, but it would take months if not years to get a return on their investment. They seem too obsessed with short term ratings and clicks.

So I expect more of the same form polling next year, another non-election year. It’s a shame we are so poorly served by media who do polling, but I don’t see that changing.

Something worse has become prevalent – online polls run by media. They are cheap, and nasty, very unreliable so they are of no useful purpose.

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22 Comments

  1. David

     /  December 4, 2018

    Labour,s numbers are in lockstep with Ardern she had better stay on after she has her next child, her bench is a little shallow.
    Nationals numbers on the face of it are remarkable but they dont have Green/socialist party equivalent to their right sucking up 7% of their vote. If Ardern could get rid of the Greens she could probably consistently out poll National

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  December 4, 2018

      I look at the National lineup for an inspired replacement for Mr Bridges…and the dearth of talent is evident.
      Collins,Smith,Brownlee,Bennett….old worn out ,yesterdays ‘men’.
      Better begin a search for another ‘parachuter’.

      Reply
      • David

         /  December 4, 2018

        Hard to say Blazer as we dont really get to see the National backbenchers but my point was Ardern and Labours polling

        Reply
    • Noel

       /  December 4, 2018

      If Arden could get rid of the Greens she would poll better.?
      I’d agree.

      Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  December 4, 2018

    Yes, the media need attention-grabbing headlines for clickbait so that is how climate and political issues get treated and valued by them.

    Reply
  3. A bizarre editorial on the latest poll from the Dominion Post – Editorial: National’s Groundhog Day of political support

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  December 4, 2018

      Take the unnecessary references to Groundhog Day out of it and I think it nails it.

      Reply
  4. There’s only one poll that counts. The parties of the coalition cleverly combined their numbers and claimed the Government benches. National cleverly went it alone, ignoring maths and logic, and assumed the Opposition position. The next poll-that-counts will repeat the results of the last one and the coalition will again govern. Of course, Judith might save the day for National, somehow attracting 61% of the vote, an effort far better even than John Key managed – go Judith! The hopes of the Blue Country rest on your shoulder, like a pirate’s parrot.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  December 4, 2018

      Why do you think Judith needs 61%? 51% would suffice, or less if either the Greens or Winston First fail to make the threshold.

      Labour’s best hope is to delay doing all the economy wrecking things they lust after until so late in the term they don’t have time to take effect. Could be the innumerable working groups are part of that strategy. But eventually they will do them and the terminally clueless will come to realise they have voted themselves into trouble and will stay home on polling day to lick their wounds.

      Reply
  5. David

     /  December 4, 2018

    Is there only one vote that counts, is MMP about numbers…well shit who knew.

    Reply
  6. Gezza

     /  December 4, 2018

    Something worse has become prevalent – online polls run by media. They are cheap, and nasty, very unreliable so they are of no useful purpose.

    I like them. I think they’re useful. I think they help get people focussed on the issue & give some general impression of what readers think . Comments sections in Stuff & Herald I’ve stopped reading most the time because

    1. They don’t have them when they should
    2. Some disappear when they’re closed anyway – so if you do want to have a scan, you can’t.

    It’s possible for even telephone polls to be wrong. I’ve given answers that weren’t accurate or that I should have changed or where the question was clearly a leading one and the options insufficient for an truly accurate response.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  December 4, 2018

      The Herald doesn’t have any comments. Stuff moderation means most published are banal.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  December 4, 2018

        I couldn’t remember if the Herald had closed them off totally or not. That shows how infrequently I bother to look these days.They’re so often just politically tribal they don’t add much – you have to scan through a lot of dross until you find some that fit your biases & I can’t bothered signing in to add my 5c worth or up or downvote.

        I only noticed the Herald did an online poll on topics the other day. I’ve gone off Stuff because it’s so chocka with women’s mag type trivia. I have quick look at the headlines for anything big happening a couple of times a day.

        Their in-depth articles or interactives are sometimes interesting but even those I sometimes abandon out of boredom or their complexity.

        The Herald I usually have a quick look at second, but I’m finding that, while not quite so bad, getting rather trivial too.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  December 4, 2018

          The most important thing for me on stuff these days is Wellington’s weather forecast.

          Reply
        • Gezza

           /  December 4, 2018

          Probably going to be generally right. Forecasting has been improving – although Welly’s suburbs have several micro-climates. The Hutt Valley just over the Eastern Hills is often different to Tawa. They had a thunderstom and deluge roll right up the valley the other day. We could see it and hear it but never got it. Gales can cause damage in Wellington Central and just be very windy here.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  December 4, 2018

            3.40 pm and it hasn’t become fine yet. But I often find the forecast is right and it’s just that the timing is off by a few hours.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  December 4, 2018

              Whoops – 2.40 pm soz

            • Gezza

               /  December 4, 2018

              4.42 pm. Brief sunny spell but blue patches of sky now appearing in clouds moving southeast. Forecast could be correct but a few hours out as mentioned above. Getting more of a standard weather pattern for December this year. Last year was an outlier. Consistently warm and sunny right through from August till about February if I recall, according to ma, but I was gadding about with Al & Possum up in Northland in November and December and have the movie to prove it.

            • Gezza

               /  December 4, 2018

              And now the norwesterly wind has started gusting and rising in velocity. Not yet what one would call a gale. Not exciting enuf to make thrill seekers hanker for being on a bombardier landing at Welly airport yet.

            • Gezza

               /  December 4, 2018

              4.59 pm, soz.

            • Gezza

               /  December 4, 2018

              Looking like the “fine day, early afternoon’ might be happening, but post-sundown. :/

  1. Political polls for 2018 — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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