NZ: Turnout of voters matters more than swing voters, candidates or policies?

Does  apply US: Turnout of voters matters more than swing voters, candidates or policies? to New Zealand politics? Will it affect this year’s election here? Is the outcome of our election virtually determined already? (Going by our history of rarely dumping a first term government, quite possibly).

Our politics is much different, far less polarised than in the US, and less red and white due to MMP.

Maybe with less polarisation and demonisation  (and demons) swing voters, candidates and policies play a bigger part here.

But the theories in the above article probably favour Jacinda Ardern success. Apart from some frothing on the fringes there doesn’t seem to be a strong anti-Ardern sentiment here. There also doesn’t seem to be a strong anti-Green sentiment.

Sure National have already been campaigning along anti-Labour lines, but one of the most consistent criticisms of the Labour led government is that they are under performing. This is actually helpful for there chances – the more conservative voters who don’t like radical change probably won’t be strongly motivated to replace Ardern and Labour.

Climate change policies are mostly long term with wide support, some strong and some soft, with few fears about what changes they will force on us.

The economy is not causing any great concerns, with Grant Robertson hardly being seen let alone being feared by the right.

I think there’s likely to be more motivation to stay with what we currently have than to switch right to National.

The noise over NZ First may not matter very much. Most voters are not motivated for or against them. Whether they survive or not will depend on whether a small niche of voters want them to remain enough, but I doubt there are strong feelings on that. And whether NZ First survives or not may not make any difference to Ardern’s and Labour’s overall chances.

There’s unlikely to be a strong anti-National/Act motivation here, but neither is it likely there will be a strong anti-incumbent motivation.

With all this in mind and National lacking in coalition options then Labour+Green looks to have the inside running, with a side issue of whether NZ First is retained or dumped, and if they survive whether Labour need them to govern or not.

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22 Comments

  1. National have been running negative attack posts in social media, but will they de-motivate left leaning voters? Or do they just feed a feeble frenzy on the right?

    I largely ignore the National hit jobs (and the Labour and Green puff pieces).

    Reply
  2. adamsmith1922

     /  9th February 2020

    You might ignore the hit jobs and the puff pieces, but I suspect that the strong media bias towards Ardern,especially on broadcast media does sway people

    Reply
    • Perhaps the media here largely reflect electorate sentiments. They tend to favour incumbent parties and politicians, until eventually (after a couple of terms) reaching a tipping point, much like voters.

      Reply
      • adamsmith1922

         /  9th February 2020

        I would disagree as I think several outlets and journalists attempt to lead the public rather than reflect the public.

        For example Stuff re Climate Change, John Campbell is relentlessly left,Hayley Holt on TVNZ is Green

        Reply
        • There has certainly been noticeable increase in media trying to influence. Like Mike Hosking, Sean Plunket as well as the above.

          But it isn’t new. Newspapers and later radio and tv have been used too try to influence since they were invented.

          I think that people tend to notice the influencing that they don’t like far more than the influencing that they’re comfortable with.

          Reply
          • adamsmith1922

             /  9th February 2020

            I agree, I should have noted Hosking and Plunket as well. Both are excellent examples of a right wing bias with Plunket being more of a shock jock perhaps.

            My overall point is that I think media much more than in the past seek to set the agenda rather than reflect concerns, or maybe it is just more visible.

            In NZ which is a small country with a small media we should I suggest be more concerned than say in the UK or USA where there is a plurality of outlets, many of which are firmly in one camp or the other eg The Guardian and The Telegraph in the UK.

            My concern is heightened by the proposed merger of RNZ and TVNZ which I believe would be deleterious to freedom of expression in NZ and place far too much of our media in one centralised government entity.
            This would be wrong. Whatever your political views, I still believe it to be wrong.

            Reply
            • As I said media have always tried to influence politics, probably less so fifty years ago but increasingly again now. Media making ‘celebrities’ of themselves (for both marketing and self promotion) is a factor now, as is the click-bait phenomenon.

              Centralisation of media management and delivery (if you can call Auckland central) is also a real issue.

              I agree that the best antidote is diversity of media to increase the chances of diverse views and advocacy as well as news.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  9th February 2020

              I hadn’t thought of that aspect of the proposed merger, Adam, but fear that you could be right.

            • Corky

               /  9th February 2020

              ”I agree, I should have noted Hosking and Plunket as well. Both are excellent examples of a right wing bias.”

              Bias isn’t the problem. Being RIGHT is. And what Hosking says is generally bang on the money. I have no problem with bias as long as the commenatator is right with his summation. Lefties don’t seem to have what Hosking has. I agree about Sean…but again he is RIGHT much of the time.

        • Gerrit

           /  9th February 2020

          Problem is that we confuse the term journalist and commentator.

          A true journalist does not take sides, just reports what he/she witnesses (a reporter I guess) and what the various “actors” in the unfolding “drama” might have to say. Giving equal opportunity to all.

          Commentators plug their commentary to suit their bias. They offer opinion not facts. Any “facts” they do present will be to embellish their commentary. They would never present counter arguments to balance a story like a real journalist would do.

          Sadly we don’t have many if any journalists (reporters) in the media.

          Reply
          • adamsmith1922

             /  9th February 2020

            Many of those claiming to be journalists are in fact commentators,though often not either realising or worse knowingly do so.

            Reply
            • I think that generally most operate as both, swinging from reporting and investigative journalism to commentators. And increasingly doing a bit of both at the same time.

            • Duker

               /  9th February 2020

              Top monkey of the opinionated commentators tree is Hosking. In general the newspapers have more right wing commentators than left wing because thats how the advertisers and subscribers lean.
              Some like Newshub have as their model a extreme bias , where they dont claim neutrality but attack both sides when it suits them.

              But as the article claims , commentators and polls matter even less than you think in US where party allegiances are rusted on ( but might change over decades as voters age )
              The Democratic surge in Texas is due to them getting their support base to vote as often as the older white conservatives do.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  9th February 2020

            I would have said that a reporter tells the basic story with the help of Kiplings six honest men (‘I kept six honest servingmen/They taught me all I knew/Their names were What and Where and When/And How and Why and Who.’) whereas a journalist analyses it.

            Reply
          • NOEL

             /  15th February 2020

            I put Hoskings et al in the opinion commentators box. Not journalists.
            A bias search for Stuff suggests it’s slightly left leaning whereas the NZHerald is slightly right leaning.
            But both don’t follow US media where a biased media outlet is more probably associated with non factual content.

            I’m the past journalists were usually defined as liberal. Nothing wrong with that if you want both sides investigated.

            The change has occurred higher up the chain.

            Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  9th February 2020

      I have noticed that 3 is not fawning over the PM and I read a lot of disillusioned comments about her and Labour as well as the fulsome adulation. The comments are often informed rather than just negative.

      Reply
      • And if you see places like The Standard there are some who think that the media is hopelessly favouring the right of politics.

        Reply
      • adamsmith1922

         /  9th February 2020

        However,TV3 seems to me to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds, veering wildly from one extreme to the other

        Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  9th February 2020

          There may be something in that. But she didn’t come out of it well when they covered her handling of the party scandals.

          Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  9th February 2020

    The US has seen a big male/female divide and I suspect the NZ one is increasing too. A lot of women like Ardern’s words (especially compared with Simon’s) and a lot of men don’t like her (in)actions.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  9th February 2020

      Yep Bridges like to pretend he was nothing to do with the previous 9 years of neglect.
      I lived in Rotorua when Bridges as the new Transport minister cancelled the Rotorua bypass their MP campaigned on , and cancelled the new Manawatu Gorge bypass in favour of the fix up.
      The male voters will just Love that Action Man Bridges went to Paris with Bennett as NZs climate ministers and signed NZ up to the Climate change Treaty and carried through with Signing the National party up to the Zero Carbon Act and the Gun laws. That must have meant some MPs were forced eat ‘RAT”
      Such achievements, kills roads and hates carbon and guns.
      Thats how you destroy him in the election, not campaigning against ‘his issues’ but against ‘his actions’ that he would rather keep quiet about.

      I must admit there are some lessons to be learned from Trumps style….is there a sleepy Simon coming up ?

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  9th February 2020

        I have to agree that about the only thing Simon has going for him is that he isn’t Labour or NZF or Red-green.

        Reply

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