The phone age

Christmas dinner:

PhoneAge2Celebrating the New Year:


Going on holiday:


Holiday at the beach:


Phone age relationships:




Evolution needs an update, this is so last century:

EvolutionFound one:


On polls and cellphones

When polls are favourable people applaud. When they are not favourable they tend to look for reasons. It’s often other reasons than a poorly performing party, like ‘unfair’ media coverage. And the lack of polling of cellphones often comes into the discussions.

Pollster ‘Andrew’ blogs:

Calling cells is not, and will never be, the magic bullet for opinion polling.

There are many aspects to getting accuracy in polling.

Rob Salmond (Labour adviser) at Polity has posted Endangered: Polls without cell phones and looks at trends away from landline phone use and to cellphone use in the US.

The US is a few years ahead of New Zealand on mobile adoption and decoupling form landlines, but I think within 5 years we will see these kinds of proportions in New Zealand. This will make current pollsters’ policies of refusing to call cell phones hugely problematic – they will cut out almost half the population. No amount to weighting can reliably undo a sampling frame that unbalanced.

This has been reposted at The Standard and has more comments there.

Andrew also comments on this at Grumpollie: Rob Salmond’s post on cell phone polling and says “I agree with Rob Salmond that within five years polling methodologies will likely change” but goes on to make some important points, including correcting a common misconception.

The company that I work for has no policy on “…refusing to call cell phones.” In fact, they do randomly dial cell phones for telephone surveys. They will also call them for the poll if a non-qualifying person in the household gives them a cell number to call.

Roy Morgan also states that it polls cellphones.

This latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted by telephone – both landline and mobile telephone…

Colmar Brunton only polls landlines:

Nationwide random digit dialling of landline telephones using stratified random probability sampling to ensure the sample includes the correct proportion of people in urban and rural areas.

Reid Research, Digipoll and IPSOS don’t state (as far as I could see) whether they poll cellphones.

Andrew points to what he things is a far bigger issue than whether cellphones are polled or not:

At present my view is that, in New Zealand, non-response is a far far bigger source of error than non-coverage. If non-coverage of cell only households is such a big issue, how come most polls seem to over-state support for the Green party? And why don’t they under-state support for the Labour Party?

In New Zealand, does calling cell phones decrease non-response or increase it? Don’t underestimate the importance of this.

And he updates his post:

UPDATE: I’ve read, here and there, some comments that polls use a) published landline listings, or b) an outdated list of number banks for RDD sampling. I can categorically state that ‘a’ is absolute rubbish. None of the main media-client public polls use published listings. At the company I work for ‘b’ is also rubbish. It’s quite possible to uncover new number ranges.

For those interested, RDD works by randomly generating numbers within number banks, then connection testing them, and then re-sampling the connected numbers.

I’m sure all polling companies do what they can to be as accurate as they can. And people look for reasons other than the failings of their own parties for unfavourable poll results.

Does Peter Dunne’s story stack up now?

Yesterday the Government released an email trail that covers the accessing of MP and journalist data in the David Henry inquiry, and also covers the authorisation for accessing data.

I have followed the Henry inquiry and related issues closely.

For about a week after he resigned as Minister Peter Dunne told me nothing about it. Early on I seriously considered the possibility the Dunne had leaked the Kitteridge report. There was no evidence that he had leaked, despite Henry’s clear implication that he had. But there were some things that didn’t seem to make sense and that raised doubts.

In the days immediately following the resignation the weight of journalist opinion was overwhelming. Despite being shocked that Dunne would have leaked (he had a reputation of being a “goody two shoes”) the consensus seemed to be that he almost certainly had. I wondered if they were right.

But the journalist claims of guilt quite quickly quietened. Usually when the media senses lies and false claims in a potential scandal they relentlessly pursue their prey until they get some sort of result. But I noticed that the journalists seemed to back off instead.

And they all seem to have remained backed off – in fact there seems to be substantial sympathy for Dunne.

About a week after the resignation Dunne started to reveal to me what he knew and what he thought. I believe he has now told me most of what there is to know about it from his perspective.

Most of this has been by email. Twice he has gone over this with me present in person, once with his wife also present and supporting what he said.

Dunne has seemed to be open about what he knew and what he didn’t know.

For weeks I have known that it seemed likely the Henry inquiry had accessed Dunne’s security card data, deskphone logs, cellphone logs and email logs. Only the deskphone log access had seemed to be authorised. The only thing unknown was whether contents of emails had been accessed.

Last night I read through the email trail that had been released.

Everything I have seen in that document supports Dunne’s version of the story. It confirmed a number of things that Dunne had suspected, including access to cellphone data.

The only revelation was that email contents had been supplied. There were obvious suspicions that that may have happened but until yesterday there was nothing to prove it.

What Dunne has told me over the past month has been consistent, persistent and forthright. And it all stacks up with the emerging facts. It is quite likely that different interpretations of events will emerge, particularly between Henry and Dunne, but at this stage I have faith that what Dunne has said is genuine belief and accurate.

And the stories of others in this simply don’t stack up. There have been too many versions, false claims, doubt and lack of credibility. And accusations based on narrow assumptions remain baseless.

Dunne’s story stacks up. Everything else seems to be falling to pieces.