Two political polls with similar results

Newshub released a Reid Research a poll on Sunday with ridiculous headlines and claims. 1 News released a Colmar Brunton poll last night with less dramatic but still over the top claims. Polls are just polls, especially this far from an election, but they try to get value from the expense of polling by making stories out of them that aren’t justified.

Last time the two polled the biggest talking point was how different their results were. The Reid Research poll was regarded as an outlier, being quite different to any other polls this term.

The most notable thing about the polls this time is that the results are very similar, taking into account margins of error of about 3% for the larger results, and the fact that Colmar results are rounded to the nearest whole number.

  • National: RR 43.9% (+6.5%), CB 47% (+2)
  • Labour: RR 41.6% (-9.2), CB 40% (-3)
  • Greens: RR 6.3% (+0.1), CB 7% (+1)
  • NZ First: RR 4.0% (+1.2), CB 4% (+1)
  • ACT: RR 1.4% (+0.6), CB 1% (-)
  • TOP: RR 1.1% (+1.0), CB 1% (-)
  • Maori Party: RR 0.7% (+0.2), CB 1% (-)

I don’;t think it’s surprising at this stage to see National a bit ahead of Labour, Labour has had a mixed month or two and is struggling to make major progress due to the restraint of coalition partner NZ First.

Green support looks at a safe level, but is well below what they were getting last term (about half).

NZ First are still polling below the threshold and will be in a battle to stay in Parliament.

Is is fairly normal these days there are a number of borderline governing scenarios with these numbers, with National+ACT and Labour+Greens thereabouts but not certainties.

A lot may depend on whether NZ First make the threshold or not next election. Both other times they have been in a coalition government they have lost support at the next election.

Trends from Opinion polling for the next New Zealand general election (Wikipedia):

That shows the last Reid Research anomaly well.

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern: RR 38.4% (-10.6), CB 38% (-3)
  • Simon Bridges: RR 6.7% (+2.5), CB 9% (+3)
  • Judith Collins: 5.2% (-1.9), CB 5%
  • Winston Peters: CB 4%

Ardern a bit down, Bridges a bit up but still a big difference.

Newshub also did a poll on performance:

  • Ardern: performing well 62.4%, performing poorly 23.1%
  • Bridges: performing well 23.9%, performing poorly 52.7%

UPDATE: 1 News/Colmar Brunton have also started asking a similar question:

  •  Ardern handling her job as Prime Minister:  +33
    approve 62%
    disapprove 29%
    don’t know or refused 8%
  • Bridges’ handling his job as National Party leader: -22
    approve 29%
    disapprove 51%
    don’t know or refused 20%

Ardern performance is well above her party support, while Bridges is well below National support (about half).

  • Newshub-Reid Research Poll was conducted between 2-9 October 2019.
    1000 people were surveyed, 700 by telephone and 300 by internet panel
  • 1 News-Colmar Brunton poll conducted between 5-9 October
    1008 eligible voters were polled by landline (502) and mobile phone (506)

So both now rely on some polling by something other than landline, Reid Research 30% by internet panel and Colmar Brunton 50% by mobile phone.

1 News link here.

Newshub/Reid Search links here and here.

The Newshun headline says “Jacinda Ardern, Labour take massive tumble in new Newshub-Reid Research poll” but a more accurate description would have been “Newshub poll looks more likely following last rogue poll”. It wasn’t a massive tumble for Ardern, more like a large correction by Reid Research.

Two polls suggest a movement against cannabis law reform

While there are more options than legalisation of cannabis, nd we don’t know what we will be voting on in next year’s referendum, that’s the question asked by two polls.

Newshub/Reid Research: Should we legalise Cannabis?

  • No – 48%
  • Yes – 41.7%
  • Don’t know – 10.4%

1 News/Colmar Brunton: At this stage, do you think you will vote for cannabis to be legalised, or for cannabis to remain illegal?

  • Remain illegal – 52%
  • Legalise – 39%
  • Unsure/refused – 9%

These results are based on largely uninformed opinions. We don’t know what we will be voting on. One thing is certain – there won’t be total legalisation. Current proposals being considered by Parliament are for limiting legal use to 20 years of age and over, and very limited means of obtaining cannabis for use.

There is a lot of deciding still to happen in Parliament, and a lot of lobbying and campaigning. Some of the campaigning so far has been inaccurate and comes close to scaremongering misinformation.

When we know what we will be voting on we can make our choices.

Until the pollsters know what the vote will be on all they can do is give us a rough idea of possible outcomes.

 

 

Pollsters comment on vastly different poll results

I think there has been much ado about a couple of poll results, with much more made of the results than they deserve, The polls are of interest but not of great importance in the whole scheme of things.

But it’s worth listening to what the polling companies think.

The Spinoff – Two polls. Two wildly differing results. What happened?

Last night’s polling results had little in common, with the only consistency across both being that Simon Bridges is a very unpopular party leader. In short: the Colmar Brunton poll showed National up to 44%, and Labour dropping to 42%. It showed Jacinda Ardern as preferred prime minister for 45%. The Newshub Reid poll showed National at 37.4%, and Labour at 50.8%. It showed Ardern as preferred PM for 49%.

The Colmar Brunton explanation:

…the divergence doesn’t necessarily mean one is wrong. “Without digging into what Reid’s methodology is and what the details are it’s hard to comment on why there’s a difference,” said Jason Shoebridge, CEO of Kantar, Colmar Brunton’s parent company.

I asked him why he thought there was a difference in the results, and it turns out there’s a simple explanation: “Reid use an online methodology as well as landlines, and we just use landlines and mobile phones. Then there’s a difference of when we were collecting the data – we were collecting later than they were.” Colmar Brunton was conducting their research from the 4th to the 8th June, and Newshub-Reid Research did theirs from the 29th May to the 7th June.

The last Colmar Brunton poll was taken in the days following the Christchurch terror attacks on March 15th, an event for which Ardern was near-universally praised for her handling, so it’s not surprising to see Labour’s popularity declining closer to what it was before the attack. With this in mind, alongside the recent furore around the wellbeing budget, Ardern’s result in both polls could be seen as a win.

One way to tell the accuracy of a poll is how it fits into the over-arching trends, and in general, polls prior to this showed Labour going up and National going down. Shoebridge believes the only true measure of a poll’s accuracy is an election.

that should be impressed on the media who promote their polls as major news.

“Where the stress really comes in is on election night – that’s the real test,” he explained. Political opinion polling is the most high profile work the company does, even though it’s only a small proportion of their business. “We always want it to be as accurate as possible, and we’re confident in our numbers.”

Reid Research was confident but offered no explanation.

Reid Research was not at liberty to release more information to us due to its commercial relationship with Newshub, but said it was confident its poll was correct.

A poll with a small sample cannot be ‘correct’. The only correct polls are elections. Everything else is an approximation with well known margins of error and possibilities of greater errors.

It is almost certain that if another poll was taken this week it would have a different result.

Polls hardly help Simon bridges

While one of the poll results just released may give Simon Bridges some confidence he may hang on to his job as National leader the rest of the results remain dismal for him, with his personal results very low (and lower than Judith Collins), and National slumping to 37.4% in one party poll.

The good news:

  • Colmar Brunton has National bouncing back to 44% (up 4), close to Labour on 42%.

The bad news:

  • Colmar Brunton ‘preferred Prime Minister’ – Bridges 5%, Collins 6%, Ardern 45%
  • Reid Research – Labour 50.8%, National 37.4%
  • Reid Research – ‘preferred PM’ – bridges 4.2%, Collins 7.1%, Ardern 49%
  • Reid Research – government performing well 72.5%
  • Reid Research – “Was National right to seek out and release Budget details before Budget Day?” yes 32.6%, no 55.4%

Poll: Most New Zealanders think National was wrong to leak Treasury Budget details

“We did the right thing in exposing weaknesses in the Government,” Bridges said.

“I think it’s something you can’t be driven on polls by.”

His near future as leader may depend on what Natikonal’s internal polls are saying. If they are anything like Colmar Brunton then Bridges may hang on for a while yet, but if they are closer to Reid Research then National may decided that decisive action is required.

At Kiwiblog in A tale of two polls David Farrar focuses on the poll discrepancies and ignores National’s and Bridges’ results and says:

Bottom line is that at least one of those polls is wrong. They can’t both be right.

What he doesn’t say (and can’t really) is how National;s internal polls compare. His Curia Research does these polls for National.

One comment (Captain Mainwaring):

Looks like TV3 did their poll at the teachers union HQ and TV1 did theirs at the RSA.
Polling is expensive, got to do it the cheapest way possible.
But whichever one you believe, Bridges is toast. Lets get it over quickly and cleanly, preferably by QT Tuesday.

Most other references involving Bridges are complaining about Tova O’Brien emphasising the poor polls for Bridges (she and Newshub have habits of trying to make big news out of little numbers) – National nosedives into dreaded 30s, could trigger leadership coup

Matthew Hooton (@MatthewHootonNZ):

Great night for . We all get to choose our poll to suit our spin. Except on one matter.

  1. The leadership situation in reminds me of that in until a couple of weeks ago. It is obvious the current leadership is unsustainable and that there is only one alternative that would be credible to the party membership, media and public.
  2. However, that alternative scares or is opposed on other grounds by sufficient numbers of MPs to prevent the change, keeping the incumbent in the job.
  3. In both cases, the incumbent does not have any genuine support in the party except a very small group of advisors whose own careers depend on hers/his.
  4. But the opposition to the only credible candidate prompts fantasies of other alternatives, and those being speculated about to get their hopes up.
  5. While the MPs waste their time on naval-gazing, the party’s position only gets worse. Moreover no real policy progress can be made because everyone is waiting for the leadership change.
  6. There are even those who say “well, the next election is obviously lost so we are better to let the incumbent take the blame for that and then the successor can take over after that”. This is an insult to those who genuinely see Ardern/Corbyn as needing to be defeated.
  7. Eventually what happens is that the situation gets so bad it forces events. That has happened with the but not with .
  8. Those in the National caucus taking the cynical “Simon can take the fall in 2020” attitude need to search their consciences. They have a responsibility to take whatever steps are needed to maximise the chances of defeating a totally incompetent and increasingly corrupt govt.
  9. Just as Boris Johnson is the candidate most likely to defeat Corbyn, is the candidate most likely to defeat . She has a duty to step up. And the caucus has a duty to back her even if some of them don’t like her very much. More tomorrow.

There will no doubt be more about the National leadership.

See:

1 News/Colmar Brunton poll – June 2019

Party support:

  • Labour 42% (down 6)
  • National 44% (up 4)
  • Greens 6% (no change)
  • NZ First 5% (Up 1)
  • ACT 1% (no change)
  • New Conservatives 1%
  • The Opportunities Party 1%

Refuse to answer 4%, undecided 10%. Fieldwork conducted 4-8 June 2019

This is a very different result to the Newshub/Reid Research poll – June 2019.

The Reid Research poll was conducted between May 29 and June 7.

The budget was released on May 29.

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 45% (down 6)
  • Judith Collins 6% (up 1)
  • Simon Bridges 5% (no change)
  • Winston Peters 5% (no change)

This is sort of interesting but doesn’t mean a great deal. National back up a bit, Labour have eased off an unusual high at a favourable time for them and Ardern.

 

Majority support stronger firearms laws – poll

A 1 News/Colmar Brunton poll has only 14% of people opposing the new firearms laws.

1 News  New poll: 61% of New Zealanders back gun ban in wake of Christchurch atrocity

The majority of New Zealand voters believe the Government’s swift move to enact new gun laws has been “about right” in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attacks.

In the latest 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll, eligible New Zealand voters were asked what they thought of the Government’s moves.

  • 61%  thought the changes were about right
  • 19% thought it did not go far enough
  • 14% thought it went too far
  • 5% didn’t know
  • 2% refused to answer.

So 80% thought the changes were ‘about right’ or didn’t go far enough.

The Government has indicated this was the ‘first tranche’ of changes and intend to do more, but will wisely take more to look into what else should be done.

Between April 6 and 10, 1009 eligible voters were polled via landline and mobile phone. The maximum sampling error is approximately ±3.1%-points at the 95 per cent confidence level.

UMR and other polls – Labour and National even

Note – at best polls are just an approximate indicator of a snapshot of political support, especially individual polls.

Here is some anecdotal and it appears actual poll information.

Matthew Hooton in Capital Gains Tax debate shows Jacinda Ardern’s weakness

National insiders say their polling has NZ First consistently below the 5 per cent threshold, the Greens dicing with death by bouncing around it, and Labour and National locked in a tight battle, both above 40 per cent and within the margin of error of each other.

Care has to be taken with ‘insiders say’ anecdotes, but this is much the same as the last two published polls:

  • Reid Research 24 January-2 February: Labour 47.5%, National 41.6%, Greens 5.1%, NZ First 2.9%
  • Colmar Brunton 9-13 February: Labour 45%, National 42%, Greens 6%, NZ First 3%

The Reid Research poll was very early in the year, before politics cranked up, so favouring Labour is not surprising.

James Last yesterday on Twitter – The latest UMR poll for its corporate clients:

  • National up 5 to 45%
  • Labour down 1 to 44%
  • Greens down 2 to 5%
  • NZ First no change on 4%

While unpublished and verified this looks quite believable, with National back virtually level pegging with Labour.

National haven’t been particularly impressive but Labour have handled the Tax Working Group and CGT poorly so may have eased a bit because of that – but it could be too son to take much from it. If we get polls in the next month they may add too the picture, unless other major issues or events take over influence.

What this means is that hal way through the term (18 months before the next election) there is little in it between Labour and National. I think we can expect ebbs and flows in their support somewhere in the forties depending on timing of polls and margins of error.

Perhaps of more significance is NZ First remaining stuck under the threshold. When NZ First was last in government from 2005-2008 they polled mostly under the threshold and ended up getting 4.07 in the 2008 election, getting them dumped from Parliament.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2008_New_Zealand_general_election

Greens look a bit safer staying just above the threshold, but are still at risk. They will be keen to be seen to be achieving significant gains on climate, environmental and social issues. They have time for that, but need to start delivering.

 

 

1 News Colmar poll – February 2019

A similar result in this 1 news/Colmar Brunton poll to the recent Newshub/Reid Research poll, which suggests a shift in support to Labour and away from National. It isn’t major yet, but it’s going to keep the leadership change talk.

  • Labour 45% (up from 43)
  • National 42% (down from 46)
  • Greens 6% (up from 5)
  • NZ First 3% (down from 4)
  • ACT 1% (no change)
  • Maori Party 1% (no change)
  • TOP 1%

Refuse to answer 6% (up from 3) undecided 10%. Fieldwork conducted 9-13 February.

Greens are sort of safe so with Labour look good for now.

NZ First is still struggling to survive.

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 44% (up from 39)
  • Simon Bridges 6% (down from 7)
  • Judith Collins 6% (no change)
  • Winston Peters 3%  (down from 4)

No a significant move for Bridges, but not a good place to be.

Issues New Zealanders care most about – sustainability poll

In Better Futures Colmar Brunton is  “Celebrating a decade of tracking New Zealanders’ attitudes & behaviours around sustainability”.

Trends show an increase in people concerned about the effects of climate change, and a commitment to live a sustainable lifestyle.

In a poll run between 4 and 11 December 2018 asked what issues people care most about.

  • Build up of plastic in the environment 72% – up 9
  • The cost of living 68% – no change
  • The protection of New Zealand children 67% – down 1
  • Suicide rates 67% – up 3
  • Violence in society 65% – down 4
  • Pollution of lakes, rivers and seas 64% – up 4
  • Caring for the ageing population 63% – new
  • The protection of my personal data online 62% – new
  • Availability of affordable housing 61% – up 2
  • Not having access to good affordable healthcare 60% – up 2

Trend of New Zealanders who express high level of concern around the impact of climate change on New Zealand

  • 2009 – 36%
  • 2010 – 31%
  • 2011 – 29%
  • 2012 – 33%
  • 2013 – 34%
  • 2014 – 41%
  • 2015 – 40%
  • 2016 – 45%
  • 2017 – 48%
  • 2018 – 55%

Commitment to living a sustainable lifestyle:

  • 2015 – low 17%, medium 59%, high 24%
  • 2016 – low 10%, medium 65%, high 25%
  • 2017 – low 10%, medium 60%, high 30%
  • 2018 – low 5%, medium 53%, high 42%

Who will always/mostly go meat free:

  • 2014 – 4%
  • 2015 – 5%
  • 2016 – 6%
  • 2017 – 7%
  • 2018 – 10%

Switching to an electric car or hybrid:

  • 34% thinking about switching
  • 22% thought about it but probably won’t
  • 27% don’t want to switch
  • 14% haven’t thought about it or don’t know

‘Sustainable’ travel practices:

  • 71% shop locally
  • 67% walk for short journeys
  • 57% drive in a more fuel-efficient way
  • 20% take public transport
  • 20% cycle for short journeys
  • 19% carpool for work
  • 9% pay to offset carbon on flights
  • 6% scooter for short journeys

Impact of plastic:

  • 85% say reducing disposable packaging is the right thing to do
  • 77% say they can make a difference by reducing use of disposable packaging
    …but…
  • Only 1% who buy lunch use reusable containers all the time.

‘Kinder’ businesses:

  • 86% “It is important for me to work for a company that is socially and environmentally responsible”
  • 90% “If I heard about a company being irresponsible or unethical, I’d stop buying their products or using their services”

On employers caring about society:

  • 67% agree their employer has values they believe in
  • 65% agree their employer actively supports society
  • 66% agree they would recommend their workplace to others

 

UMR polling history

Reasons why it is necessary to be very sceptical of one off ‘leaks’ of internal party polling are that there are no details, no polling method, no margin of error, and no history – one off results give no indication of ongoing accuracy or history.

We can get some idea of UMR polling history now because Bryce Edwards has tweeted

UMR’s most recently-leaked internal poll for the Labour Party has National plummeting to 9 points behind:

The latest result here is a markedly different result to the latest Colmar Brunton poll BUT it was done about a month earlier (the exact polling period isn’t given) so the UMR poll was done in the heat of the Jami-Lee Ross upheaval for National. And it is often claimed that UMR tends to favour Labour over National (unverified).

The previous Colmar Brunton poll was done at a similar time (15-10 October) to the last UMR result here (late October). Comparisons:

  • Labour – UMR 46%, Colmar 45%
  • National – UMR 37%, Colmar 43%
  • Greens – UMR 7%, Colmar 7%
  • NZ First – UMR 7%, Colmar 5%

So Labour is virtually the same, Greens are exactly the same (albeit rounded to a whole number), NZ First are a bit different, and National are quite different – 6%

This could be explained by the timing being slightly different, a week over the Ross story could have had a big temporary impact. Or it could be that either UMR or Colmar (or both) are less accurate with national, or even that one struck an outlier poll (statistically this can happen in 1 out of 20 polls).

Going back to the Colmar July poll (28 Jul-1 Aug) and the UMR polls on either side of that (when the political scene was less volatile):

  • Labour – UMR July 45% August 43%, Colmar 42%
  • National – UMR July 39% August 43%, Colmar 45%
  • Greens – UMR July 7% August 7% , Colmar 6%
  • NZ First – UMR July 6% August 4%, Colmar 5%

Greens and NZ First are very similar.

UMR has Labour higher than Colmar, and has National lower and fluctuating more.

UMR had National 39% in July and 37% in late October, and otherwise in the 41-43% range over the year. Colmar had national in the 43-46% range through the year.

In January Colmar had Labour at 48% and in the 42-45% range.

In January UMR had Labour markedly different at 40% and in the 41-46% range since then.

I think January could be the most unreliable month due to many people being on holiday then.

Polls are of interest to those interested in politics, but are a temporary and inexact measure of party support.