Poll good for ACT in Epsom

David Seymour has a comfortable lead in an ACT poll on the Epsom electorate:

  • David Seymour (ACT) 46%
  • Paul Goldsmith (National) 30%
  • David Parker (Labour) 11%
  • Julie Anne Genter (Greens) 11%

These are all close to within margin of error range of the 2014 election result.

From ACT:  David Seymour comfortably ahead in Epsom poll

A recent Curia poll conducted of 750 voters (+/- 3.5% margin of error), in the Epsom electorate from 21-28 May shows incumbent Epsom MP and ACT Party Leader, David Seymour, ahead with a strong 16-point lead.

When asked “With your electorate vote, which of these candidates would you vote to be the electorate MP for Epsom”, David Seymour led on 46 per cent of decided voters, with National’s Paul Goldsmith on 30 per cent, and both Labour’s David Parker and Green’s Julie-Anne Genter* following on 11 per cent.

*Since the poll was conducted, the Green Party have nominated Barry Coates as the Epsom candidate.

That’s a handy lead for Seymour at this stage. I think he’s done well this term to come from nowhere to establish a profile in Wellington and presumably in Epsom, and to at least stop the rot in the ACT Party.

He wasn’t well known in 2014 but won Epsom, with some help from National.

  • David Seymour (ACT) 43.08%
  • Paul Goldsmith (National) 31.61%
  • Michael Wood (Labour) 9.36%
  • Julie Anne Genter (Greens) 8.15%

Michael Wood has since won the Mt Roskill by-election. Interesting to see David Parker standing for Labour again, he stood there in 2011 and got 10.45% of the vote.

Julie Anne Genter stood in the Mt Albert by-election earlier this year and that is listed as her electorate on the Green website so I presume she is staying there.

There’s a bit of musical chairs going on. Barry Coates stood in Mt Roskill last election against Phil Goff, getting 5.04% of the electorate vote.

With Epsom looking likely for Seymour he is looking at trying to lift the ACT party vote.

“This poll result is important, as it shows that every party vote for ACT will count. Only a Party vote for ACT will keep Winston Peters out of power and ensure a stable centre–right government for the next three years.”

Another ACT MP or two could make a difference.

ACT push this in their latest Free Press – 19/06/2017:

EVERY PARTY VOTE FOR ACT WILL COUNT
Germany has had MMP for 70 years, but it is reported to be even less well understood there than here. The lesson is that ACT must constantly remind supporters how our convoluted voting system works. If ACT wins Epsom then the party does not need to meet the five per cent threshold. 1.3 per cent of the party vote will elect a second MP.

ACT AS CRITICAL TO THE OUTCOME AS EVER
The latest public poll, from Newshub, has ACT at 0.9 per cent of the vote, and the current governing parties of ACT, National, United Future, and the Māori Party with a majority of one. ACT picking up an extra seat could be definitive to the election outcome. There are many reasons the socialists hate ACT and chief among them is that we keep on keeping them out of Government. 1998 (when the Bolger coalition imploded), 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2017 to come.

AIMING HIGHER
1.3 per cent would get ACT another MP, but 2.1 would get us three. 2.8 per cent would get us four, and 3.5 would get us five. ACT’s current polling is comparable to the same point in the cycle during 2008, when five MPs were elected. Electing five MPs would give the kind of leverage ACT enjoyed in that parliamentary term.

In August 2008 ACT was polling 0.6-2.3%. They got 3.65% in the election (Rodney Hide was their successful Epsom candidate).

In August 2011 ACT was polling 1.1-2.2%. They got 1.07% in the election (John Banks was their successful Epsom candidate)

In June 2014 ACT was polling 0.7-1.0%. They got 0.69% in the election.

Seymour was able to concentrate on campaigning in Epsom while party leader Jamie Whyte campaigned for the party nationally, but had trouble connecting.

This year Seymour will have to split his time and efforts between Epsom and national campaigning. Success with ACT’s party vote will also depend on which other candidates ACT can come up with.

Honesty, competence, internal polling

Swordfish frequently posts on poll related matters at The Standard and elsewhere. They seem to have detailed knowledge of internal Labour polls and also imply knowledge of internal National polls.

First, comments on honesty and competence.

Certainly the detailed breakdowns of leadership polls over the last few years suggest that Key’s/National’s popularity has revolved not so much around public perceptions of honesty as around perceptions of basic competence.

The New Zealand Election Study of 2011 found that Valence issues – especially perceptions of Leadership Ability and Economic Competence – played the most important role in vote choice for those not already firmly aligned.

And furthermore, despite the assumptions of some on the Left that Key’s image had remained entirely untarnished up until the Dirty Politics scandal erupted, his Honesty ratings had, in fact, been slowly but steadily eroding for quite some time – at the time of the September 2014 General Election, they were down more than 20 percentage points on 2009.

And yet the Nats still managed to win in 2014 and they’ve remained relatively high in the polls.

Why ? Largely, because a crucial segment of swing-voters were holding their noses and pragmatically placing perceived competence above concerns about dishonesty. (I’m putting aside the fact that the collapse of Colin Craig’s Conservatives has also played a part in keeping the Nats ratings at a respectable level and partially disguised a broad Nat-to-Oppo swing over the last 12 months).

But…

…it’s just possible that the Panama Papers affair may be hitting both Key and the Nats in the polls as we speak. As Pat (comment below) implies, we’ll need to see what happens over the next few polls – but arguably we already have some evidence.

First, I know of 3 Polls that have been carried out since the Panama Story broke: 1 Public Poll (Roy Morgan) and 2 Internal Party Polls (Curia for the Nats / UMR for Labour).

Both Roy Morgan and the UMR have National down on 42% – its lowest rating in any poll since the last Election (with the Govt Bloc also on its lowest rating and the Oppo Bloc on a 54% high in the Roy Morgan).

The Nats are down 5.5 points on the February Roy Morgan

Swordfish’s Roy Morgan numbers for National aren’t accurate. They are:

  • February 1-14, 2016: 48.5%
  • February 29 – March 13, 2016: 46%
  • April 4-17, 2016: 42.5%

This may foreshadow a slide for National, but their previous low of 43% in June 29 – July 12 2015 was followed by a bounce back to 50.5%.

… and down a very similar 5 points on the previous 2 Internal National Party Curia polls (conducted before the story broke).

Interesting knowledge of National’s internal polls. I don’t know how widely those results are circulated.

Second, a mid-April UMR found strong concern (even among erstwhile National voters) about New Zealand’s reputation as a tax haven, about the way the Government had handled the fallout, and about the inadequacy of the proposed Shewan review.

Time will tell whether tax and trust issues will persist or whether they will fizzle out due to a lack of substance.

And third, as I mentioned in earlier comments in April, the latest UMR puts Key on his lowest ever Favourability rating of just + 2 (compared to + 16 in the final quarter of 2015, + 27 in 2014, and + 58 during his first year in power).

That looks significant but it would be interesting to compare with Curia results on favourability ratings. I know Farrar rates favourability as an important factor.

Swordfish either doesn’t have those details from Curia or chooses to not mention them.

So, too early to tell for sure, but there are at least some initial hints of a slump in Tory support. Even if they have taken a hit, though, past experience does suggest that it could be temporary. We won’t know until we know.

Yes, too early to tell if National is suffering lasting poll damage.

Not too early to tell which side of politics Swordfish is inclined towards, and it’s not ‘Tory’ (which is not a very New Zealand term).

Guide to political polls

One of the best sites to follow if you’re interested in US elections is Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight especially anything poll related.

They’ve just posted a good guide to US political polling. Some of this can apply to New Zealand polling as well.

Harry’s Guide To 2016 Election Polls

  1. Wait. Shrug off polls until just before primaries, or until after the conventions for the general election. Even within a week of a primary election, the polls are often inaccurate. The polls more than a month out are, at best, a guesstimate. General election polls are far more accurate on the eve of an election, and the candidate who leads after the major party conventions is likely to win.
  2. Ignore national primary polls – they measure nothing. (But state polls matter.) Unlike in general elections, when all states vote on the same day, the primary calendar is sequential; each state’s results often affect the next state’s. The national polls don’t add to your understanding of the race — just look at surveys of the upcoming states.
  3. Ignore hypothetical matchups in primary season – they also measure nothing. General election polls before and during the primary season have a very wide margin of error. That’s especially the case for candidates who aren’t even in the race and therefore haven’t been treated to the onslaught of skeptical media coverage usually associated with being the candidate.
  4. Look for polls of likely voters, not just registered voters. Voter turnout in primaries and non-presidential year general elections is often low. If you want to know who is going to win, you need to poll the people who are more likely to vote.
  5. Look for polls using live interviewers; they’re often more accurate. Although there are solid pollsters who don’t use live interviewers, studies show that pollsters who do tend to be more accurate in primary and general elections. Live-interview pollsters can reach landline and cellphone users, while robo-polls and Internet pollsters often miss big slices of the population.
  6. Be wary of Internet polls; they’re less tested. There are a number of good Internet pollsters, such as SurveyMonkey and YouGov, but these pollsters don’t have a long track record in primaries. In general elections, they tend to be at least as accurate as other types of pollsters.
  7. Know the polling firm – some are waaay better than others. Polls sponsored by major news organizations (ABC News, NBC News, The New York Times, etc.) are often the most accurate because more money is spent on them. If you haven’t heard of a pollster before, there’s probably a good reason for it. If you’re in doubt, check the FiveThirtyEight Pollster Ratings.
  8. Margin of error and sample size matter less than who’s in the sample. Good polling costs a lot of money, so many times the best polls have a smaller sample size (the more people you call, the costlier the survey). That raises the statistical margin of error, but the margin of error for a sample of 400 is less than double that for a sample size of 1,000. What you don’t want is coverage error, in which you’re polling people who won’t even vote or ignoring people who will.
  9. Beware polls tagged “bombshells” or “stunners.” Outliers are usually wrong. “Surprising” polls are usually outliers. Anyone remember when Gallup called for a Mitt Romney victory in 2012? That was wrong.
  10. Instead, look at averages or trends in polling. There’s a reason we aggregate polls at FiveThirtyEight: The aggregate is usually better than any individual pollster. That’s especially the case in general elections. In primaries, the trend line can be more important, as a candidate with momentum heading into a contest often outperforms his or her average.
  11. Asking people about their votes “if the election were tomorrow” is designed to heighten drama by reducing “undecided” responses. The average primary poll finds that only about 10 percent of voters are undecided, even months from the election. Yet, the vast majority of primary voters don’t make up their minds until the final month before voting. The true number of undecideds are far higher than polls indicate far out from an election.
  12. Consider the motives of the media reporting on polls. They want headlines. This one is self-explanatory. The media are interested in your readership. Moreover, partisan news outlets are more likely to give press to those polls that favor their preferred candidate.

Also consider the motives of political blogs that comment on polls. Most have an obvious slant. When a blog doesn’t comment on a poll it can say more than when they do.

Being a pollster with a very good (polling) reputation David Farrar at Kiwiblog is the most useful in New Zealand.

He also has poll summaries on the blog on his Curia website.

Polls can be interesting and useful but they can only ever be approximations of what might happen in elections or referendums in the future.

“If an election was held today” poll run over several days is quite a different situation to if an election was held today and we voted.

@FiveThirtyEight
How do you know when to trust a poll?

cw7rjyewkaevph5

 

 

An accurate pollster on the payroll

David Farrar posted Is Key on drugs ask du Fresne? at Kiwiblog. He quoted from a column by Karl Du Fresne: John Key: Mr Nice Guy’s unbelievable aura of serenity:

I have never met John Key, but like anyone who follows politics I’ve been able to observe him via the media. And after studying him carefully, I think I now realise the explanation for much of his behaviour. He’s on drugs.

Not the illegal kind, I should stress, but the mood-calming type that doctors prescribe. This may sound flippant, but consider the following.

In the 2014 election campaign, Key was subjected to possibly the most sustained media offensive faced by any prime minister in New Zealand history. Day after day he was tackled by an aggressive media pack trying to trap him on dirty politics, illicit surveillance and other touchy issues.

His answers were often unsatisfactory, which served only to ramp up the media frenzy. But through it all, he appeared supernaturally imperturbable. He patiently batted away reporters’ questions and accusations with his familiar bland inscrutability. There were no meltdowns, no hissy fits, no petulant walkouts.

This was downright unnatural. No politician should be that unflappable. He can have achieved it only by the ingestion of large amounts – indeed, industrial quantities – of tranquillisers.

Cameron Slater explains at Whale Oil that the serenity is based on accurate polling.

No Karl, the serenity comes from having an accurate pollster on the payroll.

That way you know that, despite the baying pack of dogs that is the press gallery, your policy platform is being well received, your party is performing well and that Twitter and Facebook aren’t the real world.

This is why John Key thanked David Farrar on election night, he was the one who provided the information daily to John Key to let him know that Dirty Politics, the plot of the left-wing to unseat his government, wasn’t working as they expected.

I agree. Knowledge may not be power but it can help a lot, if it’s accurate knowledge.

Contrast that with the inept polling and claims by people who should know better like Rob Salmond and David Talbot. Salmond constantly inflated Labour’s real poll results, sometimes by up to 10%, giving his small band of readers and assorted hangers on, including the leadership of Labour at the time false hope.

Inaccurate knowledge can be worse than none.

Serenity comes from accuracy, panic comes from idiocy and losing your head.

Slater can still write insightful posts (if he wrote it).

It is said that Key relies heavily on his monitoring of public opinion as provided by Farrar’s Curia polling. It is certainly going to be more useful than reading blog opinions, which are slanted towards the vocal fringes (except here of course!)

Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Cabell, 22 January 1820:

…my hopes however are kept in check by the ordinary character of our state legislatures, the members of which do not generally possess information enough to percieve the important truths, that knolege is power, that knolege is safety, and that knolege is happiness.

Key may not always be happy with what happens but he is safely in power for now.

Pope blasts Curia in Christmas message

The Pope has blasted the Roman Curia in his Christmas message to them. He began:

“Sometimes [Officials of the Curia] feel themselves ‘lords of the manor’ [It. padroni] – superior  to everyone and everything,” forgetting that the spirit, which should animate them in their lives of service to the universal Church, is one of humility and generosity, especially in view of the fact that none of us will live forever on this earth.

He went on to list fifteen ‘diseases’ including:

  • The feeling of indispensability “often stems from a pathology of power, the ‘complex of the elect….is the narcissism that looks passionately on its own image and does not see the image of God stamped on the face of others, especially the weakest and most in need.”
  • “Existential schizophrenia” of double lives that create “parallel worlds”
  • “Terrorism of gossip” that sows discord and that amounts to “cold-blooded murder” of friends and colleagues.
  • Being “excessively busy” and not taking time for rest;
  • Excessive planning of functionalizing, or trying to “close or direct the freedom of the Holy Spirit”;
  • Bad coordination, like an orchestra that produces noise instead of music: “When the foot tells the hand, ‘I don’t need you,’ or the hand tells the head ‘I’m in charge’ “;
  • Rivalry and vainglory: “When one’s appearance, the color of one’s vestments or honorific titles become the primary objective of life”;
  • Indifference toward the needs of others: “When, out of jealousy or guile, you feel joy at seeing another fall rather than lifting them and encourage them”;
  • Accumulation: “When the apostle tries to fill an existential emptiness in his heart by accumulating material goods, not because he needs them but because he’ll feel more secure”;
  • Worldly profit and exhibitionism: “It’s the sickness of those who insatiably try to multiply their powers and to do so are capable of calumny, defamation and discrediting others, even in newspapers and magazines, naturally to show themselves as being more capable than others.”

Then he concluded.

After listing these ailments, Pope Francis continued, “We are therefore required, at this Christmas time and in all the time of our service and our existence – to live ‘speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love’”.

“I once read that priests are like aeroplanes: they only make the news when they crash, but there are many that fly. Many criticise them and few pray for them”, he concluded. “It is a very nice phrase, but also very true, as it expresses the importance and the delicacy of our priestly service, and how much harm just one priest who falls may cause to the whole body of the Church”.

He’s a very different sort of Pope. The ‘padroni’ may not like being told hard truth but it’s good to hear the Pope being prepared to shake up their self serving complacency..

Pope Francis launched a blistering attack on the Vatican bureaucracy Monday, outlining a “catalog of illnesses” that plague the church’s central administration, including “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and gossipy cliques.

The pope’s traditional Christmas greeting to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Holy See was less an exchange of warm wishes than a laundry list of what the pontiff called the “ailments of the Curia” that he wants to cure.

In a critique that left many of the assembled clerics clearly uncomfortable, the 15 ailments in Francis’ “catalog of illnesses” reflected the take-no-prisoners approach he promised when he was elected nearly two years ago as an outsider with little direct experience in Rome.

Pope Francis issued a blistering critique on Monday (Tuesday NZT) of the Vatican bureaucracy that serves him, denouncing how some people lust for power at all costs, live hypocritical double lives and suffer from “spiritual Alzheimer’s” that has made them forget they’re supposed to be joyful men of God.

Francis’ Christmas greeting to the cardinals, bishops and priests who run the Holy See was no joyful exchange of holiday good wishes. Rather, it was a sobering catalog of 15 sins of the Curia that Francis said he hoped would be atoned for and cured in the New Year.

He had some zingers: How the “terrorism of gossip” can “kill the reputation of our colleagues and brothers in cold blood.” How cliques can “enslave their members and become a cancer that threatens the harmony of the body” and eventually kill it by “friendly fire.” About how those living hypocritical double lives are “typical of mediocre and progressive spiritual emptiness that no academic degree can fill.”

Pope Francis on Monday used an annual pre-Christmas meeting with the cardinals and bishops of the Vatican bureaucracy — normally an exchange of good wishes and blessings — to issue a scathing critique of them, warning against 15 separate “diseases” in their work and attitudes.

Saying he wanted to prepare them all — including himself — to make “a real examination of conscience” before Christmas, Francis said while the Vatican bureaucracy was called to “always improve and grow in communion,” it was also prone to “disease, malfunction, and infirmity” like every human institution.

“I believe it will help us [to make] a ‘catalog’ of diseases … to help us prepare for the sacrament of reconciliation, which will be a good step for all of us to prepare for Christmas,” Francis said.

Many of the 15 diseases given by Francis were frank and blunt: a feeling of indispensability like a “rich fool”; of having a “spiritual Alzheimer’s” that makes a person dependent on the present; of living an “existential schizophrenia” of double lives that create “parallel worlds”; and a “terrorism of gossip” that sows discord and that amounts to “cold-blooded murder” of friends and colleagues.

His full message:

Pope Francis: Christmas greetings to Curia

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received the heads and other senior officials of the departments of the Roman Curia on Monday, in their traditional exchange of Christmas greetings. In remarks prepared for the occasion and delivered Monday morning, the Holy Father focused on the need for those who serve in the curia – especially those in positions of power and authority – to remember and cultivate an attitude and a spirit of service.

“Sometimes,” said Pope Francis, “[Officials of the Curia] feel themselves ‘lords of the manor’ [It. padroni] – superior  to everyone and everything,” forgetting that the spirit, which should animate them in their lives of service to the universal Church, is one of humility and generosity, especially in view of the fact that none of us will live forever on this earth.

“It is good to think of the Roman Curia as a small model of the Church, that is, a body that seeks, seriously and on a daily basis, to be more alive, healthier, more harmonious and more united in itself and with Christ”.

“The Curia is always required to better itself and to grow in communion, sanctity and wisdom to fully accomplish its mission. However, like any body, it is exposed to sickness, malfunction and infirmity. … I would like to mention some of these illnesses that we encounter most frequently in our life in the Curia. They are illnesses and temptations that weaken our service to the Lord”, continued the Pontiff, who after inviting all those present to an examination of conscience to prepare themselves for Christmas, listed the most common Curial ailments:

The first is “the sickness of considering oneself ‘immortal’, ‘immune’ or ‘indispensable’, neglecting the necessary and habitual controls. A Curia that is not self-critical, that does not stay up-to-date, that does not seek to better itself, is an ailing body. … It is the sickness of the rich fool who thinks he will live for all eternity, and of those who transform themselves into masters and believe themselves superior to others, rather than at their service”.

The second is “’Martha-ism’, or excessive industriousness; the sickness of those who immerse themselves in work, inevitably neglecting ‘the better part’ of sitting at Jesus’ feet. Therefore, Jesus required his disciples to rest a little, as neglecting the necessary rest leads to stress and agitation. Rest, once one who has brought his or her mission to a close, is a necessary duty and must be taken seriously: in spending a little time with relatives and respecting the holidays as a time for spiritual and physical replenishment, it is necessary to learn the teaching of Ecclesiastes, that ‘there is a time for everything’”.

Then there is “the sickness of mental and spiritual hardening: that of those who, along the way, lose their inner serenity, vivacity and boldness and conceal themselves behind paper, becoming working machines rather than men of God. … It is dangerous to lose the human sensibility necessary to be able to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice! It is the sickness of those who lose those sentiments that were present in Jesus Christ”.

“The ailment of excessive planning and functionalism: this is when the apostle plans everything in detail and believes that, by perfect planning things effectively progress, thus becoming a sort of accountant. … One falls prey to this sickness because it is easier and more convenient to settle into static and unchanging positions. Indeed, the Church shows herself to be faithful to the Holy Spirit to the extent that she does not seek to regulate or domesticate it. The Spirit is freshness, imagination and innovation”.

The “sickness of poor coordination develops when the communion between members is lost, and the body loses its harmonious functionality and its temperance, becoming an orchestra of cacophony because the members do not collaborate and do not work with a spirit of communion or as a team”.

“Spiritual Alzheimer’s disease, or rather forgetfulness of the history of Salvation, of the personal history with the Lord, of the ‘first love’: this is a progressive decline of spiritual faculties, that over a period of time causes serious handicaps, making one incapable of carrying out certain activities autonomously, living in a state of absolute dependence on one’s own often imaginary views. We see this is those who have lost their recollection of their encounter with the Lord … in those who build walls around themselves and who increasingly transform into slaves to the idols they have sculpted with their own hands”.

“The ailment of rivalry and vainglory: when appearances, the colour of one’s robes, insignia and honours become the most important aim in life. … It is the disorder that leads us to become false men and women, living a false ‘mysticism’ and a false ‘quietism’”.

Then there is “existential schizophrenia: the sickness of those who live a double life, fruit of the hypocrisy typical of the mediocre and the progressive spiritual emptiness that cannot be filled by degrees or academic honours. This ailment particularly afflicts those who, abandoning pastoral service, limit themselves to bureaucratic matters, thus losing contact with reality and with real people. They create a parallel world of their own, where they set aside everything they teach with severity to others and live a hidden, often dissolute life”.

The sickness of “chatter, grumbling and gossip: this is a serious illness that begins simply, often just in the form of having a chat, and takes people over, turning them into sowers of discord, like Satan, and in many cases cold-blooded murderers of the reputations of their colleagues and brethren. It is the sickness of the cowardly who, not having the courage to speak directly to the people involved, instead speak behind their backs”.

“The sickness of deifying leaders is typical of those who court their superiors, with the hope of receiving their benevolence. They are victims of careerism and opportunism, honouring people rather than God. They are people who experience service thinking only of what they might obtain and not of what they should give. They are mean, unhappy and inspired only by their fatal selfishness”.

“The disease of indifference towards others arises when each person thinks only of himself, and loses the sincerity and warmth of personal relationships. When the most expert does not put his knowledge to the service of less expert colleagues; when out of jealousy … one experiences joy in seeing another person instead of lifting him up or encouraging him”.

“The illness of the funereal face: or rather, that of the gruff and the grim, those who believe that in order to be serious it is necessary to paint their faces with melancholy and severity, and to treat others – especially those they consider inferior – with rigidity, hardness and arrogance. In reality, theatrical severity and sterile pessimism are often symptoms of fear and insecurity”.

“The disease of accumulation: when the apostle seeks to fill an existential emptiness of the heart by accumulating material goods, not out of necessity but simply to feel secure. … Accumulation only burdens and inexorably slows down our progress”.

“The ailment of closed circles: when belonging to a group becomes stronger than belonging to the Body and, in some situations, to Christ Himself. This sickness too may start from good intentions but, as time passes, enslaves members and becomes a ‘cancer’ that threatens the harmony of the Body and causes a great deal of harm – scandals – especially to our littlest brothers”.

Then, there is the “disease of worldly profit and exhibitionism: when the apostle transforms his service into power, and his power into goods to obtain worldly profits or more power. This is the disease of those who seek insatiably to multiply their power and are therefore capable of slandering, defaming and discrediting others, even in newspapers and magazines, naturally in order to brag and to show they are more capable than others”.

After listing these ailments, Pope Francis continued, “We are therefore required, at this Christmas time and in all the time of our service and our existence – to live ‘speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love’”.

“I once read that priests are like aeroplanes: they only make the news when they crash, but there are many that fly. Many criticise them and few pray for them”, he concluded. “It is a very nice phrase, but also very true, as it expresses the importance and the delicacy of our priestly service, and how much harm just one priest who falls may cause to the whole body of the Church”.

Cannabis law posts and polls

There’s been two cannabis law discussions today on blogs so I have looked for polls on the issue. The most indicative polls from UMR from 2011 and 2013 suggest a slight trend towards a softening of laws with nearly two thirds thinking there should be some change.

Whale Oil: SIMPLE REALLY, BUT ONE IS LEGAL AND ONE IS NOT which has links to US poll data. Cameron Slater concludes:

It is high time (snigger) that our politicians acted responsibly and moved toward legalisation of cannabis. There is no better way to reduce the harm of synthetic cannabis than to allow organic cannabis onto the market freely and without sanction save for similar legislative processes similar to alcohol and tobacco.

The Standard had a guest post What do we do about synthetic cannabis? but the discussion that followed also covered cannabis and the question came up about public opinion on law reform. I searched and found information on several relevant polls.

A Curia poll run for Family First

KIWIS SAY NOPE TO DOPE – POLL
Media Release 10 September 2013

Only one in three NZ’s believe that marijuana should be decriminalised, according to an independent poll of NZ’ers.

In the poll of 1,000 NZ’ers by Curia Market Research, respondents were asked whether they agreed with the statement “If an adult wishes to use a drug such as marijuana, they should be able to do so legally.”

Only 33% of respondents agreed, with 60% disagreeing and 7% being unsure or refusing to say.

This will have been a properly scientific poll the headline the claim doesn’t match the odd poll question.

“Use a drug such as marijuana” opens up possibilities of drugs other than cannabis so people are not saying no “to dope”, they are saying no to ‘drugs such as dope which is significantly different.

It’s quite possible people would have decided based on synthetic cannabis and other concoctions as well as natural cannabis.

It’s quite possible that a question referring to natural marijuana only would have more agreeing and fewer disagreeing than this poll result.

I also found a more useful reference to two other polls, both done by UMR.

Two marijuana specific polls from UMR which show a slight move to more softening of marijuana laws:

…the results of a SAYit survey of n=1000 New Zealanders conducted in August 2011, and showed that at that time:

14% wanted marijuana fully legalised
45% wanted it decriminalised, so anyone caught using it would get fined but would not get a criminal record
38% believed that it should remain illegal and anyone caught using it should get a criminal record.
3% were unsure.

​We re-asked this question in July 2013 (again with a survey of n=1000 New Zealanders), which showed a small change in attitudes.

17% now want marijuana fully legalised
46% now want it decriminalised
35% believe that it should remain illegal.
2% are now unsure.

​The proportion favouring a softening in the laws is therefore up from 59% to 63%.

http://sayit.co.nz/blog/marijuana-versus-synthetic-cannabis

This suggests a possible trend towards at least softening cannabis laws with nearly two thirds in favour of some change.

Danyl’s diddled polling

Danyl has posted at Dim-Post – Scenario – based on “aggregated poll results for National vs Labour-Greens adjusted for poll bias”.

His adjustment is based, as I understand it, on the fact that National got a few percent less in the 2011 election than polls had been indicating. He makes the assumption that the exact same conditions apply ever since then. That seems potentially severely flawed.

National trending down seems fair enough, but a current aggregate seems to be an unscientific Danyl bias – 40.5% for National is less than any poll since the election.

Last weekend’s 3 News/Reid research poll has National on 44.5%, their lowest result with them since Key took power.

Roy Morgan polls regularly (usually every two weeks). They have had 48 polls since the election with:

  • Range: 40.5-51.0%
  • Average: 45%
  • Last ten (since Aug 2013): 44, 41, 42, 41.5, 42, 45.5, 44.5, 45, 43.5, 47

The lows were when Labour were having their leader’s road trip and Cunliffe was selected, giving them a boost at National’s expense but after a couple of months the National trend is upwards, as shown here:

Pundit runs a non-adjusted poll of polls that has National maintaining a mid forties trend.

That has the left/right gap level pegging. Danyl shows Labour+Green with a 3.5% advantage.

Curia also has a weighted and averaged poll (up to October 2013 with National on 46.2%.

I don’t know if Danyl thinks he is outsmarting the polls, or if he has a cunning plan to under-report National support – but i don’t know who that would help. (Danyl is Green orientated).

If there is a different party variance to polls at this year’s election will Danyl carry that forward in his poll projection for the next three years?