Misleading abortion poll results

David Farrar has posted  Poll on abortion which repeats some what I thought were misleading poll results, unless you look carefully.

Curia did polling in January for ALRANZ to ascertain views of New Zealanders on whether abortion should be legal in different circumstances.  I thought the results were very interesting with the net level of support (those saying legal less those saying illegal) for each situation being:

  • Pregnant woman likely to die +72%
  • Foetus has no chance of survival +70%
  • Pregnant woman likely to be permanently harmed +70%
  • Pregnancy is a result of rape +65%
  • Pregnancy is a result of birth control failure +31%
  • Pregnant mother can’t afford to have another child +27%
  • Pregnant woman doesn’t want to be a mother +22%

Note that those percentages are “the net level of support (those saying legal less those saying illegal)”, not the actual percentages of responses.

This repeats how the results are displayed on the Abortion Rights Aotearoa in 2017 National Abortion Poll Results. If you click through to the Full Poll Results and Data  you get a different set of numbers:

The level of support for abortion being legal in each situation is:
1. Pregnant woman likely to die 77%
2. Foetus has no chance of survival 76%
3. Pregnant woman likely to be permanently harmed 76%
4. Pregnancy is a result of rape 73%
5. Pregnancy is a result of birth control failure 55%
6. Pregnant mother can’t afford to have another child 54%
7. Pregnant woman doesn’t want to be a mother 51%

The level of support for abortion being illegal in each situation is:
1. Pregnant woman likely to die 5%
2. Foetus has no chance of survival 6%
3. Pregnant woman likely to be permanently harmed 6%
4. Pregnancy is a result of rape 8%
5. Pregnancy is a result of birth control failure 24%
6. Pregnant mother can’t afford to have another child 27%
7. Pregnant woman doesn’t want to be a mother 29%

They follow that with the net results as posted in their Executive Summary and on Kiwiblog, but I think that is not how most people expect to see results and in fact I think appears to understate support for abortion rights.

This seems odd given that the poll was commissioned and published by Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand.

They have a table that gives better clarity.


Poll details:

CLIENT: Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand
POLL DATES: Sun 22 to Mon 30 January 2017. The median response was
collected on Thu 26 January 2017.
TARGET POPULATION: Eligible New Zealand voters.
SAMPLE POPULATION: Eligible New Zealand voters who are contactable on a landline.
SAMPLE SIZE: 1,000 respondents agreed to participate.
SAMPLE SELECTION: A random selection of 15,000 nationwide phone numbers.
WEIGHTING: The results are weighted to reflect the overall voting adult
population in terms of gender, age, and area.
SAMPLE ERROR: Based on this sample of 1,000 respondents, the maximum
sampling error (for a result of 50%) is +/- 3.1%, at the 95% confidence level.


Labour-Green down in Roy Morgan

In the first poll since Bill English took over from John Key National have barely changed (up 1 to 46%) and Labour+Greens are down 3.5 to 39.5%.

It’s early days yet for time post-Key but the change of Prime Minister is showing no sign of being the game changer that some on the left had hoped.

And the campaign since late last year on Whale Oil to attack National and Bill English hasn’t nudged things down at all let alone by the 10% Cameron Slater has suggested might happen.

  • National 46% (up from 45)
  • Labour 27% (down from 28.5)
  • Greens 12.5% (down from 14.5)
  • NZ First 9% (up from 7.5)
  • Maori Party 2% (up from 1)
  • ACT 0.5% (no change)
  • United Future 0.5% (no change)
  • Conservative Party 0.5% (no change)
  • Mana Party 0% (no change)
  • Internet Party 0% (down from 0.5)
  • Other 2% (up from 1.5)

Polling was done from a very quiet time, from 3-16 January 2017.

The movements for Labour wouldn’t look so bad if quoted separately, but some on the left are very keen to combine the two.


It’s very early in election year but this will have disappointed a few on the far right and many on the left.


The poll has been mentioned at The Standard but no post as yet. No mention that I can see at Whale Oil but they are often slow with fresh news there, unless it is favourable to one of their agendas.

Last RM poll of the year

The last Roy Morgan poll of the year and probably the last political poll of the year is typically bouncy but is probably a relief for both National and Labour without being great for either.

The polling was done while a lot was happening, following the Mt Roskill by-election and covering John Key’s resignation and the selection of Bill English as Prime Minister. Nothing much can be read into the poll from any of that.

  • National 45% (down from 49.5)
  • Labour 28.5% (up from 23)
  • Greens 14.5% (no change)
  • NZ First 7.5% (down 0.5)
  • Maori Party 1.0% (down from 1.5)
  • ACT Party 0.5% (down from 1.0)
  • Conservative Party 0.5% (no change)
  • Internet party 0.5% (up from 0)
  • United Future 0% (down from 0.5)
  • Independent/Other 1.5% (no change)

Those are rounded to the nearest 0.5.

National will be relieved they didn’t drop more than that, they are about average for RM polls this year and had as low as 41.5% in September.

And Labour will be relieved to have recovered from last month’s low.


Electors were asked: “If a New Zealand Election were held today which party would receive your party vote?” This latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted by telephone – both landline and mobile telephone, with a NZ wide cross-section of 872 electors between November 28-December 11, 2016. Of all electors surveyed 5.5% (down 1%) didn’t name a party.


‘Most important problems’

Roy Morgan have polled on what people think are the most important problems.

“Firstly, what do you think is the most important problem facing the World today?


  • Wars & Conflicts/ Unrest 14% (up from 7)
  • Terrorism 9% (down from 16)
  • Refugee/ Migrant Crisis 3% (no change)
  • Religion/ Religious Conflict 2% (no change)

What do you think is the most important problem facing New Zealand today?”


Not surprising to see housing jump over economic issues.

  • Poverty/inequality is near it’s lowest over last year and this year on 16%.
  • Immigration/ Refugees is barely changed over the last year, on 4% .
  • Climate Change/ Global Warming 1%
  • Environmental Pollution/ Water Pollution
  • Homeless/ Homelessness/ Housing shortage 10% (3% until July 2016)

These findings come from a special New Zealand Roy Morgan survey conducted with New Zealanders aged 14+ asked what are the most important issues facing New Zealand and the World today.

In New Zealand, a cross-section of 1,001 men and women aged 14 or over were interviewed by telephone in October 2016. The research conducted was both qualitative (in that people were asked to use their own words) and quantitative (in that the ‘open-ended’ responses were analysed and ‘coded’ so that the results could be counted and reported as percentages).


Mt Roskill poll v. political claims

There seems to have been a non-public poll done for the Mt Roskill by-election for Labour, but there are mixed messages.

A week ago in NZ’s feeblest John Key parrot is on the brink of a shellacking in Mt Roskill  Simon Wilson wrote:

Labour has a poll that puts their candidate, Michael Wood, 30 points ahead, at 58 to 28. That’s a spectacular fail in an electorate where National won the party vote in 2014 by 2000.

That would be a spectacular result, but without any details about the poll, when it was taken, what the questions were, and what the sample size and method were, it’s worth being very wary – especially when a party with a vested interest promotes the results.

This came up again today, started by a tweet from Labour MP Phil Twyford.

Never mind Key’s spin, the Herald has the numbers on why Roskill is no slam dunk for Michael Wood

Even post-Trump, NZ spin is parties vying to claim that they will in fact suffer the most humiliating defeat

Unlike Key we are not predicting defeat, just that Roskill may be close run and that we have to work hard for it.

Thought your internal polling was supposed to be putting you 30 points ahead?

Don’t believe every bit of unsourced speculation you hear.

I didn’t say I believed it. But @simonbwilson was on NatRad this morning saying Labour had told him this. So either Simon’s bullshitting (which I very much doubt) or someone’s bullshitting Simon.

No reason to doubt my sources. Plural. Both parties have reason to argue it’s close. Both bullshitting? Oh dear, agony for another 28 hours!

Theoretically, that poll *should* be accurate [safe seat; 3rd term Nat govt, etc]. But things are weird right now.

@simonbwilson  Strong Lab cand + strong campaign. Weak Nat cand. Greens X. 3rd party votes off Parmar. By-elect. Crime. House $. Key says nah.

Most things point to a comfortable win to Labour’s Wood, but it may close up, that poll is over a week old.

But why did Twyford emphasise “Roskill is no slam dunk” and “Roskill may be close run”?

1 News poll

The latest 1 News Colmar Brunton poll:

  • National 50% (up from 48)
  • Labour 28% (up from 26)
  • Greens 11% (down from 13)
  • NZ First 10% (down from 11)
  • Maori Party 1% (down from 1.8)
  • Conservative Party 0.2% (down from 0.3)
  • Act Party 0% (down from 0.5)
  • United Future 0% (no change)

Very good for National. Not so good for Labour because, while they went up 2% Greens dropped 2 so Labour+Greens remain on 39%.

This isn’t a good position for Labour to be in going into the holiday break.


Preferred Prime Minister maybe shows the Brexit/Trump effect, everyone is less preferred:

  • John Key 36% (down from 38)
  • Andrew Little 8% (down from 10)
  • Winston Peters 8% (down from 11)

Polling of 1010 eligible New Zealand voters was split between Saturday 12-Sunday 13 and Monday 21-Wednesday 23 November (fieldwork was disrupted by the earthquakes).


Majority support Muslim & asylum seeker immigration

An interesting Australian immigration poll of  by Roy Morgan.

“Over the last year (2015) about 180,000 immigrants came to Australia. Do you think the number of people coming here to live permanently should be increased, or reduced, or remain about the same?”

  • Remain about the same 40%
  • Increased 21%
  • Reduced 34%
  • Can’t say 5%

“Judging by what you see and hear, do you think immigrants are changing Australia’s culture and way of life – or having little effect.”

Respondents who responded that immigrants are changing us were then asked: “Do you think immigrants are changing Australia’s culture and way of life for better or for worse?”

  • Better 32%
  • Worse 32%
  • Can’t say (better or worse) 10%
  • Having little effect 19%
  • Can’t say (changing us) 3%

This is a similar result for ‘better’ to a poll in 2010 but a slight reduction from a poll last year.

“Australia’s population has increased by 6 million from 18 million to just over 24 million over the last 20 years. What population do you think we should aim to have in Australia in 30 years – that is, by 2046?”

  • Under 30 million 34%
  • 30-under 35 million 24%
  • 35 million or more 24%
  • Can’t say 18%

That’s a fairly even spread, but a big reduction since 2010 in the preference for under 30 million.

“Please say whether you support or oppose (Muslim / Asylum seeker/ Skilled migrant/ Family reunion) immigration?”

  • Support 58% (54% 2010, 65% 2015)
  • Oppose 33% (35% 2010, 28% 2015)
  • Can’t say 9%


Trump versus women

The issue of Donald trump’s attitude to women and his alleged inappropriate behaviour with women continues to dominate the US presidential election. More allegations have been published from women claiming that Trump has acted with them much like he described him being in the tape conversation that emerged a week ago.

This also brings to the surface a major issue of (some) male attitudes to woman.

The latest allegation is in the Washington Post: Woman says Trump reached under her skirt and groped her in early 1990s

Kristin Anderson, who was pursuing a modeling career, has told The Post that Donald Trump groped her on a couch in a crowded Manhattan nightspot in the early 1990s. The Trump campaign denied the allegations, as it has denied claims made by other women who have come forward in recent days.

Kristin Anderson was deep in conversation with acquaintances at a crowded Manhattan nightspot and did not notice the figure to her right on a red velvet couch — until, she recalls, his fingers slid under her miniskirt, moved up her inner thigh, and touched her vagina through her underwear.

Anderson shoved the hand away, fled the couch and turned to take her first good look at the man who had touched her, she said.

She recognized him as Donald Trump: “He was so distinctive looking — with the hair and the eyebrows. I mean, nobody else has those eyebrows.”

Over the years, Anderson, now 46 and a photographer living in Southern California, has recounted the story to people she knew, casually at first.

One friend, Kelly Stedman, told The Washington Post that Anderson informed her about the encounter a few days after it happened.

Anderson, who said she doesn’t support Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton, did not initially approach The Post. A reporter contacted her after hearing her story from a person who knew of it, and she spent several days trying to decide whether to go public.

“Mr. Trump strongly denies this phony allegation by someone looking to get some free publicity. It is totally ridiculous,” Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in an emailed statement.

The growing number of complaints against Trump, triggered by his denial he never acted the way he described in the tape, are a major distraction for his presidential campaign.

And they seem to be having an effect in polls. Trump is losing support amongst women.

A spokesperson for Trump has just said on Fox News that the allegations are very difficult to deal with (understandably). He also said he knows Trump very well and “he didn’t do any of these things”. That means nothing unless he was with at the time of each alleged grope.

The latest Fox News poll: Clinton leads Trump by 7 points:

Hillary Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump has increased to seven points, as more than half of voters say he is not qualified to be president.

  • Hillary Clinton 45%
  • Donald Trump 38%
  • Gary Johnson 7%
  • Jill Stein 3%.

Last week, Clinton was up by two points in the four-way contest (44-42 percent).

In the two-way matchup, it’s Clinton over Trump by eight (49-41 percent).  She had a four-point edge a week ago (48-44 percent, Oct. 3-6).  

That’s a significant move.

Breakdowns show that Trump is best supported by less educated white males, and his support from women is slipping.

Trump’s support:

  • Men +5 points
  • Whites +14
  • Whites without a college degree +25

But he has declining support with:

  • Voters ages 65+ down 11 points
  • White college graduates down 6
  • Regular church goers down 8
  • Women ages 45 and over down 12
  • Suburban women down 10
  • White women with a college degree down 7
  • GOP women down 6

That is significantly reducing support from women.

Trump’s enthusiasm advantage is also down, and Clinton’s is up:

70 percent of his backers “strongly” supported him last week.  That’s 63 percent now.  

For Clinton, it’s 66 percent, up from 57 percent.  

Honest and trustworthy:

  • Clinton 32% (up 1)
  • Trump 31% (down 3)

The right temperament to serve effectively as president:

  • Clinton 62% (up 1)
  • Trump 34% (down 3)

“Regardless of how you might vote, how qualified do you think Hillary Clinton is to be President of the United States?”

  • Very 41% (up 4)
  • Somewhat 26% (up 1)
  • Not very 8% (down 3)
  • Not at all 24% (down 3)

“Regardless of how you might vote, how qualified do you think Trump is to be President of the United States?”


  • Very 16% (no change)
  • Somewhat 26% (down 1)
  • Not very 9% (down 5)
  • Not at all 49% (up 7)


Clinton has her own problems with the drip feed from WikiLeaks, but at this stage it seems that Trump is being damaged more by the sexual impropriety allegations, especially amongst female voters.

UPDATE: There’s yet another woman who has come out and claimed Trump assaulted and kissed her during episode 5 of The Apprentice. She has just appeared with her lawyer in an interview from Los Angeles.

I’ve been watching Fox News coverage of this as it happens and as they covered the latest Trump speech and even from Fox he is getting bad coverage. They are showing contradictions in Trump’s denials, and showing him calling all the women liars and implying and saying that some of them are too ugly for him to assault.

He spent most of his speech (in Greensboro, North Carolina) denying accusations and attacking the women who have come out and accused him.

And he also continued with claims that the media is conspiring with the Clintons against him and that the whole election is rigged.

Some lap this stuff up but it’s looking increasingly like a major stuff up for the Republican Party.

There’s some irony here – Clinton has been promoted as a a great role model for women, especially if she wins the presidency.

But it may be Trump’s abuse of women and women’s reaction to that in the ballot box that loses the election for Trump more than Clinton winning it.


Poll on issues and immigration

IPSOS immigration poll:

Right-wing voters and long-term immigrants are less pro-immigration. Recent, pro-immigration people are more likely to be from India, whereas the long-term migrants who are mainly from the UK are now less favourable towards immigration.

Curia has a summary of an Ipsos poll on immigration:

Most important issues:


On immigration:


Also (via Curia):

  • A net 52% agree immigration should be targeted at professions with shortages
  • A net 48% say refugees can become highly valued contributors to society
  • A net 35% say immigration has made NZ a more interesting place to live
  • A net 28% say immigration is good for the economy
  • A net 30% agree immigration has placed too much pressure on public services
  • A net 15% are confident most refugees will integrate
  • A net 12% say immigration has made it harder for those here to get jobs
  • A net 10% say there are too many immigrants in NZ
  • A net 10% say terrorists who pretend to be refugees will enter NZ
  • A net 7% say immigrants are often better workers than those already here
  • A net -15% want an increase in the number of refugees
  • A net -35% say the number of immigrants who can move here should increase
  • A net -40% want no refugees accepted at all

There were 16545 people surveyed in 23 countries, including New Zealand.

• The New Zealand data was collected via one single survey of 505 adults. Some questions were omitted and some added, to ensure better suitability for the New Zealand context.

That’s a relatively small sample size.

The IPSOS survey summaries:

  • Housing affordability, cost of living and poverty concern the most New Zealanders, but age and political views influence people’s concerns.
  • Older people are more likely to say that immigration to New Zealand has increased a lot.
  • New Zealanders are much more likely to say immigration has had a positive impact.
  • New Zealand-born people have a more negative view of immigration than immigrants.
  • New Zealanders are generally positive about immigrants, but 53% feel they are pressuring public services and 54% do not want an increase in immigration numbers.
  • New Zealanders are less likely than most to feel that there are too many immigrants, but 53% agree that they are causing pressure.
  • Although 45% of New Zealanders feel that immigration has made it difficult to get jobs, New Zealanders are the most likely to feel that immigration has been good for the economy.
  • New Zealanders are the most likely to say immigrants with higher education should be given priority to fill skill shortages and that they make New Zealand a more interesting place to live.
  • Seasoned travellers and immigrants are more open and positive towards immigrants, while those New Zealandborn and poorly travelled are more ‘anti’.
  • Right-wing voters and long-term immigrants are less pro-immigration. Recent, pro-immigration people are more likely to be from India, whereas the long-term migrants who are mainly from the UK are now less favourable towards immigration.
  • While the majority of New Zealanders believe refugees can integrate well and contribute a lot, there is a concern about terrorism and little appetite for increasing the refugee intake.
  • New Zealanders are much less likely than those in the other countries surveyed to say ‘close our borders entirely’.
  • New Zealanders are much less likely to say terrorists pretending to be refugees will enter the country to cause havoc.
  • New Zealanders tend to be more confident about refugees’ ability to integrate.
  • Only 14% of New Zealanders knew the correct number of refugees allowed into NZ each year. 22% overestimated the number.
  • Those who over-estimate the size of the NZ refugee intake have a more negative view of refugees’ ability to contribute to society and likelihood to be terrorists.
    Those who over-estimate the size of the NZ refugee intake have a more negative view of refugees’ ability to integrate into NZ society and are more likely to feel we should stop admitting ALL refugees.
  • Most in EU countries think Britain was wrong to leave, for both Britain and the EU. New Zealanders are less concerned and Australians even less so.
  • New Zealanders are the most concerned about the effects on Britain than any other non-EU country surveyed, and are more concerned than Australians.
  • New Zealanders are the most concerned about the effects on the EU than any other non-EU country surveyed, and are more certain than Australians.
  • New Zealanders are more saddened and worried about future arising from the Brexit vote than Australians, who are also less likely to have an opinion.
  • 27% of New Zealanders believe that the Brexit vote will be bad for the New Zealand economy.
  • New Zealanders are more likely than those in EU countries themselves to think that the EU’s influence on the world stage will be reduced. Australians are less concerned.
  • Of all the non-EU countries surveyed, New Zealanders were the most likely to feel that both the UK and EU will become weaker post-Brexit.
  • The majority of New Zealanders felt that both the UK and the EU will become more divided and less integrated over time.

I think the poll questions on Brexit have little value here. My guess is that most New Zealanders will have only a vague knowledge at best of what Brexit was about, and our opinion is pointless anyway.

Curia has a link to the full poll details at  Ipsos poll on immigration

Labour jump, National slump in Roy Morgan

The September Roy Morgan poll has the main parties bouncing around.

  • National 41.5% (down from 46.0)
  • Labour 33.5% (up from 25.5)
  • Greens 12.0% (down from 14.5)
  • NZ First 8.5% (down from 9.5)
  • Maori Party 2.0% (up from 1.5)
  • ACT Party 1.0% (no change)
  • Conservative Party 0.5% (down from 1.0)
  • Mana 0% (down from 0.5)
  • United Future 0% (no change)
  • Other 1.0% (up from 0.5)

Who knows why National has dropped from 53% in July to 46% in August to 41.5% in September.

Or why Labour laboured on 25.5 for both Julu and August and then jumped 8% to 35.5 this month, when Andrew Little was hardly visible.

It would be wise not to get hopes up or down to much over this result.