Political polls for 2018

Political polls for the year haven’t shown any drastic changes, with Labour and National swapping the lead a few times after Labour had risen to be competitive late last year after the election.

I presume there will be no more political polls for 2018. Colmar Brunton (for 1 News) are the only ones left doing polls, and they have just published what will be their last one for the year.

Reid Research (Newshub) did just two polls this year, in January and May. Roy Morgan have up given doing New Zealand polls. Their last poll was in November 2017.

Labour looked dire mid 2017 but Jacinda Ardern’s leadership turned things around for them enough for them to  be able to form a government, thanks to NZ First.

NZ First have remained in the MMP danger zone, peaking on the 5% threshold but dropping as low as 2.4% (in May).

After polling mostly in the 10-15% range in the first half of last year Greens dropped drastically after the Turei fallout, and through this year holding their support just over the threshold in the 5-7% range. So their support has halved from the support they got for most of last term.

It seems normal for coalition support parties to struggle to maintain support.

After the latest poll Ardern was criticised for claiming that Labour “finishing the year stronger than we started it”, but she is correct, sort of, by a small margin and she is comparing two different polling companies.

Reid Research did an unusually early poll in the political holiday period 18-28 January, and had Labour on 42.3%. In May they had Labour on 42.6%.

Colmar Brunton’s last poll (24-28 November) had Labour on 43% (rounded so could have been as low as 42.51% or as high as 43.49%). However Colmar’s first poll of the year (10-14 February) had Labour at 48% so Labour have dropped back from that Colmar high.

Ardern also said “polls do move around a bit these are all still within the margin of error” –

We can only see trends from Colmar – here are Labour’s results for the year.

  • 10-14 February 48%
  • 7-11 April 43%
  • 19-23 May 43%
  • 28 Jul – 1 Aug  42%
  • 15-19 October 45%
  • 24-28 November 43%

The 48% for Labour looks to be a polling outlier – it could have been accurate at the time, but Labour settled in and remained in the low forties for the rest of the year. While they will be disappointed to be trailing National this is a fairly solid result for them, considering their pre-Ardern polling had them dropping in the twenties. Colmar had them trending down to 24% in July 2017.

National’s results from Colmar this year:

  • 10-14 February 43%
  • 7-11 April 44%
  • 19-23 May 45%
  • 28 Jul – 1 Aug  45%
  • 15-19 October 43%
  • 24-28 November 46%

They were behind Labour in February and in October (affected by the Jami-Lee Ross mess) but this is remarkably consistent for a party in Opposition, and with new leader Simon Bridges (since 27 February) who is struggling to make a mark.

Looking at the Labour and National polling for the year there is little in it, and little significant change in most polls.

Media have tried to make big stories out of their polls, but the reality is quite mundane.

I think we have a real problem with how polls are reported. Obviously media try to get bang for their bucks – polling can be expensive – but they usually make mountains out of mole polls, often blatantly misrepresenting what individual polls mean.

Media try to make each of their polls look like some sort of mini election, which is nonsense. They can only be approximate indicators of support, and the year after an election most of the people care little about politics most of the time.

If media were doing proper journalism they would report on the political polling without sensation and misrepresentation. And mostly that would be (and should be) quite boring.

How should the media get value for the money spent on polls? Perhaps they should also poll on things of real public interest at the same time, and make their big stories about that.

1 News blew that opportunity in the last poll. They did ask a one-off question – Should Simon Bridges boot Jami-Lee Ross from Parliament using waka jumping law?

The results of that mean nothing (and were inconclusive, with 31% saying they didn’t know). Most people have moved on from one MP self-destructing – actually most people probably took little notice when the media were going hard out with headlines.

1 News would probably like to encourage National to chuck Ross out of the waka (that would be out of parliament, they have already chucked him out of the party) because that could be headlined as a sensational political somersault or something.

Rather than aiming for short term headlines 1 News could do a really public service (they are a public media company after all) doing a series of meaningful polls on issues that really matter to people, but it would take months if not years to get a return on their investment. They seem too obsessed with short term ratings and clicks.

So I expect more of the same form polling next year, another non-election year. It’s a shame we are so poorly served by media who do polling, but I don’t see that changing.

Something worse has become prevalent – online polls run by media. They are cheap, and nasty, very unreliable so they are of no useful purpose.

Newshub/Reid Research poll – May 2018

The first poll since the budget, from Newshub/Reid Research:

  • National 45.1% (up 0.6%)
  • Labour 42.6% (up 0.3%)
  • Greens 5.7% (down 0.3%)
  • NZ First 2.4% (down 1.2%)

ACT, Maori Party and The Opportunities Party were not mentioned.

The only movement that is statistically significant is the drop for NZ First.

National and Labour will be happy their support is holding up – perhaps surprisingly for National given the amount of publicity Jacinda Ardern has had internationally recently and with her pregnancy, and how much attention Labour got out of last week’s budget.

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 40.2%
  • Simon Bridges 9.0%
  • Winston Peters 4.6%
  • Judith Collins 3.7%

Not surprising to see Ardern well ahead. Bridges is struggling be be seen or liked.  Support of Peters is waning ahead of him becoming acting Prime Minister soon.

Judith Collins makes her debut – she has been the most prominent and effective Opposition MP, and liked by some in the National Party.

39% said Peters would ‘do well’ in the top job.

Newshub stories:

Newshub poll – National and Labour close, NZF slump

A typically misleading headline from Newshub on their first political poll of the year: Labour soars to popularity not seen for a decade

According to the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll, Labour’s polling is at its highest level since 2007…

That might be correct for a Newshub/Reid Research poll, if their polling methods hadn’t changed in ten years and they have allowed for margins of error. But other polls last year had Labour around the same level of support (43%, 43%, 45%).

However Labour has risen, at the expense of NZ First.

  • National 44.5% (up 0.1)
  • Labour 42.3% (up 5.4)
  • Greens 6.0% (down 0.3)
  • NZ First 3.8% (down 3.4)
  • TOP 1.4% (down 1)
  • Maori Party 0.8% (down 0.4)
  • ACT 0.2% (down 0.3)

Most of those results are too small to mean anything, except for the Labour lift and the NZ First slump.

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 38% (up 8.3)
  • Bill English 26% (down 9)
  • Winston Peters 5.7% (down 1.4)

Newshub-Reid Research interviews were conducted using online polling and computer-assisted telephone interviewing. Some 750 people were interviewed by phone and 250 online between Thursday, January 18 and Sunday, January 28.

Data is weighted to ensure a cross-section of representation of age, gender and geography.

The sample error is maximum of +/-3.1 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

Also: Kiwis unfazed by Prime Minister’s pregnancy

And:  Bill English has solid backing as Opposition leader

One could wonder why Barry Soper raised the issue of English’s leadership in an ‘opinion’ piece this morning.

Newshub/Reid Research – pre-election poll

The last Newshub/Reid Research poll before the election:

  • National 45.8% (last week 47.3)
  • Labour 37.3% (last week 37.8)
  • NZ First 7.1% (last week 6.0)
  • Greens 7.1% (last week 4.9)
  • TOP 0.9% (last week 1.6)
  • Maori Party 0.4% (last week 1.1)
  • ACT 0.6% (last week 0.6)

This is quite similar to last night’s Colmar Brunton poll as well as being similar to last week’s Reid Research poll, with the only slight but possibly significant difference is NZ First coming back up a bit out of the threshold zone.

As we’ve known for a long time the election looks like being close and could go either way with a number of coalition possibilities remaining in play.

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 29.6% (last week 31.1)
  • Bill English  34.7% (last week 33.1)
  • Winston Peters 7.1% (last week 6.9)

The last poll was conducted 6-11 September. Margin of error of 3.1%.

Newshub election poll: Either National, Labour could take power

Stupid headline – no single party has been able to ‘take power’ under MMP.

Poll: Davis leads Harawira easily

According to a Newshub/Reid Research poll  Hone Harawira isn’t close to winning back his Te Tai Tokerau seat off Kelvin Davis.

  • Kelvin Davis (Labour) 67.4%
  • Hone Harawira (Mana) 30.3%
  • Godfrey Rudolf (Green) 2.3%

Davis got 43.90% in the 2014 election to Harawira’s 40.53, with the Maori Party candidate getting 11.65% and an independent getting 2.05%.

Party vote:

image_19905885-dynimg-full-q75

That looks good for Labour, and also for NZ First, with little change for the Maori Party.

There is a relatively high margin of error of 4.98% meaning a low sample size.

And the polling was carried out over two months from about 12 July to 12 September and a lot has happened in politics over that time.

Roy Morgan: key issues

Quite different to others, but quite different choices and wording of issues.

“The economy and financial crisis” – what financial crisis?

Over a similar (but shorter) time period from Reid Research

There was no health option from Roy Morgan.

I think it’s difficult to get much out polls like this.

https://yournz.org/2017/09/14/poll-the-big-issues/

Recent polls – a roundabout indication in a campaign of swings

Polls have been giving quite a range of results over the last month. There have been significant movements in support, and there has seemed to be discrepancies between some of the results, but this has been confused by different polling periods. Different polling methods are also being used.

Poll-of polls are of limited use and could be misleading because of:

  • the swings and apparent volatility of the polls
  • averaging a few polls conducted over different dates is statistically dubious

I think we have to just see what we can in the polls and understand they are changing, they are subject to margins of error and polling errors, and they cannot predict a future election result.

Here are the last six polls from the polling companies with established records.

PollsElection2017

This suggests:

  • The last Reid Research result for National is out of step with the others
  • Labour support has been bouncing around
  • NZ First support has been bouncing around
  • The Roy Morgan result for Greens looks out of step but Greens could have recovered

Note that since these polls were taken:

  • Labour did their u-turn on tax
  • Winston Peters had his bizarre interview with Guyon Espiner
  • James Shaw had a very good interview with Guyon Espiner
  • The news broke about the Saudi sheep saga that may affect National

I think there may still be a lot of uncertainty amongst swing voters.

My observations and possibilities from now:

  • The ‘mood for change’ may win the election for Labour with possible options of either Greens or NZ First in coalition
  • There may be a move back to the known, that is, to National – or conversely voters may give up on National
  • It looks unlikely National will have a majority on their own (no party has had one since MMP)
  • Both the Greens and NZ First look vulnerable and are at risk of missing the threshold
  • There is an obvious tension between Labour and Green support due to Labour leaning voters wanting to rescue the Greens but also wanting to give Labour as strong a mandate as possible
  • The smaller parties have been left on the sidelines

I think this election is very open still, and could easily be decided by whichever way things swing on election day.

A large number of people have been advance voting – 229,259 up to Thursday and likely to be close to 300,000 up to Friday. This is due to more publicity about advance voting, more polling places, polling in public places, and enthusiasm of people who have already made up their minds.

However undecided voters are likely to leave it late to decide and to vote. Many will make their decision on election day.

Also significant will be whether there is a swing to deciding and voting, or a swing to giving up trying and not voting.

So what has happened in the last few days and what happens next week could make a significant impact on the outcome.

Polls are useful indicators for those of us who are swing voters, especially so for tactical voters.

In current day politics polls are only approximate indicators. They are subject to late changes, as is evident from the polls over the last month here, and from elections elsewhere like in the US and UK.

We the voters can glean some useful information from the polls, but we should be very sceptical about what media headlines and pundits say about what they mean.

We should make up our own minds about what the polls mean about our vote.

And ultimately we will make up our own minds about how we vote, or if we vote. Then the polls will mean absolutely nothing apart from providing fodder for a few media stories after the election.

Poll: ‘The Big Issues’

In their recent poll Newshub/Reid Research respondents “were asked to rank the issues most important to them in this election, from seven major subject areas” – New Zealand’s top election concerns

This is a simplistic result – “the issue ranked most important to voters”:

That is a limited list, and gives no indication how much people are concerned about the issues. For example many people could be nearly as concerned about housing, the environment and money as about health. So this is a fairly rough indication of what people see as the big issues.

Here are party comparisons:

ReidResearchIssues2017Sept

For some reason they did not include a NZ First breakdown.

Newshub/Reid Research poll – huge reversal

The latest Newshub/Reid Research poll results show a huge reversal on the last Colmar Brunton polls.

Newshub: National could govern alone in latest Newshub poll

  • National 47.3% (last RR 43.3, last CB 39)
  • Labour 37.8% (last RR 39.4, last CB 43)
  • NZ First 6.0% (last RR 6.6, last CB 9)
  • Greens 4.9% (last RR 6.1, last CB 5)
  • TOP 1.6% (last RR 1.9, last CB 1.9)
  • Maori Party 1.1% (last RR 1.0, last CB 2.0)
  • ACT 0.6% (last RR 0.6, last CB )

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All the pundits will be busy revising all their scenarios.

But Patrick Gower is right about a key thing – party support appears to be volatile. Things could easily change over the next 11 days, although advance voting started yesterday.

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Jacinda Ardern 31.7% (last RR 29.9, last CB 35)
  • Bill English  33.1% (last RR 30.1, last CB 31)
  • Winston Peters 6.9% (last RR 6.9, last CB 5)

The poll was conducted 6-11 September and has a margin of error of 3.1%.

The last Reid Research (RR) poll was conducted 22-30 August.
The last Colmar Brunton (CB) poll was conducted 2-6 September.

 

Newshub/Reid Research poll

The latest Newshub/Reid Research poll:

  • National 43.3% (-1.1)
  • Labour 39.4% (+6.3)
  • NZ First 6.6% (-2.6)
  • Greens 6.1% (-2.2)
  • TOP 1.9%
  • Maori Party 1.0%
  • ACT Party 0.6%

National are either still ahead or have nudged ahead again, but Labour are close (within margin or error territory).

Greens aren’t down as far as they have been in other polls recently.

NZ First are still slipping, as is Peters.

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • Bill English 30.1% (+2.4)
  • Jacinda Ardern 29.9% (+3.6)
  • Winston Peters 6.9% (-3.1)

Both English and Ardern have risen a bit since the last Reid research poll, but English has maintained a lead, just.

The poll was conducted from August 22-30, 2017 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.