NZ First accused of leaking UMR poll

Winston Peters has generally trashed polls as fake and meaningless, but it looks like when they suit his purposes he isn’t averse to leaking them.

Two months ago from RNZ:  Peters calls polls fake, claims he’ll win 20% of vote

RNZ’s most recent poll-of-polls had New Zealand First sitting at 8.7 percent.

But Mr Peters said the media’s polls were fake – and his own polling put his party’s support far higher – closer to 20 percent.

“I’ve got the statistical evidence to prove it, I don’t know why the media carry on with their mindset and keep on boring people witless with scenarios that are not going to happen.”

I don’t think he produced any evidence, which isn’t unusual for him.

A week ago on RNZ:  Winston Peters says polls giving him 10% are fake

New Zealand First leader says media polls giving him 10 percent are fake and he’s going to get 20% in the election.

A Colmar Brunton poll had just been published with NZ First on 11%, up 2.

Then last Friday from Newshub:  Labour’s confidential polling leaked:

Newshub has been leaked poll results from the company that does Labour’s internal polling which show it is in big trouble, two-and-a-half months out from the election.

The results show Labour is on 26 percent support – crashing from 34 percent in May.

And New Zealand First, for the first time in three years of polling, is no longer the lowest rating party.

Winston Peters and co are on 14 percent – up 5 percent since May – just overtaking the Greens who are on 13 percent.

Peters didn’t slam this poll as fake.

The company, UMR, does the polling for Labour’s inner sanctum and the results are normally kept secret from the public.

Earlier in the year Little went public with a UMR poll that wasn’t as bad as usual for Labour.

Tonight the Labour Party and UMR said the results had not yet been released to the Labour Party and the leak must have come from a corporate client who had already been provided the results.

Today: Andrew Little accuses Winston Peters of leaking poll that made Labour look bad

Andrew Little is accusing Winston Peters of leaking poll results that are damaging to the Labour Party.

“Whenever you see something that’s reported as a leak, you look at who talks about it the most,” he told Newshub.

“I’m pretty sure NZ First has UMR as a pollster, so I think the leak – in inverted commas – is more likely from New Zealand First than anybody.”

This seems to have been confirmed by Duncan Garner.

Peters didn’t deny it, he avoided ‘reacting’.

“I’ve got no reaction to that. I couldn’t give a rat’s derriere what he says,” the NZ First leader told The AM Show on Monday. He wouldn’t reveal if NZ First used UMR for its polling.

“We don’t divulge who we talk to on the issue of polling… That’s not information you’re privy to… It’s none of your business.”

Mr Peters has been talking up the poll regardless, suggesting he’ll soon have the right to call himself leader of the Opposition.

“If [Labour] go from 26 down to 22, that’s it. Andrew is not in Parliament,” Mr Peters told The Nation on Saturday. “So why would you make these statements, that he’s the next leader of the country? Or the leader of the Opposition?”

It’s not unusual for politicians to trash polls and news they don’t like and then hypocritically promote what suits their purposes.

But UMR is just one poll, a Roy Morgan poll also published last week had NZ First on 8%. Peters would probably call that fake.

Peters has usually been staunch in not predicting election outcomes. On the Nation on Saturday:

Look, you know, one thing is very important in life, and that’s this – don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

But in another break from Peters tradition, in his speech to the NZ First congress on Sunday he closed with:

“So spread the word. This time, in our 24th year, we are going to transform the electoral system and we will be most definitely the Government.”

However he hasn’t produced a poll that backs that up yet.

Part of a UMR poll

A bizarre news report from Newshub – they have reported on a leaked UMR poll (Labour’s internal pollster) but have only given some of the results Updated with more details):

  • National 42% (previous 6 results 43, 43, 42, 44, 42, 43)
  • Labour 26% (previous 6 results 28, 28, 34, 30, 32, 29)
  • NZ First 14% (previous 6 results 12, 12, 9, 9, 9, 11)
  • Greens 13% (previous 6 results 13, 12, 13, 13, 13, 12)

The story was about how bad it was for Labour, but this is similar to the Colmar Brunton poll where they were 27% – see The actual Colmar Brunton poll results.

Greens are not out of the ordinary on 13%, they were 11 in the Colmar poll.

What will put a shiver up the spine of other parties and many voters is the NZ First result, 14% (Colmar was 11%) – this is a big rise for them.

And not mentioned either – these three parties total 53% so National must be well below the 47% of Colmar, which should be a concern for them. Perhaps Patrick Gower is saving that for another story.

UPDATE – online now:  Labour’s confidential polling leaked

This has more details, including National:

  • National 42%
  • Labour 26% (34% in May)
  • NZ First 14% (9% in May)
  • Greens 13%

They don’t state the movement for National and Greens, but that is an alarming result for National.

But they have this graphic:

Oddly National have been in the low forties since March. They have not been consistently that low in any other poll.

And for Labour the drop isn’t that dramatic, the 34% in May looks like an outlier.

UK and NZ polls similar

Matthew Hooton claims that the non-public UMR poll has National on 44% and Labour on 28%.

That’s still a big lead for the Conservatives in the UK and Labour there has a lot of ground to make up to be competitive in their election to be held in a month.

There’s still over four months until New Zealand’s election.

National on 44% (they were 43.5% in last month’s Roy Morgan poll) is in risky territory. At that level of support they would have to have NZ First support, either in a coalition or from the cross benches, to form a government.

They could recover some support, depending a lot on how well this month’s budget is seen by the public, but they could just as easily slip back more.

Labour at 28% seem stuck in the high twenties. They were 29.5% in last month’s Roy Morgan. Unless they improve substantially it will be difficult for them to form a government.

These poll numbers are supported by Colin James’ column this week.

Labour in congress — needing a stronger story

The “Jacinda effect” appears to have wisped away. Here and there in the Labour party one can hear glum whispers of three more “long years” in opposition.

Likewise from “coalition” partner, the Greens — who, by the way, got far more in election donations in 2014 than Labour.

“Nine long years”, Labour grandee Steve Maharey used to intone in 1999 before Labour’s win that year. Stuart Nash intoned it last week with the same hope of release.

But will it be “12 long years”? That question will hang over this coming weekend’s pre-election congress (conference).

Labour’s poll average has sunk from over 30% in March to under 28%. Was the lift it got after making Jacinda Ardern deputy leader a blip? (National has also slipped but is still around 45%.) 

Every ‘game changer’ tried by Labour seems to have been no more than a blip. The closer ties with Greens, and attempting to combine Labour and Green poll support so they look competitive with National, has failed to lift anyone by NZ First.

A lot could happen over the next four months. Both National and Labour will be hoping that NZ First isn’t the main beneficiary.

Labour’s internal poll

Following advice from Labour chief Andrew Little’s acting chief of staff Andrew Little, acting chief press officer Andrew Little has revealed the private Labour poll that Little swears by, in contrast to Little’s lack of confidence in Colmar Brunton’s latest public poll.

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This shows Labour within the range they have been in polls for months, albeit higher than the 26% in Colmar’s latest.

It also has National on the lowest poll result for eight years. No wonder Little wanted this to be true.

But it is just one poll. And in making a big issue out of yesterday’s poll Little has probably done himself any PR favours. His press secretary has let him down.

 

The Spinoff and SSI polling

Depleted New Zealand polls have been bolstered with The Spinoff and Jennings Murphy using Survey Sampling (SSI).

The Spinoff has provided a useful addition to media coverage in New Zealand for the last couple of years or so.

A New Zealand site covering pop culture, sport, politics and social life through features, criticism, interviews, videos and podcasts.

About: The Spinoff is an online magazine and custom content creator. We employ some of New Zealand’s best non-fiction writers to create smart, shareable content.

@TheSpinoffTV

The mid-shelf red wine of NZ journalism

Facebook:

A New Zealand site covering television, sports, books, politics, media and more. Features, criticism, rankings, podcasts and video from writers like Steve Braunias, Alex Casey, Toby Manhire and Scotty Stevenson. Edited by Duncan Greive.
Brought to you by Lightbox, Bigpipe, MBM and Unity Books.

More media is better, and The Spinoff do some good content, including some investigative journalism.

They have also started doing polling (in association with Jennings Murphy) using SSI (Survey Sampling International).

SSI is the premier global provider of data solutions and technology for consumer and business-to-business survey research, reaching respondents in 100+ countries offering the widest, most diverse access to audiences around the globe through its own panels, social media, online communities and affiliate partners. SSI has 40 offices in 20 countries and serves more than 3,000 clients worldwide.

It is good that someone else is commissioning polls in New Zealand, there were not many left doing them.

Time will tell how accurate SSI turns out to be. They do all there polling online, not like traditional polling by phone like Colmar Brunton, Reid Research and Roy Morgan.

We already have one fairly close comparison with UMR, who also do online polling.

SSI: “Do you think we have a housing crisis in Auckland?”

  • Yes 84%
  • No 10.3%
  • Don’t know 5.7%

Survey Sampling International (SSI) conducted an online survey among a representative sample of 760 Auckland residents aged 18 and over with quota applied to gender, age and region within Auckland. All respondents were screened to ensure they were New Zealand residents and eligible to vote. The polling period was 17-19 August and the margin of error is +/- 3.6%.

UMR:

  • Yes 81%
  • No 14%
  • Unsure 5%

The poll of 1,000 New Zealanders over the age of 18 was taken from July 29 to August 17 through UMR’s online omnibus survey. There were 633 home owners and 331 Aucklanders who took the poll.

The results are very similar, within margins of error, so they compare well.

Both online polls but while the polling periods overlapped they varied markedly in polling time, 3 days (SSI) compared to 3 weeks (UMR).

However ‘housing crisis’ is a simplistic media driven question that doesn’t really mean much apart from giving the Opposition ammunition to say ‘told you so’ and the Government will keep responding ‘we’re doing everything we can’.

It will be interesting to see if The Spinoff also did party polling, and if so how that stacks up.

 

 

Poll on house prices

According to Hive News UMR released a poll on housing yesterday, but I can’t find anything about it at UMR, only at Hive News and other websites that refer to Hive. So I’ll extract what I can from Hive News Tuesday: Poll finds 60% Aucklanders want lower house prices;

Nationwide (964 respondents) prefer house prices to:

  • to fall but not too much 37%
  • to fall dramatically 26%
  • keep rising at a slower pace 10%
  • keep rising rapidly 4%

Home owners wanted house prices:

 

  • to fall but not too much 40%
  • to fall dramatically 15%
  • rise at a slower pace 13%
  • rise rapidly 2%

 

Aucklanders:

  • wanted house prices to keep rising rapidly 4%
  • wanted house prices to rise at a slower pace 13%
  • prefer that house prices either fell a bit or fell dramatically over the next year 60%

They also asked if respondents thought there was a housing crisis:

  • Yes 81%
  • No 14%
  • Unsure 5%

I think these are the numbers but can’t guarantee I have sorted out the Hive jumble.

The poll of 1,000 New Zealanders over the age of 18 was taken from July 29 to August 17 through UMR’s online omnibus survey. There were 633 home owners and 331 Aucklanders who took the poll. UMR conducts polls for Labour.

More on the Morgan poll

Apparently continued silence by Martyn Bradbury on the latest Roy Morgan poll which came out a week after he posted BREAKING EXCLUSIVE: UMR SECRET POLL – National 41% Labour/Greens 45%

Since the Memorandum of Understanding, the First Past the Post mainstream media have had to start reporting the results as MMP ones. This perception change now allows Opposition voters to see they can win.

National is in trouble…

Once these private internal polls start becoming reflected in the TVNZ and TV3 Polls, National will start to implode with a power struggle.

The Roy Morgan poll has National on 53%, Labour on 25.5% and Greens on 11.5%. No word on what Bombers perception of this is.

One perception at The Daily Blog though, from Cleangreen. On the UMR ‘secret poll’:

Yes joy rings out finally National are on their way out hooray.

But in a comment yesterday on the Open Mic thread Cleengreen said:

Latest Roy Morgan and any other political poster companies we think we should trust! – well don’t – read below.

The Politicians are all under orders from the Bilderberg Group and are simply minion’s that carry out orders for the global elite and that is why you see a clear hard nosed similarity over every issue now, and the media is the same parrot for these cabals also as the pollsters are to!!!!

Does anyone understand how flimsy and vulnerable and easily rigged results of Pollster’s polling data can occur where the companies cannot verify their results or edit them to see if they are changed?

Poll result good, pollster good. Poll result bad, pollsters bad.

There was a lot of talk about the 10% bounce back for National (but interestingly no one seemed to bat an eyelid at Labour dropping 2.5 to 25.5%).

Chris Keall has posted Roy Morgan manager defends *that* poll at NBR:

The chattering class was quick to scoff when at the new Roy Morgan poll which showed a 10% jump for National (864 eligible voters were surveyed by phone).

There was eye-rolling from the left and the right, and I can see why: there were no political bombshells during the survey period (June 17 to early July) to warrant such a shift.

In a press release, executive chairman Gary Morgan pegged the Nats’ bounce on John Key’s announcement of a $1 billion housing infrastructure fund.

I’m not so sure.

Keall “asked Mr Morgan if he was confident of the poll result” and the RM poll manager responded:

We are very confident these results reflect a shift in voting intention in New Zealand towards the incumbent.

That is very likely to be correct. The questions are by how much, and why.

Andrew Little has had nearly two years to cut through and even before this poll, had really made little headway.

The New Zealand economy is booming at present with Kiwis returning to the country after years of outflows across the Tasman.

Also, specifically with this poll we conducted some additional research during this period which indicates that Housing Affordability/ House prices/ Shortage of Houses/ Homeless etc. has increased significantly as an issue in New Zealand this year.

The announcement of the $1 billion housing infrastructure fund is perfectly timed to take advantage of this sentiment. There are a large number of Kiwis out there who believe they will see the benefit of this $1 billion infrastructure fund personally.

It could be that housing has been a significant factor – perhaps a lack of confidence in Labour’s policies, or a desire by many voters to retain the capital value increases.

There was also a discussion at Dim-Post: Roy Morgan wild guessing game

No doubt Labour will start leaking that their secret polls show them getting a major bump after their conference. If you added all the bumps they’ve claimed from their private polls they’d be on about 500% by now.

Danyl has been quite cynical about Labour lately.

My guess about the swing – if there was a swing – is that the news recently has been dominated by horror, fear and uncertainty. Terror attacks, racial violence in the US, Brexit, and so voters are looking for political stability and supporting National. If they are.

Swordfish, a regular poll commenter at The Standard, joins the discussion. Another pseudonym I’m not familiar with, Pollster,  joined in.

It has nothing like the spikes the Roy Morgan does, and when it does it’ll be an occasional 2-3% shift, not a 5-10% (or in this case 16%) swing as the Roy Morgan has. What the UMR has shown since the election has been a pretty static political environment. The Roy Morgan suggests that from month hundreds of thousands of people are swinging wildly from Labour and the Greens to National and back again. It’s why no one in the business takes them seriously.

As the UMR polls aren’t published their claims can’t be verified, although Swordfish says:

Last 4 UMRs had Labour on 28-33%. Over the same period, the Public Polls put the Party in the range of 26-31%. Not an enormous divergence.

That’s a 5% range from UMR, the same as for ‘public polls’.

The last four RM polls for Labour were 25.5, 28, 29,5, 26 which happens to be a smaller range of 4%.

Pollster also said:

As for Labour staffers briefing internal polls, that’s not something I’m aware of, but I wouldn’t assume that’s why the UMR poll occasional finds its way into the public arena.

Frequently it’s Hooton who claims to have had a leak of Labour’s secret internal polling, when actually he just gets the UMR Omni from one of his clients as I do. I can also confirm he often makes up the figures, because he is a shameless liar.

Hooton bit back:

I think I have mentioned specific quantitative numbers from UMR polling data twice in the media. UMR polling is what “Labour’s secret internal polling” is – or, has been historically. It is also sold to corporates as you indicate.

Unless you think UMR does one quantitative study each month for its corporate clients and then another one for Labour. Perhaps it does. I don’t see that point in that though. Whenever I have mentioned polling of any kind the numbers have been correct.

Pull your head in with your lying accusations, whoever you are, anonymous guy on the internet.

Anonymous people on the Internet who appear to have a vested interest, and who promote polls only when their cherries are ripe, but never publicly publish any poll details, and make lying accusations about people with different political leanings, barely deserve to be taken with a grain of salt.

UMR polls

More has been posted (at The Standard) on the UMR poll that Martyn Bradbury went crazy over – see “BREAKING EXCLUSIVE SECRET POLL” – by Swordfish, who is a fairly reliable source and who analyses polls far more sensibly than Bomber.

Note however that we still don’t have any actual details published of UMR polls, we are only given a few raw numbers.

Swordfish:

The UMRs tend, on average, to be slightly better for Labour and the Greens and slightly worse for National compared to the main Public Polls.

I’d take issue with Bomber’s assertion that: “The latest UMR internal Polling has shown a massive drop in support for Key.” (by “Key”, of course, Bomber means National).

It was typical Bomber bull and bluster.

In reality, the Nats slumped earlier this year (in the UMRs, in National’s Internal (Curia) Poll and, to some extent, in the Roy Morgans) – particularly in the wake of the Flag Referendumand the Panama Papers controversy – and since then it’s simply experienced a slow decline:

UMR
April 2016
Nat 43%
Lab 30%

June 2016
Nat 42%
Lab 28%
Green 16%
NZF 10%

July 2016
Nat 41%
Lab 33%
Green 12%
NZF 10%

So the latest UMR poll shows a the barest of declines for National (that could be a fraction of a percent and well within the presumed margin of errror) and a more significant shift of support from Greens to Labour Greens down 5, Labour up 4).

We’re in a similar situation to mid-2015 when a couple of the Roy Morgans and 3 UMRsplaced combined Lab+Green support a little ahead of the Nats.
(although – unlike the last few UMRs – the recent RMs still record a mild Nat lead over Lab+Green).

Then a swing back to National and the Right in the later months of 2015 / early 2016 – and now a swing back towards the Left (and, of course, NZF).

So these poll swings and round abouts are not unusual. Neither is Bomber’s frantic ranting.

Going by these numbers National should be getting a bit concerned but they shouldn’t need opposition polls to tell them that, it’s been obvious they have been having problems.

The next Roy Morgan poll which may be out next week will give us a better idea of how much weight can be put on the UMR poll results.

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).

Strong poll support for cannabis

In a new UMR poll there is 72% support for cannabis for medical purposes, with only 13% opposed and 15% unsure.

Do you support or oppose the use of marijuana being allowed for medical purposes:

medpot-0-500-0-375

Opinion was evenly divided on recreational use, with 46% both for and against and 8% unsure.

Do you personally support or oppose the legalisation of small amounts of marijuana for personal use?

use-0-500-0-375

More details and comment at Public address: UMR: Medpot and the public