Red Alert

Archive for the ‘poll’ Category

Don’t let polls get you too excited

Posted by on February 8th, 2011

Rob Salmond is an expatriate Kiwi who knows a fair bit about politics and a lot about statistics. His Pundit article is certainly worth reading.

At the start of an election year, many folk like to try and project the future. Some do it with gut instinct like “Key has the nation’s trust”, others by simple historical precedent like “New Zealanders favour multi-term governments.” These are good fun to read but aren’t usually very rigorous. Others use well-regarded bases in science, like “National is miles ahead in the polls, therefore they’re likely to win,” or “the economy is in the crapper, so the incumbents will lose seats”. These are an improvement, but sometimes get you woolly, ambiguous predictions.

A third group in New Zealand has started using polling trends, as opposed to polling levels, to project an election result.

“The gap is closing, gradually but surely. And it could be very close indeed by late 2011…” said Marty G at The Standard in December, an argument he has continued to make since. I think this style of psephology is seductively sciency but sadly shallow, and should be resisted rather robustly. Here’s why:


1. You can get almost any result you want.
Look at Figure 1. It shows the trend of right-leaning support (National + ACT) as compared to left-leaning support (Labour + Greens) from Pundit’s Poll of Polls from March 2008 to December 2010, along with four projections of the 2011 election result. All are simple linear regressions, based on all the data subsequent to some starting point. All project the result of a November 26, 2011 election. And they project wildly differing results. Line 3 projects a squeaker, with the right winning by only two points, and the election result up to the Maori party (this was basically the version used at The Standard), while line 1 projects a right-leaning landslide. Indeed, if you took the 2008 result as a fixed gauge of support as opposed to an estimate, and then ran your regression on all subsequent data, you would project an even bigger thrashing.


2. Trends don’t last a year.
Every projection, no matter the start point, is based on the premise that the broad trend we are following now will more or less continue through until the election. Without that kind of assumption, you cannot project. But, as Figure 2 shows, trends in New Zealand politics do not last a year. In fact, they last only four months on average.

Tags: ,
Filed under: poll

No Taupo for Trev – election clashes

Posted by on February 2nd, 2011

Bugger election day last Saturday in November. Thats no surprise.

All on then and a long campaign. 

Balanced coverage should be good.

But no Taupo race for me this year. Nikki Kaye will have to wait till 2012, hope she gets a high list place to ensure she is still an MP.

Poll – Key’s comments on Henry

Posted by on October 11th, 2010

John Key said that TVNZ should take some responsibility for Henry’s comments because they encouraged his shock – jock approach. Others agree with Key and say that moving to a pure commercial approach makes this worse.

Was Key correct

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Filed under: poll

I knew Kiwis believed in fairness

Posted by on September 19th, 2010

A UMR survey released today by the CTU shows that 80 per cent of New Zealanders oppose the Government’s planned changes to dismissal law.  Previous polls had asked the question about whether respondents supported a 90 day trial and unsurprisingly, the majority said yes – because after all these were already allowed under previous law.

But the government’s proposed changes in the Employment Relations Bill (No. 2) remove the right of all workers to be told why they have been sacked and to challenge that reason (among other things).  As the Human Rights Commission told  the Select Committee last  Thursday  :

It is unusual for Parliament to take away rights, particularly such a fundamental right as the right of access to a hearing. Denial of redress in this manner in something as basic as employment has profound human rights implications.

The UMR Research telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of 750 New Zealanders asked the following question:

“Do you think that all employees should have the right to appeal if they think they have been unfairly dismissed, even if their dismissal was during the first 90 days of their employment?

The response was:

Yes                             80%

No                               18%

Unsure                          2%

Submissions have already begun on this Bill and will continue day and night over the next few weeks to allow the large number of submitters to be heard.  Even then, thousands of what the government calls “form” submissions and those who have gone to the trouble to add comments will be ignored.

I agree with the CTU that the government needs to rethink this policy.  People from across the spectrum of incomes, ages, regions and occupations strongly oppose what the Government is doing and that’s not surprising.  This law offends against the basic Kiwi value of fairness and access to justice.

ACT rolled the Minister of Labour’s recommendation that the  90 day no rights trial period be limited to workplaces of 50 or less and won an extension of it to all workplaces.  Surely, now ACT is so discredited, the government can afford to be brave enough to revisit this policy and do the right thing by Kiwis?

Monday poll – do you agree with national’s plan to make prisons our biggest department ?

Posted by on August 16th, 2010

NZ has one of the highest incarceration rates in the western world. Grant Robertson has posted on the topic today. He wants numbers to drop.

Meanwhile Bill English has revealed that government is planning to have corrections as the biggest government agency.

What do you think ?

National is placing top priority on prison growth and is planning for it to be our biggest government department. I think this policy is -

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Silly idea number 5 – what do you think ?

Posted by on August 16th, 2010

Decide that the New Zealand economy needs a “step change” and that mining on the conservation estate is the way to achieve it.  Ignore the “sustainable” part of the sustainable economic development.  (How many times can you mine gold?)

Blame Lucy Lawless and Robyn Malcolm for being emotional, then note that 30,000 others begged to differ by marching down Queen Street, Auckland with them.

Then argue internally.  Then stage a complete U-turn, claiming it wasn’t really a U-turn at all.

I think this idea is :-

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Friday poll – how much did bill english double dip

Posted by on August 13th, 2010

How much has Bill English, his family or trusts collected in cash and services as a result of him telling speakers he lives in Dipton ?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Is Bill English continuing to collect money and services either directly or through his family or trusts from telling speakers he lives in Dipton ?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Silly idea number 4 – what do you think ?

Posted by on August 13th, 2010

Decide that national standards for primary school children are a good idea.  Sell the idea on the basis that parents deserve clear and accurate information (who could disagree?)

Then invent the standards, implement them without trial, discover that the standards themselves are not clear, and that comparing children accurately from one school to the next (called moderation) doesn’t work well.

Claim that opposition to the scheme is ideological, but stay silent as school principals quietly continue to use the standards that already exist, and have done for ages.

I think this idea is :-

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Filed under: education, poll

Silly idea number 3 – what do you think ?

Posted by on August 12th, 2010

Wait till an economic downturn arrives, and people are keen to hone their skills so they can get back into the workforce.  Then slash adult & community education (“night school”), even though it is known to be a highly efficient use of taxpayer money.

When pushed on the logic of the decision, cry poor saying that “savings had to be made somewhere”.

Then rub salt in by substantially increasing funding to private schools at the same time.

I think this idea is -

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Filed under: education, poll

Wednesday poll – do only boorish rednecks think Hone is racist ?

Posted by on August 12th, 2010

Harawira is at it again. The Herald reports that he has written a column repeating his view that inter-racial relationships are not desirable.

In his regular column in the Northland Age this week, Mr Harawira says it seems “some boorish redneck wants to shove his boot right down my throat” every time he speaks.

“And so it was again last week when I made a comment about how I wouldn’t feel comfortable if one of my kids came home with a Pakeha for a date. But what was wrong with that?

Hone Harawira thinks Maori girls shouldn't go out with Pakeha boys

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Silly idea number 2 – what do you think ?

Posted by on August 11th, 2010

Suspend payments into the “Cullen fund” – that’s the fund that helps pre-pay superannuation for when all the baby boomers retire in the next twenty years, and therefore makes national super sustainable.

Justify that decision on the basis that the global economic downturn means that the government is fresh out of cash, and would need to borrow.

Quietly overlook the fact that the share market was really low at the time and that that is precisely when smart people buy.

Forgo a huge profit opportunity for the “Cullen fund” as a result, leaving the future of national super uncertain, yet again.

I think this idea is -

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Silly idea number 1 What do you think ?

Posted by on August 10th, 2010

Declare ACC to be in big financial trouble, even though it collects about $1 billion a year more in revenue than it pays out in claims.  Rachet up the levies for everyone.  Single out motorcyclists for an especially harsh increase.  Then cut the cover for lots of things such as hearing loss.  Make it really hard for the victims of sexual abuse.

Then quietly prepare part of the ACC scheme for privatisation, even though it is demonstrably the fairest and most cost-effective scheme in the world and the envy of many nations.

I think this idea is -

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Filed under: ACC, poll

Wednesday poll – Shopping hours at malls

Posted by on August 4th, 2010

Malls in NZ are open much longer than in most similar countries. This isn’t flash for the worklife balance of owners of smaller shops and the staff in all of the shops. We generally have two late nights when most countries have one. Our weekend hours are longer. Cost are probably higher because large periods of the week are unprofitable. Owners of the malls – not owners of the shops decide opening hours.

Are malls open :-

  • Far too long (37%, 81 Votes)
  • For about the right time (26%, 57 Votes)
  • A bit too long (18%, 40 Votes)
  • Not nearly enough (11%, 24 Votes)
  • Not quite long enough (8%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 218

Loading ... Loading ...
Filed under: poll

Monday poll – Douglas on Education

Posted by on July 26th, 2010

Will Roger Douglas' Education (Board of Trustee Freedom) Amendment Bill help or hinder student achievement?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Filed under: education, poll

Friday poll – name suppresssion laws

Posted by on July 23rd, 2010

I think our current name supression laws are -

  • Too loose - too many people get their names suppressed (61%, 238 Votes)
  • Grossly unfair because rich people are much more likely to have their names suppressed (18%, 69 Votes)
  • Unfair and everyone should get their name suppressed until convicted (13%, 52 Votes)
  • About rght (8%, 30 Votes)
  • Too tight - more people should get their names suppressed (0%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 393

Loading ... Loading ...
Filed under: poll

Wednesday poll – Key drops mining push

Posted by on July 21st, 2010

Would you describe John Key's announcement on mining as

  • A poll driven butt covering backdown. (85%, 231 Votes)
  • A principled decision based on a belated understanding of the importance of national parks to New Zealanders. (15%, 40 Votes)

Total Voters: 271

Loading ... Loading ...
Filed under: poll

Friday poll – who should replace English as Nat MoF ?

Posted by on July 16th, 2010

Much of the more open discussion leading into the Nats conference has been the apparently failed attempt to drop Goodfellow the President.

The failure of Bill English to regain credibility, especially in the business community, following exposure of his double diptoning has been widely but more quietly discussed. His shocking (dis)approval figures have also been circulating.

Of course the best thing for Labour would be for English to stay in his job until the election. But there are now real doubts about this. Key didn’t get his smiling assassin title for nothing.

So to be generous I thought it would be good to give people a chance to nominate a successor and have included all front bench and a couple of others as options.

Who should replace English as national's Minister of Finance ?

  • Anne Tolley (26%, 42 Votes)
  • Steven Joyce (24%, 39 Votes)
  • Simon Power (23%, 37 Votes)
  • Lockwood Smith (9%, 15 Votes)
  • Tony Ryall (7%, 11 Votes)
  • Gerry Brownlee (5%, 8 Votes)
  • Judith Collins (3%, 5 Votes)
  • Nick Smith (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Chris Finlayson (2%, 3 Votes)
  • Murray McCully (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 164

Loading ... Loading ...
Filed under: finance, national, poll
Comments Off on Friday poll – who should replace English as Nat MoF ?

Wednesday poll – Vote stripping to lead to drop in crime?

Posted by on July 14th, 2010

Will criminal behaviour change for the better because of Paul Quinn's Members Bill to prevent prisoners from voting?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Friday Poll – Brazil to win the football?

Posted by on July 2nd, 2010

Is Brazil on their way to their sixth World Cup victory?

  • No (73%, 74 Votes)
  • Yes (27%, 27 Votes)

Total Voters: 101

Loading ... Loading ...