Red Alert

Archive for the ‘polling’ Category

Voters let down by Key? Let me count the ways

Posted by on October 24th, 2012

There is a political maxim that only one poll really matters, and that is the one taken on election day.  Sometimes, however, one is able to divine wisdom from polling trends at other times.

The veracity of individual polling methods is hotly debated.  But what seems to be emerging as fact is that – taken as a whole – polls since the election paint a clear picture of National in decline and Labour on the rise.

What was around a 20 point gap between the two main parties on election day is now reduced to 10 points in most polls.

David Shearer’s leadership on economic sovereignty, education and employment are clearly being seen as the stuff of credible alternative government.  At the same time the Government of the day is shooting itself in the foot faster than opposition members can fire off their own rounds at them.

Key already sat uncomfortably with many New Zealanders before the election.  His broken promise not to raise GST and the growing gap between rich and poor were unwelcome. His proposal to sell assets was (mistakenly) thought negotiable by some of his supporters.  But until the 2011 election, Key appeared comfortable riding a (smile and) wave of popularity. The tea-pot tapes saga was the first real sign of wide-spread discontent, and it simultaneously signalled that Key was uncomfortable taking decisions under the glare of more thorough media scrutiny.

Key’s majority in the House has always been slender this term.  The vote on my Mondayising Bill is illustration of that, as was the vote on paid parental leave.  If further illustration is required, recall that more New Zealanders voted last year for parties that opposed asset sales than parties that supported asset sales.  The Government Key cobbled together was based on uncomfortable compromises.

And ever since the election, the Government has embroiled itself in scandals. I think the number and consistency of scandals is the main reason the public at large is turning off Key.  Let’s recall some of the major ones:

– ACC letter of support written by Minister with a conflict of interest (prompting Nick Smith’s resignation)

– ACC privacy breach where emails with sensitive client data was sent out to Bronwyn Pullar

– A Sky City deal that appears to have been done outside the rules that are designed to prevent corruption. An inquiry is currently underway that will examine the integrity of the Prime Minister’s actions, and whether proper process was followed.

– Hekia Parata’s announcement that increased class-sizes were the way to quality education.  The effects of the back-down on Hekia’s relationship with her caucus colleagues has been more dramatic than the colour coding on name-badges that signalled to Canterbury School Principals that she thinks their schools should be for the chop.

– John Banks ‘anonymous’ donations scandals – the start of the Dotcom fiasco.  Police said Banks filed a false declaration but that it’s too late by law to prosecute him.  Banks also forgot a helicopter ride to the Dotcom mansion to propose a toast at a celebration.  He also denied that he had received discounted accommodation (a gift he failed to register on his parliamentary pecuniary interests register) but was later forced to admit he had.  John Key has bizarrely refused to read the police report. He hasn’t yet disciplined Banks, despite claiming that his Ministers would be required to hold to a higher ethical standard.

– The Dotcom fiasco is ongoing.  John Key has admitted the agency he is responsible for (GCSB) spied on Kim Dotcom illegally.  He also failed to remember that he was briefed on Dotcom months before the issue came to public attention, forcing an embarrassing backdown.

– MSD privacy breaches.  Kiosks with public access contained private information of the most sensitive kind – including information on our most vulnerable children in state care, their health conditions, locations and other personal information.

But it is not just these scandals that are embarrassing.  Earlier behaviour is now shaping into a pattern.  Turnarounds on Kiwisaver (introducing legislation to lower contributions, and then later introducing legislation to increase them again) and Working For Families (communism by stealth, or appropriate incentives for work?)  Anyone remember John Key’s ’embarrassing uncle’ speech at the launch of the Rugby World Cup, or the three-way handshake at the end? Or the Government promise that no property-owner would be worse off in Canterbury?  More recently John Key’s embarrassing brain-fade about how he voted on the alcohol age a few weeks before.

I haven’t mentioned the lack of action around outdated IRD computer systems that Key said in February can’t support changes from Government, or perserverance with asset sales legislation that is looking more and more expensive for the taxpayer over time.  Nor have I compared Key’s claim he’d stem the tide of Kiwis moving to Oz to pursue better opportunities with evidence people are now moving there in record numbers.   But despite these omissions, it’s not surprising that those who say they supported Key in the last election are today saying they are disappointed with the Government.

Key will be looking forward to throwing in the towel. Richard Worth, Pansy Wong and Phil Heatly all had to step down last term, but this term the casualties are mounting faster. He’s already said he’ll resign if National are thrown out of Government.  Pressure may mount for him to stand aside sooner.

So how about the issues that really matter?  Labour has clear positions on education, jobs, procurement, monetary policy to support exporters, pro-growth tax reform, and savings. The Key-Government is rapidly earning a reputation as a party distracted and not prepared to take the big decisions that a Shearer-led Labour Government would.

It’s no wonder the polling suggests voters are turning off Key faster than ever.

Kiwis want to own our future

Posted by on August 23rd, 2011

Tonight TV3 revealed the results of a poll that asked New Zealanders about substantive issues and the results were revealing. New Zealanders overwhelmingly prefer the introduction of a capital gains tax over the sale of state assets.

53 percent opted for a capital gains tax while only 31 percent of respondents wanted to see state assets sold. Even amongst National’s own supporters, one in three prefer the policies that Labour is promoting.

National’s sales pitch for asset sales hasn’t convinced anyone. Kiwis know that once the assets are sold, they’re gone forever. They also know that the shares will probably end up being owned overseas, and we’ll be waving goodbye to more and more of the profits.

John Key’s assertion that it will be “different this time” rings a little hollow when even his own Finance Minister publicly admits there is no way they can stop the shares ending up in foreign ownership.

This election is a clear choice between owning our own future or selling off whatever is left to the highest bidder and becoming tenants in our own country. Labour’s got a lot of work to do over the next three months, but I’ll be proud to be out there campaigning under the banner of a party that’s willing to make the bold calls and do what’s right for the future of our country.

Rogue poll?

Posted by on July 24th, 2011

I’ve never been sure of the Horizon poll methodology. No doubt on line polling will develop as time goes on – but I’m not relying on it for now.

The latest poll gives a very good result for the left. Maybe too good to be true.

The real position is probably somewhere between the TVNZ shocker and this one.

But what is clear is that one would be foolish to write off the possibility of a Labour led government at the end of the year.

The only poll that matters…

Posted by on June 19th, 2011

Isn’t these ones obviously...

That’s twice in one weekend I’ve linked to a post on The Standard. And written by Rob. What will people think?

Well hopefully, that there are major discrepancies in polls. And there’s really only one that matters. On 26 November.

Curious about Curia

Posted by on February 15th, 2011

An interesting post by Tim Watkin over at Pundit on being polled by Curia Research, David Farrar’s polling company. Now, its important to say that pretty much all political parties do polling, so there is nothing underhand going on. And its also very well known that Curia do the polling for the National Party. It’s what makes David such an unbiased commentator 😉

What is interesting is the type of questioning that Tim reports. For instance not just asking which party is best in terms of environmental issues, but who is more ‘balanced’. The only logic in that is that the Nats know that no one would actually say they are the best for the environment, so they are looking for some kind of light at the end of the tunnel. Anyway, looking forward to a response from David to Tim’s blog….

Tax Swindle Leaves 38% in Waikato worse off

Posted by on October 18th, 2010

So says the front page of Saturday’s Waikato Times, after they polled 180 readers on the subject.

only 12% felt they were any better off, 38% worse off and 33% unchanged. Some readers said John Key has lost their vote over the GST increase.

And just to show how out of touch those on big incomes are with reality, a partner of Deloitte Hamilton says people just had to “reprioritise.”

“You can choose whether or not to spend money and therefore pay tax,” he said.

Really? Choose not to buy groceries, pay the power bill, pay for petrol, pay the rent? This man has no idea that low and middle-income families spend all they earn on just getting by.

His out-of-touch comments reflect arrogant National Party thinking. Guess he must be in the 12% laughing at the expense of the other 88%.

Tell us about yourself

Posted by on June 23rd, 2010

There’s been claims that the majority of people who visit Red Alert are on the left side of the political spectrum. I’m not so sure and would hope we get an eclectic mixture of visitors that don’t define themselves left or right.

We can find out:

How do you identify yourself politically

  • Of the left (59%, 208 Votes)
  • Of the right (20%, 70 Votes)
  • In the centre (14%, 51 Votes)
  • Politically neutral (6%, 22 Votes)
  • Don't know (1%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 355

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BUDGET 2010: feedback so far

Posted by on June 22nd, 2010

Hi RA readers – I’ve been off air a bit lately due to running around the country on the post- Budget speaking tour, and because my laptop died!

Today parliament shifted into a new stage of the Budget debate – the Appropriations Bill that legitimises the Supplmentary Estimates (amended spending lines) between Budgets 2009 and 2010.   It was remarkable for what it does not say – nothing about a plan for protecting  jobs or lifting incomes during the worst of the Great Recession.   No new ideas over there.

Quick feedback from the Budget tour: spoke to about 20 groups, a mixture of Labour-organised public meetings, community sector groups and businesses.  Hard to tote up exactly but would have seen close to 800 people face to face: groups of 160 down to about 25, plus individual business site visits.

The feedback was clear:  most Kiwis understand that by the time inflation of 5.9% next year eats away the tax swindle, and wage growth is held down, they will be worse off.   That includes increased govt charges like ACC and ECE, plus power bills, rent and higher mortgages.  The Government made the classic mistake of overpromising and under-delivering.   Kiwis hate the rise in GST.   They know the tax cuts aimed primarily at the wealthy are unjust and inefficient. 

Was it a coincidence the govt’s polling fell 5% in the week after the Budget?   

Second, businesses and commentators understand that the Budget lacks a real plan for jobs, incomes and growth.  Fiscal prudence matters, but it is no substitute for a strategy to address the yawning triple deficit around the savings gap, current account deficit and innovation deficit.  Gutting Kiwisaver, the R and D tax credits and NZSF prefunding made these worse.  The Govt’s innovation package, which represents only 39% of the value earlier striped out, has been almost universally panned.     

Third, the added debt from the unaffordable tax cuts has opended up $1.1 bn fiscal hole over 4 years, $9.2bn over 12 years, and that makes the job of turning the boat around ever harder.  National will seek to fill this “strategic deficit”  through asset sales and service cuts.  Don’t let them!

Future posts are going to broaden out somewhat to the rlated issues of monetary and fiscal settings that surround the needed economic strategy.

Poll result

Posted by on June 18th, 2010

Last week Red Alert published its first poll.

The question was:  Should Auckland’s new trains be built in NZ?

The results were:

  • Yes (75%, 534 Votes)
  • No (25%, 176 Votes)
    Total Voters: 710

A fairly resounding result and a high response rate we think.

There were 53 comments and a very thoughful discussion about the issues around kiwi content in large government contracts and the capacity of NZ to build carriages and engines.
As you’ll see below we have another poll running and plan to run them three times a week on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays.
We welcome your suggestions for polls.

Something new on Red Alert

Posted by on June 9th, 2010

We have just added a poll function. The first one is below. You have a week to respond. I hope you will.

You can send us suggestions for future polls. You know the rules.

Should Auckland's new trains be built in NZ?

  • Yes (75%, 537 Votes)
  • No (25%, 177 Votes)

Total Voters: 714

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96% disapprove of super city

Posted by on May 20th, 2010

The Government must be getting really sick of hearing poll results about the Auckland super city. Rodney Hide certainly didn’t seem too happy answering questions about the Herald’s recent poll in question time yesterday.

But to add to his woes the Our Auckland people’s referendum results are now out. 96% of those who voted in the referendum said they disapproved of the way the Government has gone about setting up the super city.

8476 people took part in the referendum over an 8 day period. People voted on line, and through ballot papers published in The Aucklander newspaper. Votes were validated against the electoral roll, from people living in the area to be covered by the super city.

Our Auckland spokesperson Mels Barton said the referendum result was a loud and clear rebuke for the Government.

“It’s a very large sample for a poll, albeit self-selecting, but probably 10 times more respondents than your average Colmar-Brunton or Herald poll.”

As well as the referendum question, voters were also asked to answer a series of questions. The answers are here, and there is an overwhelming negative response to the Government’s super city: 95% think the Government has not paid enough attention to the wishes of Aucklanders, 92% against CCOs, 95% against the repeal of the requirement for a referendum before the ports are sold.

Well done to Our Auckland, a coalition of community organisations and individuals concerned about the super city changes. And hats off to The Aucklander newspaper which has campaigned energetically for the past year in defence of Auckland democracy. Together they have given Aucklanders a say when the Government has refused to do so.

Epsom blue?

Posted by on March 14th, 2010

In a sign that the Nats have decided to rerun the worthless approach I’m told Jackie Blue is being lined up as the Nat candidate in Epsom.

Green light Rodney and one or two mates. Act list process will be fascinating.

Is John Key racist for criticising Hone Harawira but backing Wiremu Pakeha?

Posted by on February 5th, 2010

Kelvin Davis has posted on whether it is appropriate to copyright the Maori Party flag. Interesting discussion but it now appears  that neither Hone Harawira nor his wife has any beneficial interest in any application that may be made in the future.

So why has John Key been so aggressive in his criticism of Hone?

Hone is a sometimes an easy target. He puts his head up and I’ve certainly had a go at him when it is appropriate.

But contrast this question of a perceived (but not actual) conflict of interest of a member of Hone’s family with the decade of the English whanau ripping the taxpayer off by pretending to live in Dipton. And Wiremu was found to have an interest. And it is continuing.

So is Key kicking Hone because he is Maori and if not what is his explanation for his hypocrisy?

UMR Mood of the Nation

Posted by on December 23rd, 2009

I tend not to read too much into political polls- and that is not just because this year they have not made particularly pretty reading! But I was fascinated by the media reaction (actually I think it was just the same NZPA story re-printed in a number of places) to the UMR state of the nation poll.

The headline focuses on the relatively high average popularity ratings of the PM and the government. While on average for the year it showed National in the mid 50s and Labour in the low 30s, the latest results (December) revealed something different. National had dipped to their lowest poll rating since the election (48%) and Labour had risen to its highest (35%).

Generally the reporting of polls focuses on the latest results. The high averages are interesting from an historical standpoint, but I would have thought the most recent results would have been the focus of the coverage. Hmm. Anyway, back to not reading too much into polls….

Filed under: polling