Electoral Commission poll on MMP

November 19th, 2007 at 11:59 am by David Farrar

The Electoral Commission has published some interesting results from their latest poll on political understanding.  I’ll go through them in turn:

“Fifty percent strongly agree with the view that list MPs are not as accountable to voters as electorate MPs. This is better than 61% seven years ago, but is still a long way from the view that all MPs are equally accountable through the ballot box.

I actually disagree with the EC that all MPs are equally accountable.  Yes they are all elected, but it is a totally legitimate view that an electorate MP is more accountable because one can directly vote an electorate MP out, while one can only indirectly vote List MPs out.

This isn’t to say it is better to be a List MP.  Almost every MP I know would much rather have an electorate than be reliant on the List. But that is not the same thing as asserting equal accountabilities.  Theyare both accountable but in different ways.

Also, there’s real uncertainty about the workload of list MPs. Nearly half (46%) of us are neutral or uncertain of our reaction to the statement that list MPs generally do as much work as electorate MPs, with the rest of us evenly split between agreeing and disagreeing.

I am not surprised there is uncertainity because I don’t think one can generalise.  If you have an MP who is lazy and wants to do the minimum workload then they would work less hours as a List MP because an Electorate MP does effectively have to have a fully staffed electorate office and spend time on some electorate issues.

But on the other hand some List MPs have offices in their local area and do just as much constituency work.   The hardest working MPs do 80 hours a week and are both electorate and list MPs.

“Finally, we checked out just how widespread concern apparent after the election concerning electorate losers returning through list seats was. In fact, 53% of us think that a sitting electorate MP losing an electorate seat should not be able to return to parliament through the party list. This is despite 71% agreeing, including 48% who strongly agree, that they take different things into account when deciding who gets their party and electorate votes,”

I am not surprised 43% want such a thing banned, but if it was all that would happen is MPs in danger of losing their seat would migrate to list only candidates.

Dr Catt noted that while 72% claimed to be interested in politics, four of six current issues put to respondents had each been discussed by between 82 and 85%, “suggesting politics might be seen narrowly as being about politicians and not issues”.

Yes often people proclaim they have no interest in politics, but they really do.

Now turning to the full results:

  • 51% consider MMP easy to understand
  • 65% correctly say the party vote is generally more important in deciding the number of MPs a party will get
  • Only 27% can correctly name the representation threshold as being 5% party vote or an electorate seat
  • 89% of over 75s say they are interested in politics compared to 40% of 18 and 19 year olds
  • Only 38% say they have a good idea what MPs do.  It would be good to explore ways to increase understanding of this.
  • 71% claim to take different things into account when deciding their party and electorate vote. This is not surprising as NZ has a large amount of vote splitting.
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8 Responses to “Electoral Commission poll on MMP”

  1. dave (986 comments) says:

    Oh BTW DPF, the EFB SC report is out on the website

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  2. Inventory2 (10,167 comments) says:

    Right here:

    http://www.parliament.nz/NR/rdonlyres/B3855C0D-338F-42C8-8E8F-C82715337CA7/69335/DBSCH_SCR_3906_5586.pdf

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  3. Inventory2 (10,167 comments) says:

    Pages 28-31 summarise National’s opposition to the EFB, even in its revised form. Here is the Nationa; members’ conclusion:

    “National members emphasise that it is not just the individual items
    (above) which cause concern. It is their cumulative effect which
    troubles us, and we agree with what the Human Rights Commission
    said in that regard.12. National MPs have felt compelled to write this
    lengthy report outlining serious defects with the Bill and its progress
    through the Justice and Electoral Select Committee. The New
    Zealand public deserves much better than this.”

    DPF – sorry to go off-topic, but felt this was worthy of comment!

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  4. Frank. (607 comments) says:

    “The Electoral Commission has published some interesting results from their latest poll on political understanding.”

    I have to wonder at the terms of reference used by the Commission in their survey.

    Seems to be lacking in any observation regarding the Transparency, Responsibility and Accountability of would be Politicians. The poll is thus worthless as is the Commission that ran it.
    .

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  5. BeShakey (405 comments) says:

    Good to see your ongoing respect and concern for government organisations. You should go back to wringing your hands about how they aren’t independent any more.

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  6. Frank. (607 comments) says:

    My understanding when FPP,MMP, etc. was about to be voted on, that it would be trialed for a couple of terms and then there would be a referendum. I took from this, along with other voters, that it would be a binding referendum. Otherwise, why mention “referendum”?

    This was the first part of the initial con foisted on the New Zealand voting publi and perpetrated by the Validation Act, culminating in the criminal EFB regurgitated in a decaying mass of corrupt vomit from the So Called corrupt Select Committee today.

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  7. grumpyoldhori (2,416 comments) says:

    Notice how many of the Nat types believe that
    MMP is undemocratic.
    Labour in Britain got back into power with
    36% of the FPP vote.
    Want that for NZ?

    Oh, how much of the foreshore should the
    nats hand back to get into power with Hone
    as police minister?

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  8. Richard (130 comments) says:

    I was surprised that the so few people knew how the threshold worked. 27% is pretty poor for such a core part of the system. The lack of ‘disillusionmen’ among non-voters was also interesting, some results suggested they were less cynical than voters.

    The level of understanding seemed pretty good I thought.

    Frank: you forgot to use the word ‘lickspittle’.

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