Split Voting

December 1st, 2008 at 8:17 am by David Farrar

The Chief Electoral Officer has published the E9, which has the official statistics from the election. You used to have to wait months for this to be published. I think it must be a record to have it out within just a week of the final results.

Apart from the detailed results per polling place, they have the vote splitting statistics. The summary tells us 70.4% did not split their votes and 29.6% did split. Of the larger parties, these were the percentage who split their votes (voted for a different electorate candidate to their party vote):

  1. National 14.5%
  2. Labour 22.5%
  3. Maori 39.3%
  4. Green 66.7%
  5. United Future 75.8%
  6. Progressive 77.6%
  7. NZ First 81.9%
  8. ACT 83.6%

National’s low level of vote splitting will help explain why they won so many more electorate seats than Labour. Now let us look at how those who split their votes, did so:

  1. ACT – 72.6% voted for the National candidate, 4.9% Labour cand, 16.4% ACT cand
  2. Green – 10.5% National cand, 47.2% Labour, 33.3% Green
  3. Progressive – 16.8% National, 43.3% Labour, 22.4% Progressive
  4. Labour – 5.0% National, 77.5% Labour, 6.1% Green
  5. Maori – 6.5% National, 18.7% Labour, 60.7% Maori
  6. National – 85.5% National, 3.5% Labour, 4.2% ACT
  7. NZ First – 20.1% National, 43.2% Labour, 18.1% NZ First
  8. United Future – 50.1% National, 12.3% Labour, 24.2% United Future

With the two largest minor parties (in Parliament) we see that 73% of ACT voters voted for the National candidate while only 47% of Green voters voted for the Labour candidate.

We also saw twice as many NZ First voters voted for a Labour candidate than a National candidate.

Also most importantly 86% of National voters supported the National candidate, while only 78% of Labour voters supported the Labour candidate. Even if you exclude the Maori seats this only increases to 79.6%.

One can also look at the split voting in each electorate. A few interesting ones:

  • In Epsom, Rodney Hide got 89% of the ACT voters, 16% of the Greens, 21% of Progressives, 16% of Labour, 33% of Maori Party and 70% of National – over 15,000 National Party voters voted for Rodney.
  • In Mangere 73% of Labour voters voted Sua, and 15% Field.
  • In Nelson Nick Smith got 95% of the National voters, 22% of Labour voters and 19% of Green voters
  • In New Plymouth Harry Duynhoven narrowly lost despite getting 94% of Labour voters, 13% of National voters, 19% of ACT voters and 80% of Green voters.
  • In Ohariu Peter Dunne got 91% of United voters, 44% of National voters and 16% of Labour voters. In 2005 he got 34% of Labour voters.
  • Otaki was a hard fought battle. Nathan Guy got 92% of the National vote and 4% of the Labour vote. Darren Hughes got 91% of the Labour vote and 6% of the National vote.
  • In Tauranga Peters got 90% fo the NZ First voters but only 6% of the National voters and 46% of Labour voters. Sime Bridges got 88% of National voters and 11% of Labour voters plus even 5% of NZ First voters. He even got 27% of Green voters – double what the Labour cand got. Simon also got 30% of the Maori Party voters.
  • In Wellington Central Stephen Franks got 84% of National voters, 77% of ACT, 4% of Labour and 6% of Greens. Robertson triumphed because on top of his 76% of Labour voters he got 57% of Green voters.  A quite large 16% of Labour voters chose Kedgley over Robertson.
  • In WIgram Jim Anderton get 86% of Progressive voters, 58% of Labour voters and 21% of National voters.

It’s great fun analysing these statistics. Now if only we could get stats per polling place!

22 Responses to “Split Voting”

  1. Adolf Fiinkensein (3,638 comments) says:

    And I’m sad to say how dim witted were so many Maori voters whose party votes essentially were wasted. Had say 60% of them supported Labour what might have been the result? I don’t know but I’m sure DPF will have a formula.

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  2. peterwn (4,287 comments) says:

    Adolf – this was the ‘overhang’ situation that left wing strategists was talking about which would have damaged the integrity of the MMP system.

    What would be really interesting would be the number of each permutation of voting at each polling place eg National & Stephen Franks, National and Don Franks, Green and Stephen Franks etc etc. Scrutineers who watched election night counting and who could glance at many of the votes could have some idea of this but revealing this wold probably be in breach of the Electoral Act.

    I was a bit surprised that Stephen got only 84% of the National vote in Wellington Central, two factors were probably that some gay Nationals would support Grant Robertson and some lingering doubts over Stephen’s ACT past although as far as I can see he was well on the ‘left’ side of ACT back then.

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  3. GerryandthePM (224 comments) says:

    Perhaps more interesting would be the numbers of voters who voted in this way.

    While 70% of National voters is 15,000 who voted for Rodney Hide in Epsom, 89% of ACT voters amounts to how many votes for Rodney Hide?

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  4. davidp (3,865 comments) says:

    There are a few scenarios in amongst that data that appear to make little sense… I’m thinking those seats (Epsom, Tauranga, Wigram) that a minor party HAD to win to have much chance of being in parliament, but where the party list supporters didn’t vote for the party seat candidate. That’s 10% of NZ First voters who didn’t vote for Peters, 11% of ACT voters who didn’t vote for Rodney, and 14% of Progressive voters who didn’t vote for Anderton.

    I can sort of understand someone wanting to support NZ First because, say, they hate Asian people but can’t bring themselves to vote for a crook like Peters. But surely an ACT supporter in Epsom realises the importance of Rodney taking the seat? So, does this mean that about 10% of the electorate just don’t understand MMP?

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  5. bren (7 comments) says:

    Adolf – It wouldn’t have changed much – 60% of the Maori vote is 33,588 votes. Give that to Labour and the overhang goes from two to four seats with Labour picking up two additional seats. National+ACT is still 63 seats which is still a majority.

    GerryandthePM – Rodney got 2127 votes from ACT voters.

    davidp – Unfortunately much more than that don’t understand MMP. Only 67% of voters realise that the party vote is the more important vote.

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  6. Johnboy (20,828 comments) says:

    So 10.5% of Green voters have some vestige of intelligence. Would never have thought it so high to be honest.

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  7. Tauhei Notts (2,365 comments) says:

    Thank you DPF for bringing this information to us.
    I have been labelled a wanker (by Green Party and Labour Party people) because I find these statistics fascinating.
    I’m part of the 4.9% of Act voters who voted for the Labour Candidate. She has such a pretty smile, but she would not have got my vote if I thought her losing margin was going to be less than 4000. She lost by 16,000 so my encouragement to her will have been appreciated.

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  8. goodgod (1,347 comments) says:

    It’s looking good for a return to FPP. Bring on the referendum! The big parties can absorb the sympathetic (or should that be pathetic) minor parties and away we go!

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  9. William Fussey (45 comments) says:

    One thing that really surprises me (and makes people seem stupid) is that in Epsom 16% of the Greens, 21% of Progressives and 16% of Labour voted Rodney. Surely they have the semblance of intelligence to realise that one way of improving Labour’s chances to win the election was to do everything possible to not vote Rodney back in. My best friend wanted a Labour victory and was enrolled in Epsom – he did the sensible thing for someone in his position and voted for Worth. Not that any of this makes any material difference given Rodney’s huge majority – just shows that people can be dumb.

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  10. MikeE (469 comments) says:

    A lot of people simply don’t understand MMP. I spoke to a load of poeple who thought they were voting for Rodney in Epsom by ticking ACT, and then picking their national candidate.


    And william, while they might be labour supporters, Epsom voters realise that Rodney has been the best damn electorate MP that Epsom has had in a long time. Heck even Mike Lee and Penny Bright endorsed Rodney this year! hardly bastions of the vast right wing conspiracy!

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  11. glubbster (352 comments) says:

    We need to understand that we live in a world of imperfect information. While most of us on here have a full appreciation of the implications of strategic voting, many people are either too lazy or simply not interested in the mechanics of how parties & individuals get into Parliament. I dont think its necessarily not understanding MMP. Those who dont vote at all but say favour a left-wing govt should also not be said to not understand MMP. Nor do we say the smaller party vote are necessarily ignorant. Rather, I would class them as apathetic or idealistic. Within a population sample, not everyone will follow a rational voting pattern. Many simply vote how they like and are not worried about the outcome. They just feel good casting their 2 votes for the individual and party they prefer.
    Having Aaron Keown’s (Act candidate) on the ballot paper for Waimak has probably cost Kate Wilkinson the seat. He received 1500 EV & only 800 PV. Some would argue this is silly play by Aaron and the right ie not understanding MMP. But Aaron had little to gain either way. Irrespective of Aaron’s imperfect understanding of MMP, this is an example demonstrating how important co-operation is. Had Aaron and Kate found agreement somehow, Kate would have won the seat.

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  12. glubbster (352 comments) says:

    While only 67% got it right that PV is the most important, sometimes it is not ie a small party relying on an electoral win somewhere. I think at least 25% of people in NZ are closed off to the political process. If they wanted to know, they would pay some attention. I consider the main cause to be wilful blindness rather than stupidity.

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  13. glubbster (352 comments) says:

    The stats adds weight to the following conclusion: for Nat & Lab, the candidate vote usually follows the party vote unless there is an incumbent electorate MP. Harry D actually picked up around 13.25% of National’s party vote in New Plymouth (and still just lost). Clayton picked up 12.75% of National PV. Jimbo picked up 21 of Nationals PV in Wigram, proving that he is still just as popular despite boundary changes. Nicky Wagner was unable to pick up more than 3% of Labour’s PV, despite Burns being new to central and relatively unpopular amongst Labourites.

    Nicky Kaye was very successful for a National candidate in grabbing Green Party voters to her rather than Judith. Is this because Nicky is popular among the urban young liberals who may vote Green and/or is it that they dislike Judith? Can anyone help on this?

    Actually, the stats are not too bad for Wigram as if Jimbo retirres since there is possibly 20% of National’s PV returning to Marc in 2011. Could be a contest worth watching in 2011 should National remain in pole position.

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  14. stephen (4,011 comments) says:

    Heck even Mike Lee and Penny Bright endorsed Rodney this year! hardly bastions of the vast right wing conspiracy!

    Lee might be a lefty, but as a Councillor I doubt he has much room for Public Political Partisanry.

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  15. bren (7 comments) says:

    Nikki Kaye actually did quite badly with the Green voters, only 7.33% voted for her, 50.15% voted for Tizard and 36.61% voted for the Green candidate. Compare this with Tony Ryall who picked up 29.71% of the Green vote (though there was no green candidate in Bay of Plenty), Pansy Wong got 19.31%, Bill English got 18.48%, Sandra Goudie got 15.94%, Richard Worth got 18.33% (maybe in an attempt to get Hide out), David Bennett got 17.96%, John Key got 18.25%, Paul Hutchinson got 16.01%, Eric Roy got 20.04% and I think I’ve made my point getting up to Invercargill.

    One thing I have noticed is that all these people were sitting MPs. But for the rest of the bunch such as Nicky Wanger in Christchurch Central, they got around about the same percent of the green vote as Nikki Kaye did.

    My point? Nikki Kaye was definitely no one special in being able to secure those green votes – just about average for an non sitting MP.

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  16. Rex Widerstrom (5,113 comments) says:

    So Peter Dunne’s support amongst Labour voters in Ohariu dropped by just over 50% to just 16%, while 44% of National voters still support him. Someone really needs to start attending the Ladies Croquet Club coffee mornings and other such bastions of Ohariu conservatism and putting something in the tea and scones. I’d suggest arsenic.

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  17. GerryandthePM (224 comments) says:

    Some people, rather than not understanding how MMP works, may just have gone with their own preferences of candidate and party, however illogical that might appear.

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  18. glubbster (352 comments) says:

    Correct on the 7.33% Bren, but 15% went of the Labour Party vote went to the Green candidate Denise Roche. I guess what I was getting at is that Tizard’s unpopularity amongst the left that probably cost her the seat. The point is made stronger when you look at an incumbent who can only grab 3% of National’s vote despite spending a decade in the seat. Hopeless? You bet.

    Secondly all, the electorates you listed are safe National seats with strong incumbent MP’s. Hard to compare apples to apples.

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  19. Tim Ellis (253 comments) says:

    I watched the Auckland Central race quite closely, having lived in the electorate for more than fifteen years. In the last year, I saw Nikki Kaye out campaigning literally dozens of times. In the twelve years that Judith Tizard has been my MP, I’ve seen her maybe four or five times, and almost always driving down Ponsonby Road. I didn’t see her once this election year. Kaye appears to have galvanised the National Party vote very successfully, far better than Pansy did last time.

    Kaye’s strategy appears to have been quite simple, to work hard for every vote for as long as possible in every part of the electorate, even in my suburb, little old Grey Lynn which is hardly traditional National Party territory.

    Judith just didn’t seem to work hard enough to win the seat. It should have been safe labour. Kaye didn’t get many of the people voting Labour to vote for her, but I suspect that she converted a lot of swinging voters to vote for both the National Party for their party vote and for her for their electorate vote, just by working as hard as she did. I think the idea of green party voters and labour party voters ticking Kaye was a bit unlikely, since they’re quite tribal.

    Kaye is an urban liberal with environmental tendencies. I don’t think this means that she was going to pick up a lot of green party votes, but it did mean that a lot of middle class swingers with environmentalist tendencies were comfortable giving both their ticks to National. That might say more about the Greens strategy of pitching themselves as watermelons, left of Labour than as an actual environmental party. The Greens don’t have a monopoly on environmental issues (far from it) and with people like Kaye in Parliament perhaps the Greens should rethink about whether they want to push themselves as a radical left party as they are now, or a true environmental interest party prepared to work with either labour or National. As long as they continue to suck up to Labour, and as long as National has people like Kaye in there, the Greens will lose moderate supporters to the right.

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  20. bren (7 comments) says:

    OK, here is a list of all National candidates ranked by their Green vote. Included is a note of whether they were an MP before the election. Nikki Kaye is highlighted.

    The top of the list is dominated by National MPs, so clearly already being an MP is an advantage in getting green votes (which should be an advantage for Kaye in the future – especially if she really is strong on evironment issues and is a good urban liberal). I think Simon Bridges being so high up is an indication that many green voters were keen to get rid of Winston Peters. Anyway, Nikki Kaye is fairly down in that list.

    I calculated the average result for National candidates who aren’t already an MP and got 7.43%. 0.1% above Kaye’s result. So she was able to attract the average amount of green votes for a candidate who wasn’t a MP. If you take out Simon Bridges, who is a bit of an outlier and whose results was possibly driven by anti-Winston-ism then you get 6.92%. Anyway, I’ll retract my previous comment that Kaye did badly with green voters – she was average.

    Here is a graph I made comparing Kaye, Tizard and the Green candidate.

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  21. glubbster (352 comments) says:

    That is great Bren, but as you know Labour is tribal and so it is very interesting to see the number of protest voters voting Denise Roche over Judith Tizard. Not a great conversion of Green PV to Judith either. Go do another graph which compares Green PV conversion to Labour candidate and take out the safe seats form the analysis. I wonder how those results pan out. And Tim is right, Nicky most probably persuaded a percentage of swinging voters to two tick National who may have voted Green or even Labour.
    I think Nicky Kaye did quite well with Greens given the high proportion of Green voters in the AC electorate. She will only improve next time around. But the key was the Lab/Green dislike of Judith. Against a strong challenge from Nicky Kaye, Tizard’s unpopularity cost her the seat and ended her political career.

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  22. glubbster (352 comments) says:

    Your graph Bren is really good. It actually shows that if 90% the Labour voters who voted Roche had stayed with Judith she would have won the seat or gone very close.

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