Whale on polls

November 3rd, 2011 at 12:38 pm by David Farrar

Two useful posts by Whale on a couple of .

First he comments on the Horizon poll that the Maori Party is encouraging their activists to sign up for the poll. It is quite possible they are not the only minor party to be doing so. This is one of the weaknesses in allowing people to sign up for a poll.

It can make a lot of sense for a minor party to do this. If the poll is of 1,000 people, then just 10 activists can get you an extra 1% if they are all selected for the poll. This is why it is desirable to have a huge sample size for your online panel (YouGov in the UK have hundreds of thousands), so you can minimise impacts like this.

Whale also comments on the poll done that alleges Colin Craig is leading in Rodney. I had been critical of this reported poll also as the report published by the Conservatives does not include the actual question asked. Anyway, Whale reveals that the director of the firm which did the polling is a candidate for the Conservatives. This should have been revealed at the time, in my opinion.

This does not mean that the poll results are or are not valid. As I said, validity is based on knowing the question asked and the methodology. You can poll for an organisation you are involved with. For example, Curia does an annual poll for the Republican Movement on whether people want NZ to become a republic when the Queen dies. Now I am on the Council of the Movement, but this doesn’t influence the results. The key thing is I have publicly disclosed my involvement. Incidentally we found this year a quite large drop in support for becoming a republic – I suspect a consequence of the royal wedding. So poll results are not always pleasing to the client.

 

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10 Responses to “Whale on polls”

  1. GJ (329 comments) says:

    Colin Craig does appear to be running a good campaign. I note that Baldock’s Kiwi Party has joined him also. In my locality their leaflet is promoting three things which are of concern to a number of New Zealanders. 1. Longer sentences for offenders. 2. Reduction in number of MP’s. 3. Change in the anti smacking laws. Be interesting to see if they make it.

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  2. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    GJ
    The anti smacking law is a U.N. imposition , so it is unlikely to change whoever gets in.

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  3. Lucia Maria (2,239 comments) says:

    That UN imposition should at least trigger some sort of debate as to how much sovereignty we supposedly have. Or there’s more to it than that.

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  4. George Patton (351 comments) says:

    @GJ – who are you kidding? They couldn’t even get their authorizations on their website right a few months back!

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/5480470/Craig-party-in-possible-law-breach

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  5. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    Incidentally we found this year a quite large drop in support for becoming a republic

    Fantastic news. The British Crown is a vital part of our cultural and political heritage, and an important defense against the tyranny of the state and democratic majoritarianism, and therefore must be retained.

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  6. Nick K (1,138 comments) says:

    If you look at the top 15 or so of the Conservative list they are virtually all ex Kiwi Party members, apart from the crazy Kevin Campbell @ # 10 who was in Act and a few from the New Citizen Party. The Conservative Party has not had members join and become candidates as they allege. They have simply had fundies from the Kiwi Party and the dodgy ones from the New Citizens fold into them. It’s a con by the Cons.

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  7. The Gantt Guy (30 comments) says:

    Not too jealous are you there Nick Kearney, that the Conservatives have been around for 3 months and have both more members and more support (according to the Herald DigiPoll) than ACT? Fact is mate, there are a number of “right of centre” voters completely pissed off with National’s agenda but who refuse to give ACT their vote because of the circus antics. These are ripe for the picking by the Conservatives, which it appears they are doing.

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  8. Clint Heine (1,568 comments) says:

    Pffft Gant, what tripe. Colin Craig has done what Peter Dunne did a few years ago and hoovered up confused quasi right wing parties for his own political means. He has of course stolen our prize asset Kevin “John Key the Jew” Campbell, which I hear bought many tears of sadness from ACT HQ. In fact I hear since Kevin rennounced his liberal ways, he has been placed at a very reachable 10th on the Con list.

    Gant – how do you know membership lists? Are you going to vote for the Non Fundy – Fundy Party? Is Colin Craig still basing his campaign on dodgy Horizon polling?

    If the centre right don’t want Don Brash back in Parliament when they all were only to willing to in 05 then I’d be very surprised. Catherine Isaacs would make a great MP and Don Nicholson would give Labour and the Greens a great beating from across the benches. The question out there is, do you want Colin Craig and his bunch of merry loonys from New Citizens and Kiwi Parties or do you want a fresh ACT line up that blows the Con List out of the water?

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  9. Nick K (1,138 comments) says:

    Gantt, of course that’s what’s happening. But they’re wasted votes as Craig has no chance in Rodney and they won’t be anywhere near 5%. That’s my concern – that they’re wasted votes.

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  10. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    I think there are probably two main factors that skew the Horizon Polls, one very negative and the other potentially positive.

    1) Their sample is at least partly self selecting.
    This skews the poll in favour of activists and people who feel like wasting time filling in stupid surveys for the chance to win an iPad. The problem they have is that because they arun email polls (see 2) they have no landline listing equivalent that they can go to for a truly random sample, so are dependent on referrals and self selection.

    2) They are doing an email poll.
    Pretty much everybody else runs telephone polls. I think this probably accounts for the way Horizon are always overstating smaller party vote share. It’s probably a behavioural difference. If somebody calls me out of the blue and asks me to say a political party I like I’ll mention the first that comes to my mind (a red, blue or maybe green one) as these are the parties that have the name recognition. If I am offered a list of parties on a screen I am more likely to implicitly give them a more equal rating when considering them. This might account for part of the spike for the Conservatives in Horizon (simply put they added a new radio button to their online survey for people to choose from and C is near the start of the alphabet). This means that Horizon in some ways better reflects the actual experience in the ballot booth.

    This might be one for a market research outfit to consider. How about an email poll where the sample is recruited by random telephone selection rather than self selecting – cancelling the impact of 1). To improve the predictive power from a behavioural perspective the colouring, layout, full party and candidate lists etc would exactly mirror a general election and referendum ballot (complete in glorious orange and purple – eeurgh) thereby enhancing the benefits of 2).

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