Too close to call

September 12th, 2013 at 3:19 pm by David Farrar

Lablead

 

As always, treat the non-caucus numbers as highly speculative. The caucus numbers are more solid, but MPs have been known to swap sides, or say one thing and do another.

My models have Robertson ahead in the caucus vote, and Cunliffe ahead in the union and members vote. When you weight them together I actually have Robertson narrowly leading. However with Cunliffe picking up more of the Jones caucus second preferences, my model has a narrow victory to Cunliffe on the final ballot – 51.1% to 48.9%.

So if the model is in the ballpark (and it may not be), then either Robertson or Cunliffe can win. And the fact neither camp is claiming they have it in the bag, suggests they also think it is close.

So how can the three candidates win. Here’s what I think

Robertson

The easiest way for Robertson to win is to pick up additional caucus votes. In fact just one MP swapping to him will get him over the line on this model. If the six Jones voters split 3-3 instead of 4-2 to Cunliffe, then he squeaks in.

The other path to victory for Robertson is to do better on the membership vote. I’ve heard that the voting turnout to date is low, just 14% as of yesterday. A low turnout would I think advantage Robertson as I think his caucus supporters will be better at getting their local members to vote.

Cunliffe

Cunliffe has multiple routes to victory. On this model he is more likely to win. If he picks up a couple more caucus votes he is home and hosed.

Another route to victory for Cunliffe is the EPMU. He has the support of the four smaller unions. The SFWU is allowing all members a vote so hard to change their outcome. The EPMU however has around 50 voting delegates only and they carry around 7% of the total vote. My model assumes most EPMU delegates will back Robertson as he has some support from senior officials such as Paul Tolich. However it is quite possible the EPMU may vote the same way as the other unions, and if so Cunliffe gets in easily.

The third route to victory for Cunliffe is winning the members vote not narrowly, but by say over a 10% margin. If after preferences Cunliffe gets over 55% of their vote, it should also clinch it for him. For that his team need to make sure the Auckland based members vote in strength. The fact  600 to 700 members turned up to the Wellington meeting suggests Wellington may have a higher vote turnout per capita/member.

Jones

There is no route to victory for Jones!

So my pick is a victory for Cunliffe. However Robertson can win if get more caucus votes, and there is a relatively low membership vote. But  against that Cunliffe has multiple routes to victory and only needs one of them. The advantage is his.

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46 Responses to “Too close to call”

  1. Tom Jackson (2,232 comments) says:

    I really do think that you are giving far too many membership votes to Robertson. Based on chatter, I would have it running 4 to 1 for Cunliffe after Jones’ preferences are distributed.

    And I disagree that Cunliffe will win. Caucus and the EPMU stitching it up for Robertson is my guess.

    I realise that what I wrote is slightly contradictory and I don’t care. ;)

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  2. thedavincimode (6,102 comments) says:

    David, FFS. You’re in China. Why aren’t you out on the piss and eating up large?

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  3. Wade G (7 comments) says:

    Have to agree with Tom’s first paragraph, I believe Cunliffe will gain the membership vote by a landslide. Interesting to me is that many young people that I have spoken to believe in Ardern to be a future leader, but they don’t side with Robertson now.

    Of Labor voters, some of which are members with a vote, all bar one has been going the Cunliffe route (Myself included).

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  4. georgebolwing (493 comments) says:

    Regardless of who wins, the next step by the losers is going to have a lot of influence on how successful their tenure will be.

    I am assuming that Shane Jones will continue to be Shane Jones and that he will join the ever-growing list of former next big things in the Labour Party.

    Cunliffe and Roberston could accept a loss with good grace and become a loyal member of the senior parliamentary party, as Michael Cullen did after he unsuccessfully tried to get Helen Clark to step aside in the 90s. Or they could spit the dummy and do a Kevin Rudd. Likewise, as winner, either could be magnanimous in victory, arrange for the loser to become their deputy and led a united party into the next election, or they could seek utu.

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  5. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,664 comments) says:

    Who the hell really cares?

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  6. Urban Redneck (234 comments) says:

    The haughty Mr Cunliffe or “Alf’s not here” Robertson.

    Ahh, the agony of choice.

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  7. alwyn (359 comments) says:

    You say in your post that
    “Mps have been known to say one thing and do another”
    Surely you are jesting Mr Farrar? I am sure that none of the wonderful characters that comprise the Labour caucus would ever utter even the slightest hint of a furphy.
    As they appear to describe themselves they are the rather more saintly older brothers of Mother Teresa.
    Please assure us that your slander is just that!

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  8. Roflcopter (397 comments) says:

    Here’s a thought… what if, at the 11th hour, Jones’ intention is to bow out of the race?

    Where do his supporters vote?

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  9. peterwn (2,932 comments) says:

    thedavincimode – yes, the Chinese should have ensured their Great Firewall was in good repair so DPF has no option but to make the most of their hospitality.

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  10. alwyn (359 comments) says:

    Roflcopter @ 4.02pm
    It would be very unlikely to matter whether Jones stayed in or dropped out
    The vote is by a STV and according to one of the people on the Standard, who is a member, you are required to rank all three of them.
    The only way it could matter, given the Jones is likely to be third would be if a voter who was going to vote Jones/Cunliffe/Robertson was to decide to vote Robertson/Cunliffe if Jones was not in the race. (or the other way round).
    This seems like a rather unlikely switch of preferences, n’est ce pas?

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  11. Roflcopter (397 comments) says:

    Alwyn: Except in the case of the caucus members? When do they vote?

    If it’s really tight, and he drops out deliberately, then how many caucus supporters of Jones would default to Robertson instead?

    The caucus vote can have a huge impact, and by doing so would negate many of Cunliffe’s options for being leader.

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  12. Ross12 (926 comments) says:

    If DPF’s figures are any where near correct it will the worst outcome for Labour ( no matter who wins) because a close result will ensure the infighting continues. Neither Cunliffe or Robertson have displayed any leadership or management skills in this contest. As a party what they needed was a very clear winner.

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  13. Alan (908 comments) says:

    I guess the difference in the potential post election behavior comes down to this; Cunliffe could walk away, move to the US and pick up a 7 figure salary in the real world, Jones could also make a decent living for himself, although not in the same financial league as Cunliffe. Robertson is a lot younger and has no where else to go.

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  14. Grant Michael McKenna (1,151 comments) says:

    To go really off track- is “home and hosed” a common phrase? To me a person who is defeated is hosed, not a winner.

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  15. Alan (908 comments) says:

    it’s a horse racing phrase, and yeah, it’s common

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  16. Peter (1,468 comments) says:

    This leadership battle has shown that Shearer was the best choice.

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  17. swan (651 comments) says:

    Question:

    If only 50% of the members vote, does this mean the voting share of the members is reduced accordingly? Or do the voters that did vote get double voting power?

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  18. Alan (908 comments) says:

    Double voting power. There is 40% allocated to the members, it doesn’t matter if 7,000 people or 7 people vote. It counts for 40% of the total

    Same with the MPs and unions of course.

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  19. PaulL (5,774 comments) says:

    @Grant: hosed is someone who is defeated. Home and hosed is someone who won and then got hosed off before the next contender even finished…

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  20. Akaroa (487 comments) says:

    I have sympathy with the view expressed by Adolf Fiinkensein at 3.44.

    All this chat reminds me of a time I was in a well-lubricated group of amigoes discussing whatever was the political issue of the day.

    At one point a particularly well-lubricated soul uttered words that have remained in our group lexicon ever since!

    As the discussion generated more heat this gent wove unsteadily into the conversation with the question, “Is this eff-ing important?”

    The current ‘debate’(??) on the succession to the leadership of the Labour Party surely warrants that perceptive comment IMHO!!

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  21. Akaroa (487 comments) says:

    PS

    And why is DPF wasting so much of his time and energy fooling around with these irrelevant calculations and conclusions?.

    Like A Fiinkensein observed, ‘Who cares!”

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  22. slightlyrighty (2,448 comments) says:

    So…

    either choice will piss off half the membership AND half the caucus……

    I’ll get the marshmallows, you bring the beer. This is going to be good.

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  23. Reid (15,505 comments) says:

    I think Jones will be a stronger player in the member’s vote than the 1.3/10 DPF has assigned and I also think those members who vote for Jones will overwhelmingly give their second preference to Cunliffe. Which means 2014 is in the bag for the conservatives.

    Hooray.

    Sort of.

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  24. stigie (614 comments) says:

    @ slightyrighty
    So…

    either choice will piss off half the membership AND half the caucus……

    I’ll get the marshmallows, you bring the beer. This is going to be good.

    And i will bring a truck load of popcorn…..!

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  25. Yoza (1,343 comments) says:

    The sense I get is a Labour Party led by Cunliffe will probably take out the 2014 election, whereas a Labour Part led by Robertson will go into meltdown.

    The Labour Party hierarchy has already attempted to thwart the will of its membership by imposing Shearer on them, to pull the same dirty trick with Robertson, in an election process some think may have already been rigged, will be an interesting spectacle to witness.

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  26. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,664 comments) says:


    The sense I get is a Labour Party led by Cunliffe will probably take out the 2014 election,…”

    Dream on. Then wake up and wonder how a rabble will be voted in by voters, the majority of whom want and have stable, competent people in power, delivering a thriving economy?

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  27. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Yoza,

    The equally big problem for Labour is that a caucus led by Cunliffe will go into meltdown – leading to the reverse of the outcome you predict.

    Basically it’s a lose-lose scenario.

    (It wasn’t the Labour hierarchy that imposed Shearer on them; that was solely the work of the caucus (and principally simply as a blocking move to keep Cunliffe out.))

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  28. the conservative (57 comments) says:

    All we can hope for is Robertson and his f**k buddy Alf win……then we are laughing all the way to the bank. New Zealand will never vote for a homosexual prime minister—the polls already show that. Can you imagine Robertson introducing Alf to conservative Tony Abbott? ‘Tony I would like to introduce you to my f**k buddy Alf.’ It doesn’t quite work, does it?

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  29. Steve (North Shore) (4,314 comments) says:

    These three stooges think they are all winners. They have not realised that the voting public are not interested in who wins.
    The voting public are enjoying the circus, with 3 clowns as the first and last act.
    I am Rich.
    I am Gay.
    I am Moari.
    Is that all you have?

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  30. duggledog (1,102 comments) says:

    Cunliffe is the most dangerous to Key because he is bitch angry that Key is much more successful than him. Those two go way back.

    The other two are a lazy wanker who can’t win a seat and a male Helen Clark who has never had a real job

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  31. s.russell (1,486 comments) says:

    The winner will be Andrew Little, who will be nicely position as the fresh, untarnished and unifying choice to take over from Cunliffe after Labour loses in 2014. With Ardern as deputy.

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  32. Keeping Stock (9,787 comments) says:

    @ Yoza – do you seriously believe that Cunliffe can unite the Labour caucus when there are as many as 15 of the 34 MP’s who quite literally hate his guts?

    As the Mitre 10 sandpit advert goes; “Mate; you’re dreamin’”!

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  33. slightlyrighty (2,448 comments) says:

    Frankly, I’d trust those kids in the sandpit more to run the country.

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  34. Yoza (1,343 comments) says:

    Adolf Fiinkensein 7:03 pm

    The sense I get is a Labour Party led by Cunliffe will probably take out the 2014 election,…”

    Dream on. Then wake up and wonder how a rabble will be voted in by voters, the majority of whom want and have stable, competent people in power, delivering a thriving economy?

    bhudson 7:07 pm

    Yoza,

    The equally big problem for Labour is that a caucus led by Cunliffe will go into meltdown – leading to the reverse of the outcome you predict.

    Basically it’s a lose-lose scenario.

    (It wasn’t the Labour hierarchy that imposed Shearer on them; that was solely the work of the caucus (and principally simply as a blocking move to keep Cunliffe out.))

    Keeping Stock 8:05 pm

    @ Yoza – do you seriously believe that Cunliffe can unite the Labour caucus when there are as many as 15 of the 34 MP’s who quite literally hate his guts?

    As the Mitre 10 sandpit advert goes; “Mate; you’re dreamin’”!

    I think Cunliffe will be promoting people in caucus who can work with him while advocating a more democratic party process that places greater emphasis on the role the rank and file play in the decision making process. This seems the only strategy open to him, as the membership are those who have fought tooth and nail to see him where he is now.

    A Labour Party with an energised and united membership is a dangerous beast, as those in the Labour Party caucus who set out to get Cunliffe are finding out.

    I don’t see the John Key personality cult surviving a Cunliffe led onslaught in the 2014 election.

    I also think Cunliffe is not as far left as he or the media pretend he is and I think he will adopt a pragmatic stance once elected .

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  35. bhudson (4,720 comments) says:

    Yoza,

    Recent polls are showing that people neither trust Cunliffe nor particularly warm to him as a person (which is quite important in the modern, ‘presedential-style’ elections.) Yes they rate him as best choice for Labour leader, but that does not mean he will win over the voters in the general election by any stretch of the imagination.

    There is an enormous risk that the public will come to see him as his current caucus colleagues do.

    I agree that he is not as left as he had made out. However that could well be part of the reason why people don’t trust him – he was rated least likely to carry out the promises he has made in this leadership campaign.

    He also has a huge uphill struggle to even get to the election. It is caucus that will select his deputy and if they select someone like Jacinda Ardern that is a recipe for dysfunction and instability; apparently they can’t stand each other.

    Also if their cabinet selection rules also apply to the shadow cabinet then it is caucus that will decide who the front benchers are and Cunliffe will only have power to determine which portfolios they get. Imagine him trying to manage an effective team with King, Goff, Mallard, Hipkins, Curran, Fenton, Fa’afoi and Twyford foisted upon him – all Robertson loyalists.

    A leader without the support of caucus is toast.

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  36. Keeping Stock (9,787 comments) says:

    Quite so bhudson; just consider who Cunliffe’s support base includes; Sue Moroney, Louisa Wall, Nanaia Mahuta, Iain Lees-Galloway, Rajen Prasad. It’s not exactly a winning front bench :D

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  37. Yoza (1,343 comments) says:

    I think you two are overstating the ABCs hatred of Cunliffe while understating their fear of the membership. I’ve followed this debate over at The Standard and any Labour party MPs that turn up and endorse the treatment meted out to Cunliffe are torn to shreds. I seriously doubt the Key personality cult will win three elections in a row for National.

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  38. Tom Jackson (2,232 comments) says:

    Cunliffe is the most dangerous to Key because he is bitch angry that Key is much more successful than him.

    That’s not how I read it.

    Cunliffe is the game changer. If Robertson or Jones win (and I’m assuming that Robertson will win against the will of the Labour membership) they will lead a party offering a warmed over version of the Clark government’s brand of Labour market and social liberalism.

    Cunliffe appears to have decided to make a clean break with that because he’s decided that the economic views underlying it are no longer credible (if they ever were genuinely credible). The economic policy of a Cunliffe led Labour Party would be much less tolerant of market failures and poorly executed privatizations than either National or past Labour policy. He’s already signalled that he will use the economic heft of the state to aggressively deal with market failures and that he doesn’t believe that application of the market mechanism always increases efficiency (he’s on pretty firm standard economic ground with that one).

    Cunliffe’s reputation in caucus seems to me to suffer for two reasons. First, Cunliffe is easily the smartest person in the Labour caucus (not hard, I know) and a candidate for the smartest person in parliament. Parliament is not known for people who lack ego, and the others find Cunliffe to be an intellectual threat because they don’t have the smarts to keep up with him. Second, Cunliffe appears to think for himself and is loath to accept conventional wisdom just because it is convention. Parliament is not exactly filled with people capable of independent thought, and so he sticks out like a sore thumb.

    If Cunliffe were to win and were to make a good run at winning the next election – something he’s entirely capable of – it would constitute the greatest threat to the conventional economic model in 30 years.

    That’s probably why he won’t win. IMHO Labour’s herd animals will do anything, including stuffing up their chances at the next election, to avoid this happening. Even if they don’t succeed and he becomes leader, entrenched political and media elites outside Labour (and the ABCs within it) will do anything to ruin any campaign he tries to run. The media started getting at him over a year ago with the manufactured leadership challenge.

    I honestly wonder why he bothered. Still, the guy has some chutzpah.

    (FTR I am neither member of Labour (I have never belonged to any political organisation of any sort), nor have I ever cast a vote for the Labour party. In fact, I no longer vote at all, and have not done so for a long time. I don’t see Labour as providing any reason to change my habit of finding something actually worthwhile to do on election day.)

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  39. MikeS (20 comments) says:

    I don’t know how you came up with your models, but they are way,way off. Cunliffe has all of the union vote and 75% of the membership vote. Who knows what the caucus will do but DC only needs 8 out of 34 from caucus to win with a majority without second choice votes even mattering.

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  40. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (517 comments) says:

    Please print and frame these predictions:

    1. Curryleaf wins by a huge margin
    2. Next opinion polls to show Labour narrowly leading National and Curryleaf as the preferred PM
    3. Gap starts to widen over the next few months
    4. Curryleaf to win 2014
    5. Labourers-Hippies-Winnie the Poo-Horny Hone government in place
    6. NZ economy to become a dog’s breakfast
    7. Tax and spend regime in full swing
    8. Dog fight among ruling coalition partners
    9. All start to go downhill
    10. National to sweep to power in 2017

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  41. Keeping Stock (9,787 comments) says:

    This is just one reason why David Cunliffe will never be Prime Minister of New Zealand:

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  42. OneTrack (1,953 comments) says:

    Yoga – “I also think Cunliffe is not as far left as he or the media pretend he is and I think he will adopt a pragmatic stance once elected .”

    In other words, your dream leader is the one that will lie to the Labour hierarchy and members in order to get voted in and then will do whatever he wants to do. In the same sentence you manage to admit that the Santa promises that Cunliffe has made so far are not practical. High five.

    I still give the Labour/greens/mana/Maori/nz first/united future coalition about 6 months in power before the country is completely f**ked and the runs on the banks start and there are permanent traffic jams on the way to The airport.

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  43. OneTrack (1,953 comments) says:

    Keeping Stock – That is one reason why Cunliffe MUST never be PM of New Zealand.

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  44. Keeping Stock (9,787 comments) says:

    @ One Track; couldn’t agree more :D

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  45. Paulus (2,291 comments) says:

    Laugh – Labour Party elect Cunliffe, and the Caucus (who elect Deputy) put in Robertson to spite Cunliffe.
    The shit fight, backstabbing, and disunity will continue.

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  46. Yoza (1,343 comments) says:

    OneTrack 7:22 am

    In other words, your dream leader is the one that will lie to the Labour hierarchy and members in order to get voted in and then will do whatever he wants to do. In the same sentence you manage to admit that the Santa promises that Cunliffe has made so far are not practical.

    My dream leader? I don’t know where you get that from. Last time I voted Labour was in 1987, after Lange had done stood up in front of our union (Post Office Workers) and promised Telecom would not be sold. Haven’t voted for them since that particularly nasty piece of betrayal.

    I do not expect a great deal from the anti-National Party coalition, the neo-liberal agenda may be slowed a little. We are a part of the Western banking racket, so we follow the orders of the ‘godfathers’ running the various global financial corporations – or else.

    I expect the value of the New Zealand dollar to drop to about 40c US within the first three months of the incoming Cunliffe regime, causing the media to squeal until Cunliffe recants. It would be good to see Labour stand up to the pressure they will inevitably face from a mainstream media that reflexively supports the neo-liberal agenda, I can’t see it though.

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