The New Zealand Political Polling Code

March 25th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Research Association of New Zealand has announced:

A new Code has been released today that will guide the conduct and reporting of political surveys for this year’s General Election.

Research Association New Zealand has produced the NZ Political Polling Code to ensure fair and dependable political .  It has been designed in conjunction with researchers, politicians and media, and is binding on members.

The working group that oversaw the code has representatives on it from Colmar Brunton, Reid Research/Baseline, Digipoll, Ipsos, UMR and Curia. It has three sections to it:

  1. Conducting of political polls by researchers (binding)
  2. Reporting of political polls by researchers (binding)
  3. Publishing of political polls by media (advisory)

Polls that comply with the code will have the logo below on them, so people can quickly see if they are code compliant.


The best practice guidelines for media reporting are:

  1. If possible, get a copy of the full poll report and do not rely on a media release. 
  2. The story should include the name of the company which conducted the poll, and the client the poll was done for, and the dates it was done. 
  3. The story should include, or make available, the sample size, sampling method, population sampled, if the sample is weighted, the maximum margin of error and the level of undecided voters. 
  4. If you think any questions may have impacted the answers to the principal voting behaviour question, mention this in the story. 
  5. Avoid reporting breakdown results from very small samples as they are unreliable. 
  6. Try to focus on statistically significant changes, which may not just be from the last poll, but over a number of polls
  7. Avoid the phrase “This party is below the margin of error” as results for low polling parties have a smaller margin of error than for higher polling parties. 
  8. It can be useful to report on what the electoral results of a poll would be, in terms of likely parliamentary blocs, as the highest polling party will not necessarily be the Government. 
  9. In your online story, include a link to the full poll results provided by the polling company, or state when and where the report and methodology will be made available. 
  10. Only use the term “poll” for scientific polls done in accordance with market research industry approved guidelines, and use “survey” for self-selecting surveys such as text or website surveys.

The full code is below:

Political Polling Code 2014

10 Responses to “The New Zealand Political Polling Code”

  1. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    Are Roy Morgan part of this group ?

    [DPF: No]

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Nigel Kearney (1,977 comments) says:

    As I always say, it’s not the errors themselves. It’s the fact that the errors consistently favour the same side of the political spectrum. You are not dealing with a problem that is based entirely on ignorance and can therefore be fixed by education.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. alwyn (509 comments) says:

    Don’t Worry Nigel.
    David C has announced that when he becomes PM the Government will set up a new organisation called KiwiPoll.
    They will take over all polling that is to be carried out in New Zealand and they will fix all the “errors” you talk about.
    Among their tasks will be to adjust all polling results so that the correct percentages are reported. If any sample is so biased that it shows a number for Labour that is less than 50%, or has a number for National that is greater than 30% it will be treated as a rogue and the results adjusted to bring them into line with the public view, as represented by readers of “The Standard”, of what they see as “reality”.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (1,293 comments) says:

    Roy Morgan is the only poll that can be trusted folks.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. igm (2,444 comments) says:

    Cullen: Anything bent towards leeches seems to be your ideal.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. RRM (12,544 comments) says:

    Methinks it will take more than a mere mark of quality on proper, scientific polls to make some people see the truth (or report the truth) as it really is… 🙂

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. RRM (12,544 comments) says:

    I thought the Ministry of Love was the only pollster who can be trusted to tell the truth?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. trout (1,132 comments) says:

    Are Roy Morgan and Horizon buying into this?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Andrew (90 comments) says:

    Roy Morgan aren’t. Unsure about Horizon. Their Principal is listed as a member of the Research Association, so presumably they will.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. V (1,581 comments) says:

    The logo should be a pile of steaming dung, to represent the usefulness of these polls.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote