October Public Polls

November 11th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar



Have just published the latest polling newsletter. The summary is:

There were three polls in August, four in September and four in October

The average of the public polls has National 13% ahead of Labour in August, 8% in September and 10% in October. The current seat projection is centre-right 59 seats, centre-left 61.

Tony Abbott starts his term with modestly positive approval ratings in Australia.

In the United States President Obama’s approval rating is at an all-time low, and only 21% say the US is heading in the right direction. However Republicans also down in the polls.

In the UK Labour’ leads the Conservatives by 7%.

In Canada an ongoing scandal in the Senate sees the Conservatives a just 29%.

The normal two tables are provided comparing the country direction sentiment and head of government approval sentiment for the five countries. The mood has improved in Australia but plummeted in the US.

This newsletter is only available by e-mail.  If you would like to receive future issues, please go to http://listserver.actrix.co.nz/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/polling-newsletter to subscribe yourself.


Latest poll

November 10th, 2013 at 6:29 pm by David Farrar

I’ve blogged the latest 3 News Reid Research poll at Curiablog. Some insights I take from it:

  • Projects a centre-right Government, despite fall for National who got just over 46%
  • Labour up only 1% from July to 32% and July was in the middle of the man ban controversy for them
  • Was taken the week of Labour’s national conference, which is normally a good poll boost for a party
  • Cunliffe only at 11% Preferred PM, which is below what David Shearer was at in July
  • Conservatives up to almost 3%



Self-selecting sample

November 8th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Press reports:

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has signalled he is losing confidence in the Earthquake Commission (EQC)’s chief executive, demanding a “full inquiry” into how disgruntled homeowners were excluded from satisfaction surveys.

The issue arose after EQC critic and homeowner advocate Bryan Staples provided The Press with a document which appeared to show a system whereby EQC earmarked dissatisfied customers to leave them out of potential survey pools.

Brownlee yesterday told reporters at Parliament he was “quite annoyed” not to have been given information about the exclusions sooner.

The disclosure followed an Auditor-General’s report this week which quoted an EQC survey saying 80 per cent of homeowners were satisfied with the Canterbury home repair process.

Brownlee later said EQC was doing “pretty well” and yesterday stood by the comment.

Asked what level of confidence he had in EQC chief executive Ian Simpson, Brownlee refused to comment, but made it clear that confidence was at stake.

“It’s one of those things that I think goes to the heart of confidence and I’m very, very annoyed about it,” he said.

“I’ve asked the State Services Commissioner to conduct a full inquiry and he’ll be reporting to me in the next couple of days about how that’s going to be progressed.”

 An inquiry is warranted. The integrity of the sample is crucial to the reliability of a poll or survey. The exclusion of those who were recorded as being in a dispute with EQC means that the survey results were not representative.

What will be crucial is whether the report disclosed the sampling method, and the fact some home owners were excluded.

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New poll average

October 29th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar



This is updated to take account of the Roy Morgan polls, One News Colmar Brunton poll and Fairfax Ipsos poll. So basically 61 seats for the centre-right, 60 seats for centre-left and Maori Party would hold balance of power.


Latest poll

October 28th, 2013 at 7:46 am by David Farrar

I’ve blogged the latest Fairfax/Ipsos poll at Curiablog.

National are up 1.9% to 50.2% and could govern alone on that poll. Not a bad Labour Day present for the country.


Flavell looking safe

October 9th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

TVNZ has results of a Te Karere DigiPoll in Waiariki.

The party vote results (and change from the election) are:

  • Maori Party 35% (+14%)
  • Labour 29% (-6%)
  • Greens 8% (-1%)
  • Mana 6% (-11%)
  • National 4% (-2%)
  • NZ First 3% (-8%)

The electorate vote:

  • Maori Party 43% (nc)
  • Labour 17% (-8%)
  • Mana 8% (-25%)

The changes are comparing election vote (with no undecideds) with current preferences (with undecideds) so take that into account. However it is very clear that the Maori Party is benefiting in Waiariki from Flavell’s accession to the co-leadership, and he looks rather safe to retain the seat.

59% of voters said Flavell does an above average or better job as a local MP and only 4% say below average. That’s an incredibly high rating.

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Auckland mayoralty polling

October 4th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Horizon have released a exit poll showing John Palino only 4% behind Len Brown in the Auckland mayoralty.

Before people get too excited by this, I would point out Horizon’s final pre-election poll in 2011 had Labour winning the general election and only 5% behind National (in fact they got 20% behind National).

An August UMR poll had the gap at 23% (47% to 14%).

Could things have changed that much in the last six weeks? We’ll find out in a week when the results come in.

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Latest polls

September 25th, 2013 at 8:01 am by David Farrar

I’ve got details of the two latest polls at Curiablog. Sunday night’s One News Colmar Brunton poll and this morning’s Herald Digipoll. The former had little movement while the latter has a large swing to Labour.



The time and size weighted average of all the public polls has it almost neck and neck with the CR bloc on 60 seats, CL on 62 seats and the Maori Party holding the balance of power on 3 seats. This assumes no changes in electorate seats.


A not very useful poll

September 14th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

John Morrison is leading incumbent Celia Wade-Brown in the race for the Wellington mayoralty, according to a poll of Dominion Post readers.

Note this is a poll of readers, not of adults. It is both unrepresentative and probably fairly self-selecting, so this means that any results are not necessarily representative of how Wellingtonians will vote. That is not to say Morrison may not be ahead, just that this “poll” is not a very useful indicator.

Mr Morrison, who has been a city councillor for the past 15 years, had support from 27 per cent of the 635 readers surveyed last week – while Ms Wade-Brown trails on 17 per cent.

Putting aside that it is not a representative sample, the sampling error would be 3.8%, if it really was a poll of 635 readers in Wellington City.

Of those surveyed, 275 were eligible to vote in the Wellington City Council elections.

This is the number that counts and should have been highlighted earlier in the story.  That is a 5.9% margin of error.

In terms of raw numbers, 75 readers said they are voting Morrison, 47 readers Wade-Brown and 118 readers are undecided.

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Australian robopolls

August 26th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Tim Colebatch at the Sydney Morning Herald reports:

If you believe the opinion polls, there must be two elections going on. One is the Federal election, where the established pollsters agree that the Coalition has established a small but growing lead, averaging 52-48 on their latest polls. That’s a swing of 2 per cent.

The second election seems to be taking place in individual seats. It’s brought to us by the new kids on the block, the robo-pollsters, who use automated phone calls to bombard us with surveys that report huge swings to the Coalition.

On Thursday, a Guardian Lonergan poll reported that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stands to lose his own seat of Griffith in a 10.5 per cent swing against Labor. If you haven’t heard of Lonergan, it’s because they are brand new; their accuracy is untested.

But Lonergan is on a roll. Last week it stunned us by reporting that Labor’s other big name in Queensland, Peter Beattie, would lose Forde in a swing of 8.5 per cent to the Coalition. And it told us Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury stands to lose his western Sydney seat of Lindsay in a swing of 11 per cent.

Uh-huh. Lonergan’s own national poll reports only a 2 per cent swing against Labor. Yet in the three seats it polled individually, it found an average swing of 10 per cent. That’s huge, far bigger than we have seen in any Federal election since 1943.

Its Rudd poll came out as The Australian’s Newspoll reported a swing of 2 per cent to Labor in Queensland. Is there a swing to Labor in the other 28 seats in Queensland, but a landslide against it where Rudd and Beattie are standing? Maybe not.

It’s not just Lonergan. Another of the new kids using robo-polling, ReachTEL. shocked us last week with polls in four Sydney seats reporting an average swing against Labor of 10 per cent, with Treasurer Chris Bowen another big name heading for defeat.

Last month ReachTEL went polling in Tasmania, and reported swings against Labor of 11 per cent in Bass and Franklin, 14 per cent in Braddon and 17 per cent in Lyons. There’s a bit of a pattern here.

Last Saturday JWS Research polling in eight seats found an average 6 per cent against Labor, relatively modest by robopollster standards.

Yet the established polls with a strong track record such as Nielsen, Morgan, Newspoll and Galaxy on average report a swing of 2 per cent. All of them came within 2 per cent of the actual result last time.

Well, they and the robopollsters can’t both be right. Someone will be left looking pretty silly on election night.

I don’t think any pollster in NZ uses robopolls. Their advantage is they are cheap (no staff to pay!) and data is entered directly by the respondents (pushing buttons on phones) so analysis can be instant.

However the concern is that they become self-selecting, and hence not representative.

Traditional phone polling relies on the fact that because there is an actual human on the phone nicely asking you for a couple of minutes of your time, you will agree – even if not greatly interested in the topic.

I suspect with robopolls (and to a degree some Internet panel polls) that those with a higher degree of interest in an issue will stay on the line, and those less motivated will hang up as you are hanging up on a machine, not a person.

Hence it is not surprising that robo polls may be showing bigger swings against the Labor Government, as people are often more passionate about booting a Government out than keeping it in.

We’ll see of course come the election, but like the author I am sceptical of the massive swings being shown in some Labor held seats.

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Polls update

August 21st, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Have just done a belated issue of the monthly polling newsletter for July. The graph of projected seats is interesting.



The executive summary is:

July saw four political polls published in New Zealand – a Colmar Brunton, a reid Research and two Roy Morgan polls.

The average of the public polls has National 17% ahead of Labour – 2% more than in June. The seat projection is centre-right 63 seats, centre-left 55.

Kevin Rudd’s honeymoon in Australia has been short-lived and his approval rating has declined 20% in a month, and the Coalition lead by 4% in most polls indicating a possible 20 seat majority.

In the United States President Obama’s approval rating continues to decline, and his personal favourability is negative for the first time.

In the UK Labour’ leads over the Conservatives is shrinking and Labour leader Ed Miliband has very high disapproval ratings.

In Canada the opposition’s lead over the government has also shrunk, and the Conservatives are now forecast to win more seats than the Liberals.

This newsletter is normally only available by e-mail.  If you would like to receive future issues, please go to http://listserver.actrix.co.nz/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/polling-newsletter to subscribe yourself.

By coincidence July was a good month for the centre-right in all five countries!

Since July there has been a Roy Morgan which keeps up its normal volatility, and this morning a Fairfax Ispso poll. Fairfax found that 75% of NZers say they are worried about the GCSB law, yet National remains high on 48%.

To my mind, this shows the difference between opinion and intensity of opinion. Sure 75% say in response to a question they are concerned – but not enough to change how they vote.

The analogy I would use is free range eggs. Around 85% of Kiwis say they do not like battery hen farming and around 75% say they will happily pay more for eggs that are free range, not battery. However free range eggs make up around only 9% of sales! The lesson being people say they are concerned – but not enough to do anything about it.


Death Penalty Poll

August 18th, 2013 at 11:55 am by David Farrar

Front Page report:

More than a third of New Zealander’s would support the reintroduction of the death penalty.

 In a Curia poll  for TV3’s “ The Nation”  of  624 respondents, 38 per cent were in favour of the death penalty, 55 per cent were against it, and 7 per cent were undecided.

35 per cent of Labour voters favoured the death penalty and National voters polled at 44 per cent. Least likely to be in favour were Green Party voters at 19 per cent, but the most in favour of capital punishment were New Zealand First voters at 84 per cent.

An interesting difference by party support.

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The Campbell Live GCSB poll

August 12th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Campbell Live is trying to run what they call the biggest opinion poll in NZ history.

That neutral observer on such issues, is promoting it of course:

However expert pollster Grumpollie points out that the so called poll is meaningless in terms of accuracy:

Here’s a really important point for anyone wanting to judge the accuracy of this poll –big numbers do not provide representative data!

Here’s why…

This poll commits the ultimate sin of survey research – it uses a self-selecting sample.

People choose to take part based on the topic. This means that the poll only represents the New Zealanders who feel strongly enough about the GCSB bill to take part in the poll.

He points out that having a self-selecting sample, rather than a random sample, makes a huge difference. For example all the polls on same sex marriage with random samples showed a majority or plurality in favour. But the Campbell Live text in poll found only 22% in favour and 78% against. A result that has no scientific usefulness. Note that particular poll also had a huge number of responses. What counts is whether the sample is random – now how many people take part.

But the problems are even worse than that for the Campbell Live so called poll. Thomas Lumley at Stats Chat points out that to vote through their website you need to give Campbell Live your name, e-mail address and postal address. He points out:

Wouldn’t you expect that people unhappy with the prospect of increased (legal) surveillance of New Zealanders might be less willing to give all their personal details with their vote?

But you can understand why a Mediaworks show goes with an unscientific poll than a scientific poll. A scientific poll actually costs money to do. But those who use the text option for their bogus polls end up paying money to Mediaworks, so Mediaworks makes money out of the bogus poll.

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Latest poll

August 5th, 2013 at 3:47 am by David Farrar

The latest One News Colmar Brunton poll is at Curiablog. The summary is Labour static, National down, Greens up and Maori Party would hold the balance of power.


Latest poll

August 1st, 2013 at 7:51 am by David Farrar



I’ve blogged at Curiablog details of the latest Roy Morgan poll. There seem to be two distinctive trends over the last two months.



Have also updated the rolling average of all the public polls.


Two more polls

July 22nd, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

I’ve blogged the latest two polls at Curiablog. A Roy Morgan poll and a 3 News Reid Research poll.

Both have National up and Labour down, and the 3 News poll has a huge 17.1% drop in the net approval rating for David Shearer. This is of course what those in his caucus briefing against him want – to damage him so badly, that a change is inevitable.



This is the current average of the public polls.


June public polls

July 4th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar



Have just published Curia’s monthly newsletter summarising the public polls in NZ, Australia, UK, US and Canada. Note Labour have dropped for three months in a row.

The executive summary is:

Curia’s Polling Newsletter – Issue 69, June 2013


June saw three political polls published in New Zealand – a Digipoll and two Roy Morgan polls.

The average of the public polls has National 15% ahead of Labour – 2% more than in May. The seat projection is centre-right 62 seats, centre-left 57.

The return of Kevin Rudd in Australia has seen Labor rebound in the polls, so far, but the Coalition retains a narrow 2% lead on average.

In the United States President Obama’s approval rating slips, and he gets a negative rating on foreign policy for the first time.

In the UK Labour leads the Conservatives by 8% and the UKIP continues to outpoll the Liberal Democrats.

In Canada the honeymoon has ended quickly for new Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, as they drop 5%. However on current polls they would still be the biggest party and lead a minority government.

The normal two tables are provided comparing the country direction sentiment and head of government approval sentiment for the five countries. The mood has improved in Australia and Canada.

We also carry details of polls in New Zealand on Maori names, Labour and National leadership, the GCSB, Sky City, Fluoride, Fiordland plus the normal business and consumer confidence polls.

This newsletter is normally only available by e-mail.  If you would like to receive future issues, please go to http://listserver.actrix.co.nz/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/polling-newsletter to subscribe yourself.


Latest poll

July 2nd, 2013 at 6:55 pm by David Farrar

The latest Roy Morgan poll is at Curiablog.

Over the last two RM polls, National has gone up 5.5% and Labour down 3.5%.


Not comparing apples and apples

July 1st, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar



The Herald had a story about how opposition to the Sky City deal has increased since last year from 40% to 62%. But the print version includes this graphic which shows very different questions asked, in terms of options provided.

What would have been the results if the Herald asked the same question as last year, giving an option of approving if the number of machines across the city drops? I guess we’ll never know – which is a pity.

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“We’re going to be doing exactly what we are doing now”

June 26th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

In response to the 6% drop in the Herald Digipoll, David Shearer has said:

‘We’re going to be doing exactly what we are doing now,”

This response was greeted with huge cheers from all National MPs. They hope Labour will carry on doing exactly what they are doing.

He fended off questions about what it would take for him to step down as leader.

Shearer can’t stand down. There is too much of a risk that David Cunliffe would win the battle to be his successor. This is as anathema to the ABC old guard faction as Kevin Rudd is to the ALP Caucus. It doesn’t mean they won’t stomach it eventually, but they are not desperate enough yet.

John Armstrong says that time has come:

Is it time for Labour to rethink the unthinkable and think David Cunliffe? Probably not. At least not yet. Labour’s MPs would not be human, however, if they were not asking themselves – if not each other – the Cunliffe question after the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey. …

The poll is a horror story of Stephen King proportions for Labour. The party has dropped close to six percentage points since the last such survey in March to register just under 31 per cent support.

David Shearer’s rating as preferred Prime Minister has been slashed by a third and is back into “also ran” territory.

The survey uncannily resembles the result of the last election, leaving the observer to draw the obvious conclusion – that Labour has gone nowhere since.

Except David Shearer was quoted as saying that the long-term trend has been positive for Labour. So I graphed the results of the Herald Digipoll since the election.



If that is a positive trend for Labour, it’s an unusual one.

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Latest poll

June 26th, 2013 at 8:10 am by David Farrar

Have blogged the latest Herald Digipoll at Curiablog. Labour down 5.5% and Shearer down 6.1%.

In terms of next Labour leader, 32% say Cunliffe, 17% Robertson and 14% Little.


Junk in, junk out

June 24th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Press reports:

Online polls have offered few clues to the early favourite in Christchurch’s mayoral race.

Incumbent Bob Parker and outgoing Labour MP Lianne Dalziel are locked in a head-to-head battle to lead a new-look city council from October.

Three unscientific surveys have given conflicting pointers to ratepayers’ preferred candidate.

Of course they have. That is because they are unscientific. How is this newsworthy? This is like saying that the astrology forecast in The Press and the Dominion Post differed this week, and writing a story about it.

Late last week, The Press emailed a survey to 1700 readers asking them whether they would vote for Dalziel or Parker if they had to immediately cast a vote.

Some 597 readers responded and 377 (63 per cent) said they would support Dalziel, while 149 (25 per cent) said they would support Parker.

The remaining 71 readers (12 per cent) said they would support neither candidate.

A readers survey is perhaps the least worst unscientific survey. The sample is not representative, but people can only vote once and had to be pre-registered.

A running press.co.nz poll with more than 11,000 votes has Parker leading on 50.5 per cent and Dalziel well back on 38.8 per cent.

This sort of poll is akin to astrology – worthless. People can vote multiple times if they want to, and candidates e-mail their supporters encouraging them to vote. These polls are entertainment, not a scientific poll.

Political forecasting website iPredict suggests Parker has a 65 per cent probability of retaining the job, and Dalziel a 37 per cent chance of claiming it.

iPredict has a good track record, but the fuel for it tends to be public scientific polls. In the absence of such, people are investing in a vacuum.

Polls in the last local body election had Parker lagging well behind his opponent, Jim Anderton, throughout most of the campaign but on election day he walked away the victor, with a nearly 17,000-vote majority.

Umm, probably relevant to mention the earthquake that occurred! All those polls were prior to the earthquake.


May 2013 polls

June 5th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar



Just published Curia’s monthly polling newsletter. The executive summary is:

May saw five political polls published in New Zealand – a Colmar Brunton, a Reid Research, an Ipsos and two Roy Morgan polls.

The average of the public polls has National 13% ahead of Labour – 1% more than in April. The seat projection is centre-right 60 seats, centre-left 58.

Australia sees Labor slip to 12% behind the Coalition with 90 days to go. Current forecasts are for Labor to get fewer than half the seats of the Coalition.

In the United States little change this month with the Democrats and Republicans now tied on the generic congressional poll average.

In the UK the Labour leads the Conservatives by 4% and the UKIP are stable on 16%.

In Canada the Liberals continue to soar and are up 5% to 40% under the new leadership of Justin Trudeau.

The normal two tables are provided comparing the country direction sentiment and head of government approval sentiment for the five countries. Every head of government drops in the polls this month, except in New Zealand.

We also carry details of polls in New Zealand on NCEA, electricity, waka jumping, food in schools and affordable housing plus the normal business and consumer confidence polls.

This newsletter is normally only available by e-mail.  If you would like to receive future issues, please go to http://listserver.actrix.co.nz/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/polling-newsletter to subscribe yourself.

Also of interest may be the comparison between the head of government approval ratings in the five main countries. They are, from worst to best:

  1. Steven Harper, Canada -35% (29% approve to 64% disapprove)
  2. Julia Gillard, Australia -29% (31% to 59%)
  3. David Cameron, UK -26% (35% to 61%)
  4. Barack Obama, USA -1% (47% to 48%)
  5. John Key, NZ +25% (55% to 30%)

Latest poll average

May 30th, 2013 at 3:24 pm by David Farrar



I’ve updated the average of the public polls to reflect the five polls released this month.


Latest poll

May 29th, 2013 at 8:05 am by David Farrar

Fairfax released their latest Ipsos poll this morning. I’ve blogged it on Curiablog.

National is up 4% to 49% and Labour down 4% to 32%.

Tracy Watkins writes:

How long before Labour asks whether David Shearer is the solution or the problem? If the results of today’s Fairfax Media-Ipsos poll are a precursor to the next election, the news is all bad for Labour – and not just because the poll has it shedding support, though that is bad enough.

But because it reverses a trend that had Labour slowly clawing into contention. …

Mr Shearer may be morphing from Mr Invisible to something worse in voters’ eyes. Mr Negative. …

Labour MPs’ sights are not trained on Mr Shearer yet.

But there is always a tipping point. And if the trend continues, Labour MPs must be wondering what to do when they reach it.

Here’s why Shearer is probably safe. The caucus would happily replace Shearer with Robertson is the polls do not improve. He’s already in charge of all the important stuff such as the leader’s office, strategy, campaign etc. But their problem is that if Shearer goes, then the leadership goes to a full member vote – which would be a Robertson vs Cunliffe battle. Robertson would win the caucus 40%, Cunliffe the members 40%, so the unions would decide with their 20%.