The New Zealand Political Polling Code

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 polls.  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