Hosking on the polls

writes in NBR:

National’s support jumped 10% in the Roy Morgan poll, which closed in the final week of the school holidays, and there was a small explosion among political junkies over the weekend as a result.

It is wise to be dubious about any political poll which jumps 10% in any direction in the space of one month.

And, of course, the Roy Morgan poll, when it comes to volatility, makes the New Zealand exchange rate look about as stable as a steam roller.


The jump puts National at 53% support – and that is what has caused a lot of fizzing from activists.

The presumption had been that if there would be any movement, it would be against the government, mostly due to rising concerns, and certainly a lot of publicity,  about house prices and home affordability. …

But what it does show is that despite what has been a pretty embattled couple of months for the government, its support is holding up.

Disquiet ≠ vote change
Anecdotally, there is a lot of disquiet with the government even – or over some issues, especially – among the National Party’s support base.

But that disquiet is not translating into a shift in votes. Most people are capable of holding more than one idea in their heads at the same time, even if all too many political activists do not give people credit for being able to do this.

Absolutely. There are many areas I disagree with the Government and think they could and should do better. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to shift my vote.

The most important thing pointing to any change in the political mood tends to be not so much questions about individual political parties but a broad question about whether the country is heading in the right or wrong direction.

This is up slightly from 54% to 57% saying the country is heading in the right direction. While not reaching the regular 62-67% heights of either 2009 – 10 or 2014, the numbers opting for “right direction” have, since the 2014 general election, been running on average above what they were in three years from the end of 2010 to the end of 2013.

Rob Hosking is correct that the right vs wrong direction indicator is crucial.

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