Over-interpreting a sarky tweet

I was equally bemused and amused to get a call from a radio journalist saying they’ve heard I’ve called the election for Labour. This was news to me, to put it mildly. It seems someone has got excited over this tweet I made on Friday night:

This was me doing a sarcastic pisstake of if you were a Labour supporter who had their hopes on Jacinda winning. Any journalist who thinks that this is me conceding the election, needs a humour transplant, or worse.

In both my Patreon and here I provide detailed analysis of how I see things. Here’s my current take.

  • Of course Labour is in a strong position. They are ahead in the public polls, are a first term Government and have benefited from the normal patriotism over politics instinctive response to a disaster.
  • NZ First are in huge trouble and are highly unlikely to make it
  • The Greens are running a significant risk of not making it also. In this Patreon post I analyse their latest ONCB result and say that their true level of support is probably between 3.3% and 7.1%. so they have a non-trivial risk of not making 5%.
  • ACT are doing well and could well be the third largest party in Parliament

So while Labour is in a strong position, there is a credible path to victory for National. It is:

  • NZ First and Greens don’t make it
  • There is a 4% swing from Labour to National or ACT in the last two weeks. The last two ONCB polls have had only 6% or 7% between Labour and National/ACT.

Now again it is a challenging task, but far from unachievable. Let’s look at how polls have moved in the past in the last two weeks of a campaign:

  • 1996: Govt dropped 6% from 40% to 34% in last two weeks
  • 2002: Govt dropped 5% from 46% to 41% in last two weeks
  • 2011: Govt dropped 6% from 53% to 47% in last two weeks

Under MMP elections are pretty much always tight. Even in 2008, 2011 and 2014 National never won Government by more than a couple of seats. Anyone who thinks the election is decided doesn’t understand MMP. And anyone who takes a sarky tweet as newsworthy should take a chill pill.

UPDATE: Newshub has gone from reporting news to inventing it, having broadcast a story tonight, totally misrepresenting this tweet. They didn’t even attempt to talk to me about it, unlike Radio NZ who did the courtesy of calling me.

This makes it timely to refer to Karl du Fresne’s post from Thursday on what has been an offensive by Newshub against National. We also saw this in the interviewing the party leaders after the debate. The body language and questions to the two leaders was starkly different.

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