Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A call from Curia

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  • Howard Edwards, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Grumpollie grumpollie.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/rob-salmonds-post-on-cell-phone-polling/ has a post about this - the relevant bit (which appears to apply to both cellphones and landlines) is this:

    For those interested, RDD (random digit sampling) works by randomly generating numbers within number banks, then connection testing them, and then re-sampling the connected numbers.

    Self-selecting samples are a problem - you can adjust estimates by measuring covariates such as age, gender, ethnicity etc and adjusting to align the sample with the population of interest, but how do you come up with estimates of variance (i.e. margin of error)?

    Albany • Since Apr 2013 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • mpledger, in reply to Howard Edwards,

    "but how do you come up with estimates of variance (i.e. margin of error)?"

    In polls they don't care about the variance. The margin of error that is quoted is a fiction where the pollster pretend they have a simple random sample, every estimate is 0.5 and the only source of error is from not sampling enough people. They also ignore the fact that the error of margin should go up when they drop people out of the analysis e.g. the don't knows.

    Thomas Lumley used a model based approach over at Stats Chat to estimate the observed sampling error.
    http://www.statschat.org.nz/2014/07/02/whats-the-actual-margin-of-error/

    Since Oct 2012 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    I was able to award half-points.

    But were you able to award negative points? Or in the case of Colin Craig perhaps imaginary numbers would have helped.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    It's not a push poll --- it would be a complete waste to do a push poll that lasted more than 30 seconds.

    The point is to produce product that can be fed to the National party campaign committee. In lots of ways polling can be compared to sigint, actually, in terms of a technocratic way to create product with a perceived authenticity.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Stephen R,

    as if some parties actually believe what they're doing is wrong.

    Yet when I've responded to questions that way "Actually, I think all of them *think* they're doing what's right"

    For me that is one of the things I find most unpleasant about some politicians because no I don't believe they are doing what they believe is right. Rather they are doing what they believe will give them the most power. One could argue they are gathering power in order to do what is right but that does not appear to be the case for some of them.

    And there is the question of whether the MPs are acting on the beliefs of the party, or again as appears to be the case for some, they act independently of the party they purport to represent.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Jon Briggs,

    Never thought about this before, but polling a few days out from the election must be bogus.

    It is banned this close to the election in a number of countries.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4458 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I don't think many countries ban internal polling, just the publication of those polls.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    If they are running their polling questions this close to election, its likely to find out how various messages have worked for various demographics.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith,

    The recent rise in right wing funded polling companies and their use of push polling concerns me.
    There appears to be a simple way for Labour or the Greens to reduce the ability for polling companies to conduct polls that the media can rely upon to further whatever agenda they are pushing. If they were to publicly instruct their voter base to ALWAYS say that they will vote for National - any subsequent poll will have a margin of error that makes it irrelevant.
    Yes, this will make it difficult for them to do their own polling of party support but that seems a small price to pay for removing Farrar's influence.

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    To reinforce what Keir said. This isn't push polling. Push polls are short and blanket everyone to do their work. They're basically untenable for cost reasons in NZ.

    Yes the questions are leading, but they're testing how well party messaging is working.

    I don't see anything nefarious in this. It does demonstrate how the Nats use their huge donations though.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Dismal Soyanz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    But were you able to award negative points? Or in the case of Colin Craig perhaps imaginary numbers would have helped.

    =SQRT(VALUE(Colin))

    Wellington • Since Nov 2010 • 310 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    It's not a push poll --- it would be a complete waste to do a push poll that lasted more than 30 seconds.

    Unless people are suspicious and you're trying to reassure them. Let's see. ~200 call staff from what I've seen of the joints, take an interactive dialogue line that goes longer for people that are hooked, do ~30 people an hour, that's over fifty thousand targeted calls today alone, on people that listened and interacted well. Use a dialler to optimise staff time.

    Could easily be a seat, party vote is everything and it's very close.

    Wikipedia:

    For instance, a push poll might ask respondents to rank candidates based on their support of an issue in order to get voters thinking about that issue.

    Targeting bloggers who might reprint the list, that catches thousands more, doesn't it. Maybe target some old-media people too, try to turn a few stories today. If you were being an amoral marketing genius, like, say, David Farrar. Got everyone here thinking about everything that the right wing parties like, at least for a while.



    Or, yeah, just trying to dig something up on a slightly bemused Russell Brown. But today? It's not over, but maybe they're working on which TV ads they'll run tonight? Maybe? If you were inclined to believe in the honestly of the current National party's "oh, just a blogger" media management crew.

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to tussock,

    If you were being an amoral marketing genius, like, say, David Farrar.

    I object to the word "genius" in that sentence.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2933 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    The law does need looking at with the growth of advance voting
    I have seen photos of Mana people in all their regalia standing outside polling places
    I am not sure if that or polls would change voters minds but as the law is so strict on polling day changes are needed

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    I got a recorded voice message from my new and unwelcome MP the rt hon PM. Unfortunately it did not give me the opportunity to leave him a message.

    Since Mar 2010 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • Gavin White, in reply to tussock,

    Two problems with that.
    1) Curia doesn't have a 200 line call facility - they're a pretty small agency.
    2) Even with 200 interviewers, there's no way in hell you could do 50,000 surveys in an evening, especially not of the length that Russell posted. That's easily a 10 minuter if not more. You need to bear in mind response rates, time 'wasted' talking to people who don't qualify or don't want to participate, incorrect numbers...

    Besides, if you were going to target bloggers and get them to publicise your questions, why would you target ones like Russell who were likely to post them on left blogs where they were likely to get shredded? I'd be more likely to screen out journos & bloggers than to have them in.

    It's not a push poll - they just won't reach enough people for it to be worthwhile and actually the questions aren't all that leading. It is, however, an astounding poll for this stage of the campaign. That, like the wrap-around blue infestation on the Herald and Stuff websites today and the copious billboards suggests that they have an unbelievable amount of money at their disposal. The financial disparities at this election really are stark, and perhaps, more than anything, they explain the left's difficulties in getting cut-through.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2014 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Amanda Wreckonwith,

    There appears to be a simple way for Labour or the Greens to reduce the ability for polling companies to conduct polls that the media can rely upon to further whatever agenda they are pushing. If they were to publicly instruct their voter base to ALWAYS say that they will vote for National – any subsequent poll will have a margin of error that makes it irrelevant.

    Would that include Labour and the Greens own internal pollsters and robo-diallers there Amanda? Far be it from me to disturb a good conspiracy theory, but one of the things I don't mind about living in one of the least competitive electorates in the country is the lack of political spam.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Gavin White,

    I'd be more likely to screen out journos & bloggers than to have them in.

    bet Farrar's thinking of that about now ...

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Gavin White,

    The financial disparities at this election really are stark, and perhaps, more than anything, they explain the left's difficulties in getting cut-through.

    Combined with mass media motivated by corporate advertising and dividends, yes. Strong, guaranteed investment in public broadcasting and firmer regulation of 'journalism' is needed.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    Could be looking ahead to coalition negotiations and potential leadership changes? Sounding out about Peters and English.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sacha,

    Strong, guaranteed investment in public broadcasting and firmer regulation of ‘journalism’ is needed.

    That's a debate for another time, but please be very careful what you wish for because those regulators aren't necessarily terribly nice enlightened people like us.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    That's a debate for another time, but please be very careful what you wish for because those regulators aren't necessarily terribly nice enlightened people like us.

    IIRC, the Leveson Inquiry in the UK recommended the formation of an independent super-regulator which could be thought of as a Press Council/BSA/OMSA with much sharper teeth. Kind of similar to the media regulatory structure in Scandinavia, where press freedom rankings are usually in the top 10.

    If there was to be a Royal Commission similar to the Leveson & Finkelstein Inquiries, it'd be interesting to see the reactions if one of the key recommendations was to effectively re-establish the old NZBC.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5430 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    +1. Never thought about this before, but polling a few days out from the election must be bogus.

    Unless it's an assessment of their campaign, which they're running before the election because the election results and what politicians do tomorrow muddy people's opinions. Next election is only three years away remember!

    David Cunliffe phoned me tonight. Lovely chap. Wouldn't let me a word in though, felt like he wasn't even listening to me! That's two contacts from labour (an activist came to the door), every other party has just put stuff in our letterbox.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    [Redacted -- posted after midnight and not sure that this isn't verboten under election rules]

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Trevor Nicholls, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Self censorship. Finest kind.

    To be legal and paraphrase the electoral commission:
    I voted a couple of days ago.
    <== there's a picture of my owl.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report Reply

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