Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Meet the middle

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  • Rob Salmond, in reply to Sacha,

    That might explain the FPP flavour then.

    That's a really interesting point. I'd say NZ at a coalition level is in a basically FPP environment. You've got, with one exception which I'll get to, two clear teams (Nats+hangers on vs Lab+Greens), one big district, and a plurality rule within that district. The coalition with the most votes wins. Which means the classic median voter theorem applies pretty well at a coalition level.

    The exception, of course, is NZF. If you think NZF is unambiguously against the current government, then it all becomes neat again. But then we all thought that in 1996. So if you're world-weary regarding NZF you're got a funny decision rule where:

    Coalition + NZF > 50 = possible win
    Coalition (without NZF) > 50 = certain win

    I don't think this wrinkle changes the basic game of "doing well among in-betweeners," though. Moves away from the centre don't make a "certain win" any more likely, and while they can make a "possible win" more likely, that has to come at the cost of a larger NZF vote and influence, and the chance they go the other way.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Danyl Mclauchlan,

    You notice how disaffected National factions DIDN'T do that with Don Brash?

    No although they did leak his emails.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Salmond, in reply to BenWilson,

    …then you have to conclude that actually a lot more people are right wing than left wing…right off the bat. Because that’s what they said they were.

    Not quite, because that same sample rate Labour closer to the ideological median than National. Labour average rating is 3.46, National is 7.22. Same pattern holds for people who self-identify as a 5.

    In any case, as I mentioned before, I expect the patterns of media use, political views, etc will be pretty much the same for "ideology=5" and "ideology between Labour and National," meaning we're really talking about a distinction without a difference.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I recall one poll while Labour in government which had a surprisingly high number of self-professed Green voters taking a pretty harsh stance on beneficiaries – more than Labour voters, from memory.

    I think it was this one from near the end of National's first term.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Rob Salmond,

    While centrists often do not have strongly held ideological views, they do have beliefs and values. They don’t wake up each morning waiting for ideologues to fill their empty heads with things to think.

    But aren’t you an idealogue here to fill empty heads with things to think? Who’s watching the news these days? Are beliefs and values immutable? Aren’t Duncan Garner, Mike Hosking et al in part employed for their persuasiveness? Do their opinions inform peoples’ values and beliefs? Do their opinions inform peoples’ thinking? Wasn’t Labour’s 2014 shellacking in part attributable to its failure to harness a runaway media that was encouraging people to think along certain lines? Did Labour capture thought streams in order to redirect them to a less hostile narrative? How was the framing effect capitalised on by the victors?

    Two campaigning advocates of centrism, one who is on the pulse and therefore attuned to just how open the middle’s minds are and the attractiveness of persuasive rhetoric, the other who attempts to minimise the open mindedness of the middle and to campaign along the lines of the road already traveled by others .

    Labour needs proper social democratic policy in order to stay Labour. Instead it’s about – for want of a better word – “narrative.” And issue emphasis.

    Labour needs a salesperson.

    if Labour had convinced the population that the most important problem facing New Zealand was lack of public investment, the left could have won.

    If Labour had convinced the general population of anything they might have come close. Largely irrelevant speculation. Capture imagination - possibly requires some.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Rob Salmond,

    I don’t think this wrinkle changes the basic game of “doing well among in-betweeners,” though. Moves away from the centre don’t make a “certain win” any more likely, and while they can make a “possible win” more likely, that has to come at the cost of a larger NZF vote and influence, and the chance they go the other way.

    Since I lack the concentration to understand that equation. Could you tell me if this has anything to do with the Chinese names game?

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4414 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    It seems odd that there isn't a swingeing centrist party at one third of the actual vote. Not your bigot party like NZ first or quasi Christian conservatives but a Party with no policy, no ideology just sharp clothes and $100 haircuts.
    A guaranteed coalition partner with any party and a refuge for expired celebrities and knackered sports stars. The stuffing in the turkey.

    Since Mar 2010 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Salmond, in reply to william blake,

    It seems odd that there isn’t a swingeing centrist party at one third of the actual vote.

    See "Median Voter Theorem" for the reasons why.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rob Salmond,

    Not quite, because that same sample rate Labour closer to the ideological median than National. Labour average rating is 3.46, National is 7.22. Same pattern holds for people who self-identify as a 5.

    OK, but the median is 5, because this is an integer value and that's by far the biggest group...the mean is 5.44. If you're using means for the others, you should compare to a mean. And National is closer to that than Labour.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rob Salmond,

    the chance they go the other way

    yep, there's the unpredictable factor.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I'm not sure how

    learning more about every voter before we make contact

    is going to play out in NZ.

    The US is both legally and culturally a less private environment than NZ. There's no effective data protection law, for instance, and a the primary system means a large number of voters are registered supporters of a party.

    In NZ, all a party has to go on to start with is name, address and age from the electoral roll - I'm not sure what can be learnt from that. All other data is limited by privacy legislation which requires the person to have given consent - do the terms of use of Airpoints or Baycorp data extend to allowing political parties to buy and use that data?

    And I'm not convinced that cold calling people with a file on them in front of your rep is going to go down well. You might be better pretending to be the other lot whilst doing that.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Can you overlay those party positions as points on your histogram, if you get time?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    Aside from the "median voter theory." This may be why there isn't a centre party

    http://news.stanford.edu/news/2015/may/political-centrist-voters-051515.html

    Since Mar 2010 • 380 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Malcolm,

    Why pitch your votes to the status quo. Surely good leaders have a vision and go about persuading voters to that cause. I know that whatever logic you use it will never get through to many people but surely there are enough thinking intelligent people around for whom a good message will work.
    Peter Malcolm Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc "Closing the Gap"

    Tauranga • Since Mar 2015 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    It's not some immutable law of nature that the centre is "rightish" and we need to obfuscate leftist policies in order to get the centrists to swallow them. The centre could just as easily be leftish if we didn't have a) a high proportion of third way numpties in Labour and b) a well-oiled Nats-friendly propaganda machine in high gear.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    Attachment

    Your wish is my command :-)

    The colored lines are the mean positions that the sample put the parties at. I also put on the mean of the self reported positioning - it has the solid black line.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    I guess the only real turn up in that graph is that the sample rated ACT and National as about as right wing as each other. It's a little hard to see, because I used yellow for ACT, but it's also nearly overlaid by National's line.

    Arse, I notice the x scale got fucked up...will redo

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to BenWilson,

    It’s pretty odd to see the Maori party visualised that far right of Labour given respective positions on recent real world issues such as the Foreign fighters bill.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Attachment

    Fixed. Now we have 11 bars...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    This is silly. Why be so utterly preoccupied with this left/right malarky when it has no relevance whatsoever for most people. I'd even argue it's of no relevance to most people in this discussion.

    Folks votes is driven by tons of stuff: sex appeal, parties' stated intentions, how their parents voted and - lest we forget - what's in it for them: how much break they get promised. "Policy" is boring. "Intentions" are better, especially when they look like tax breaks.

    If a party clusters its policies in a certain way, all that really tells you is that it's ideologically consistent. But ideological consistency is probably the least influential vote driver. So, when National legalises gay marriage, it's inconsistent but agile. When Labour flogs off state assets, it's inconsistent but treacherous.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Why doesn't the italic code ever work for me?

    Anyway, Rob, on the thing about

    Lab+Greens

    If Green is to the left of Labour, and swingers have to be centrists, how come National voters can defect to Green without going through Labour?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to BenWilson,

    Attachment Attachment

    If you’re using means for the others, you should compare to a mean.

    That said, if you compare medians instead, the median self reporting is 5, but for Labour it’s 3 and National it’s 8. So the median opinion on Labour’s position is that it’s closer to the self-reported median than National. And National is more skewed on this measure. Labour’s mean is higher than it’s median by 0.46. National’s mean is lower than its median by 0.78.

    Ironically, in statistics terminology this means that the Labour data is right skewed and the National data is left skewed. Well, probably. Looking at these two graphs it looks like it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to James Littlewood*,

    Why doesn't the italic code ever work for me?

    use two underlines on each end, not one

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Argh! Travelling for work so I can't argue through the medium of graphs (thanks for the plots Ben).

    But I do want to take issue with the opening statement around 1/3 left 1/3 right and the middle deciding the election. That is absolutely only the case if the voting population, which is not the same as the electoral roll population, vote in similar proportions to the electoral roll population. In a time of 76% turnout, heavily biased by age, it is fundamentally the people that vote that decide the election, and the winning block margin is something like 38.1% of the total roll voters.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Thank you. Yes, the ACT/Nat matchup is interesting. If voters can see that, it makes me ponder their support for some govt initiatives.

    And I see Maori Party, NZ First, and United Future inhabit the 'space' between Lab and Nat.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

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