Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Decidedly Undecided

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  • Sacha, in reply to steve black,

    the poll of polls

    that could be another story for MediaTake to cover some time.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Lumley,

    And I was able to tell the world that Maori Television’s news and current affairs division is poised to become a player this year. It will be polling all seven Maori electorates, at least two of which (Te Tai Tokerau and Waiariki) may be critical at a national level.

    That's great! Does anyone know what plans there are to poll Epsom and wherever Colin Craig is standing?

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 49 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*, in reply to BenWilson,

    In the case of the Green Party, it would seem less correlated to undecided levels recently

    True that. But then again, the Green Party is no longer small. To put it different, the bigger a party gets, the more it needs to retain, including by reactivating previous voters.

    Small parties can gain simply by causing people to question the way they vote. Draw a circle, see where they land. If one of them lands in your circle, next thing you know, 5%. Kinda thing.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*, in reply to Russell Brown,

    As the actress said to the bishop.

    Roflnui.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Robertson, in reply to Thomas Lumley,

    Does anyone know what plans there are to poll Epsom and wherever Colin Craig is standing?

    I suspect that's a sort of 'we could tell you but...' type situation. :)

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie, in reply to Thomas Lumley,

    Living on the coattails of Epsom I'd say there's little worth polling the individual electorates (and Ōhariu) as either the candidates get in or National does but these minor parties' national party vote for whether an electorate win bring others into parliament a better spend of polling budget.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Kevin McCready,

    Ah for a NZ version of Hugh McKay, whose specialty is small, focus-group type research. Hugh is a great human being. And I think the reason the news likes to focus on currencies is that they see it as part of "the economy" which we all know doesn't exist and which Rod Oram and I have agreed is a silly term (see my blog post )

    Auckland • Since Jun 2013 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to steve black,

    what we are after is a proper representative sample

    To be completely anal, we don't want a representative sample of the population but only of the population that will actually vote on the day. It's pretty clear that a significant percentage of the population make their political opinions felt by actively not voting.

    The difficulty is that those that choose not to vote may well choose to answer the polls and may at the time of the polling say they will vote.

    When you combine the difficulty of getting a truly representative poll result with the appalling standards of reporting of polls by the media at large then I think there is a very real case for saying the polls are deceptive. Perhaps not deliberately deceptive but in practice they act to give the public a false impression of the state of political opinion in New Zealand.

    Given that, I'd argue they should be banned.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    a minor continuity cavil
    on the show, before the last break
    you say "...after the break Toi looks at Matariki"
    but he doesn't really,
    it's all about the theatre company.
    Matariki's just used as a segue pivot...
    ...bookending really...

    Which was a shame, as root vegetable
    planting aside, I wanted to know why
    giving things away was 'very Matariki'...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Thomas Lumley,

    Does anyone know what plans there are to poll Epsom and wherever Colin Craig is standing?

    I imagine Farrar will be doing them daily.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Thomas Lumley,

    telegraphing the punchline...

    wherever Colin Craig is standing...

    ... is a pole!

    </flagging a dead horse>

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    The difficulty is that those that choose not to vote may well choose to answer the polls and may at the time of the polling say they will vote.

    I guess so, but every person polled could lie about anything. It's exactly the same problem.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    To be completely anal, we don’t want a representative sample of the population but only of the population that will actually vote on the day.

    True, but there’s a complication in that different polling firms handle the likely-voter issue differently. Some push further towards saying “Okay, if you were going to vote, what would that vote be?”

    Andrew will be able to explain what Colmar Brunton’s practice is there.

    Given that, I’d argue they should be banned.

    Andrew will doubtless be suggesting that you and he retire to the carpark to sort this out like men :-)

    But he does have a point (which he expressed on the show) that polls also play a hugely valuable role in establishing what the public really thinks on controversial issues. His example is the marriage equality bill debate, which saw a huge text-in response to Campbell Live which was very much anti, while proper polls consistently showed the public in favour. We’ve seen similar situations right back to homosexual law reform, where the single scientific poll (by a VUW researcher) showed the public was way ahead of Parliament on the issue.

    Otoh … the death penalty and smacking. The polls on those are usually quite scary, although it would be interesting to see a properly-phrased poll on the latter now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    in what situation could Colin Craig be a polled answer?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1941 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Given that, I’d argue they should be banned.

    I was waiting for a kick off for this part of the debate :-)

    No way, is my response. Hell no, even. It's news because people want to know it. You have to have a lot stronger argument than "the information is low quality" to take away the right to know that information. That it might impact the outcome needs a whole lot more proof and unpacking before it would fly. You have to show that the impact is in itself something very undesirable, and that's not at all clear. Then you have to show that improving it isn't possible, which it clearly actually is.

    You can be absolutely sure that if publishing polls were banned then polls would still be taken and the information would simply benefit a smaller number of people to a much greater degree. Also, people would still want to actually know what the result was going to be, would cast around, and the only info they'd have would be inside information or gossip or propaganda. I don't think that's a big improvement, likely to create less problems.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Lumley, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But he does have a point (which he expressed on the show) that polls also play a hugely valuable role in establishing what the public really thinks on controversial issues.

    If an issue is already controversial, this is much more valuable than a petition -- it's really hard to get a few percent of the population to sign a petition, but it's much easier to sample people and ask their opinion. Binding petitions and referenda make sense in principle (if not necessarily in practice), but I think we'd be much better off replacing non-binding self-selected opinion samples by proper surveys.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2013 • 49 posts Report Reply

  • Pete George,

    What would it take to establish a system of surveying public opinion on contentious bills going through Parliament, before the third reading? It should be in far more depth than a single petition/referendum question allows for (and the referendum/petition system takes far too long).

    This could reasonably accurately inform Parliament of public opinion in a timely way so parties and MPs could use that in making their decisions on voting. It can inject the 'voice of the people' into the process and better inform our representatives.

    The public submission process serves a purpose but it is sometimes misused to erroneously represent public opinion - ie "80% of submissions opposed the bill".

    Polling experts could advise whether random polls or establishing a large focus group or rolling survey group or whatever would provide the best means of establishing public opinion before bills have been fixed in law.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2011 • 139 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to BenWilson,

    “the information is low quality”

    That wasn't what I said. I said the polls are deceptive. that is a totally different reason for banning them.

    By the way there are several countries where polls are banned for a period prior to the election date without any collapse in the society.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Robertson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    True, but there’s a complication in that different polling firms handle the likely-voter issue differently. Some push further towards saying “Okay, if you were going to vote, what would that vote be?”

    Andrew will be able to explain what Colmar Brunton’s practice is there.

    We use a leaner and we also gauge likelihood to vote. The leaner is asked if anyone says they don’t know which party they would vote for (eg. Which party would you be most likely to vote for? ). Everyone is asked who they would vote for, even if they’re unlikely to vote. However those less than ‘very’ or ‘quite’ likely to vote are filtered out at the analysis stage.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    That wasn’t what I said. I said the polls are deceptive. that is a totally different reason for banning them.

    What did you actually mean by deceptive? It's a word that carries connotations of dishonesty.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz,

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz,

    that is ridiculously clever

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Andrew Robertson,

    We use a leaner

    just like pubs
    and fancy office layouts (Russ will know what that refers to)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Andrew Robertson,

    those less than ‘very’ or ‘quite’ likely to vote are filtered out at the analysis stage

    do you mean out of all respondents or just the ones who have earned the leaner?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Robertson, in reply to Sacha,

    do you mean out of all respondents or just the ones who have earned the leaner?

    Out of all responses to the party vote question.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 65 posts Report Reply

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