Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Decidedly Undecided

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  • Marc C,

    “But Andrew and Gavin also agreed that the fact that media organisations either bury the undecided vote or don’t report it at all is a problem.”

    The polls are serving as an instrument that is like a “self fulfilling prophecy”, so to say. We get them all the times, and there is NO mention of the non voters, the uncommitted and so forth. Of course, we know, the conservatives tend to have more loyal and committed voters, many being from the older generation, and hence National is getting favours there.

    Many younger potential voters are not so party committed, may change, and are also not so open to make firm commitments in polls. So they are the big unpredictable force. There are also many more mature non committed voters, and with all these not showing in the polls, the election is wide open, and polls we get presented may mean damned little.

    I also question whether the “committed” polled voters are so sure about their commitment. We have a rather one sided media, I fear, and the reporting on events, policies and so is not thorough, is rather superficial, and at worst of times abysmally lacking, focusing on scandal, on intrigues, word games and more.

    So if we have more solid reporting, more facts and info presented, the whole picture can change swiftly. I get it that most leading media “persons” seem to favour National, simply for their own personal interests and bias, being better represented by that party and the PM, or they tend to follow the “crowd” and “trend”.

    That can be challenged and changed, and much may depend on how Labour, David Cunliffe as leader, and the rest of the opposition may shape up and communicate over the coming weeks. As soon as tomorrow we may get more from Labour, coming from their conference, as to what they will do, communicate and potentially achieve. It is still early days, and New Zealanders are generally NOT political experts and hard core followers, they can change their views rather suddenly and unpredictably, dependent on what they perceive as being favourable for them, and in the better interest medium to longer term.

    Let us wait and see, and perhaps be surprised.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to steve black,

    All of those 'alternative models' would possibly fit a LibDem-style movement that would attract 'radical centre' voters too Left for National & ACT, too Right for Labour & Greens, and too liberal/radical for Peter Dunne (a Christian Democrat in comparison) and Winston Peters (more Old Right). Didn't the Social Creditors kind of fill that niche in NZ years ago?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    ‘brand Key’ = 'trouble clef'
    Here's hoping a 2014 'lock out!'
    means no more 'Master Key'!

    Throw wide the doors of perception....

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Marc C,

    much may depend on how Labour, David Cunliffe as leader, and the rest of the opposition may shape up and communicate over the coming weeks.

    Yep

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to TracyMac,

    PAS gets the balance pretty right for texty-text. The lighter grey for other text elements is just on the right side of readability for me.

    Personally I would prefer comic sans in green on a red background for the body and a healthy 24 point italic as headers' with animated .gifs for avatars . But call me old fashioned and paranoid.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • tussock, in reply to Andrew Robertson,

    Tussock – it’s not that simple.

    What they report now is bullshit. You don't like my simple approach because it doesn't cover some contingencies, but what they report now covers almost no contingencies. Maybe 1 if a party's near 5%.

    The results for each party are non-independent, so if the number of seats for one party changes, this changes the number of seats other parties will get (irrepective of what their range is).

    Yes, but if you actually care that National (or whoever else) don't really have the range of outcomes you say they have, and think that's important, maybe you should be doing something about it already.

    They report the polls as a left vs right thing (and you should probably ask people if they want a left- or right-lead parliament to inform their reports) with some centre parties mostly ignored in the graphics.

    So it doesn't actually matter how many votes flip between Labour and Green, only between the left block and right block. Because that's all they're really reporting.

    And that's simple enough math. Because the right block is almost entirely the National Party it's variation is the same as the net variation in the left block. Can't be otherwise. Any further variation in Labour and Green is unknown between those two and a bunch of minor parties.

    When you chuck another party on National's side, the uncertainty on that side grows, and so does the uncertainty on Labour's side to match. That's really easy to display on the hop. You don't have to cancel out the movement between those graphically joined parties, even though you could try.

    Parties with a range crossing the 5% threshold would then add to this complexity and would shift entire ranges altogether. Then to add even more to the complexity, the total number of seats will shift depending on whether parties have ranges that might create an overhang. The number of seat combinations would be ridiculous, and impossible to report.

    You, sir, are making the perfect the enemy of the good. We don't need to see the exact chance of every possible parliament layout, we don't need an exact chance you've found a left-wing majority. It's just when Duncan Garner and co get on and prattle about National having 62 seats on the last poll data and they'll be governing alone on that poll that should fucking well embarrass you.

    Because it's not true. Your data doesn't show that. It never shows that. It can't. I understand they can't display everything the data might be showing, but right now they display things the data doesn't show.

    And one way to fix that is just to show that National has polled between 58 and 66 seats, and those 8 seats could actually be going to other parties by the same poll data. By candy-striping them or something.

    It's not the whole story, the error's going to be too large combining parties, etc, etc, but it's a hell of a lot more of the story than picking the number in the middle for everyone and pretending like that's true.

    So no, a little bit of maths won’t do it unfortunately.

    A little math would be better. No math would be better if when they put up their graphic of seats in parliament it just showed that some of them were uncertain.

    And that includes the uncertainty of a 121st or 122nd seat, the big change if Winston misses or gets in (because his range might be 0 or 6-8 and that drops other parties by 0 or 1-4 by size). But you'll notice the number of seats Winston gets is equal to the total seats everyone else loses and so they're the same damn seats in the graphics.


    OK, the graphics at TV3 and TVNZ aren't your problem, and I'm maybe talking to the wrong person entirely. But you'd have a hell of a lot more sway with them than I do, because I've heard them give your excuses there already on TV. You already do influence them.

    Since Nov 2006 • 611 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    the doors of perception….

    As well you know Ian, that is where Jim Morrison found the name of his band.
    Unfortunately, we lost Morrisom back when he had reached the subtle age of 27, which is 3x9 , for those of you that lack numeric skills that is called rithmatic, one of the three arghs of learning advocated by the Pirate Government, also known as National by its averistic funnders, or doner kebabs as they are known in the new Islamic State of whateveristan.
    The saddest thing is that whenever l pick up my guitar these days and knock out a twelve bar, the moment I think Blues, I see John Kuny and I end up playing deathmetalfuckoffmusic When I love to love love-songs.

    Its like.... Blues... you lose...

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Robertson, in reply to tussock,

    Okay, thanks.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Robertson, in reply to ,

    Well politicians are always concerned about public perception.

    Tell ya what though - I'm so sick to death of these continual and obvious beat-ups on David Cunliffe. Here he is speaking about something incredibly important, and bloggers and the media choose to focus on a single sentence, and to report it out of context. I guess I hoped we were more mature than that.

    I could never be a politician. I just wouldn't be tough enough for it.

    I'm no DC fan, but these beat-ups are increasing my support for him.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to ,

    statements such as the latter are […] going to become sound bites.

    This begs several questions:
    Were there any statements of Cunliffe’s actual message that could have been used as soundbites? And if not, why not?
    But if so, why did media choose to focus away from the message instead?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1942 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Andrew Robertson,

    Here he is speaking about something incredibly important, and bloggers and the media choose to focus on a single sentence, and to report it out of context. I guess I hoped we were more mature than that.

    When I wasn't actively angry, I was pretty much in despair about this yesterday.

    Internet Party candidate Miriam Pierard has written about what Cunliffe said (and what Paula Bennett did).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    Internet Party candidate Miriam Pierard

    Good speech and blog post.
    When NACT politicians speak now my mind wanders to this song

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1891 posts Report Reply

  • Henry Barnard,

    Very revealing contrast in the way TV One (and Katie Bradford) framed Cunliffe's speech and TV3 (and Amanda Gillies) on their 6 pm TV news items.

    Palmerston North • Since Aug 2013 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • Mr Mark, in reply to steve black,

    "I simply maintain that you can't exclude my models on the grounds that they don't fit the data..."

    Hence, my suggestion that pollsters ask the more specific Do you favour a Labour-led or National-led Government ? question.

    I think it's good that pollsters take a very cautious, social science-based approach that prevents them from leaping to conclusions. However, I would also argue that your alternative models border on the pedantic. I mean, anything is possible when it comes to respondents motivations. I prefer to take a common-sense approach that highlights the most likely scenario (once again, in the context of an MSM that doesn't much care for nuance or caution when it "analyses" poll results - with its usual Labour is Dog-Tucker / National is Soaring hyperbolic frenzy).

    Wellington • Since Dec 2009 • 128 posts Report Reply

  • Mr Mark, in reply to steve black,

    I'll just add the following:

    - Although it hasn't been widely publicised, Fairfax-Ipsos provide firm evidence that the Undecideds are disproportionately people who voted Labour in 2011. Thus reinforcing the likelihood that the Undecideds do, indeed, favour a change of Government.

    - When I look back at the NZES data, I see that (collectively) respondents get it pretty much bang on when they're asked to place the various political parties on a 0 - 10 Left/Right ideological spectrum. That reinforces my feeling that the vast majority of voters aren't quite as ignorant or simple-minded about national politics as some would argue. And that, in turn, tells me that poll respondents are likely to understand exactly what's implied when Fairfax-Ipsos ask them whether or not they desire a change of government.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2009 • 128 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Henry Barnard,

    Very revealing contrast in the way TV One (and Katie Bradford) framed Cunliffe’s speech and TV3 (and Amanda Gillies) on their 6 pm TV news items.

    Bradford’s report was okay until she decided the most important news was Cunliffe’s alleged “slip-up” and quoted unnamed “sources” in the Labour Party to prove her point that it would be a major talking point at the party congress this weekend. I’m calling bullshit on that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Robertson, in reply to Mr Mark,

    Hey Mr Mark/Swordfish

    I mentioned this on DimPost but I don't know if you saw it. If you ever want to catch up to talk polls and undecideds, or if you have any poll-related questions I can help answer, just flick me an email at grumpollie@gmail.com

    I've got some undecided-related analysis that I've been working on, but haven't had time to refine. I'd be interested in your thoughts on it.

    Cheers
    Andrew

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 65 posts Report Reply

  • Mr Mark, in reply to steve black,

    Finally, I'll just briefly take your alternative model # 1:
    "...that 8% of those polled answered "I favour a change of Government" AND say they will give National their party vote. That's because they want a change of the rag tag band of small parties supporting National."


    National's share of the entire sample in Fairfax-Ipsos Polls over the last two years has oscillated between 37 - 44%. So, 8% of those polled equals roughly 20% of National supporters. Seems unlikely to me that such a large minority of respondents who favoured the Party presently in power / a National-led Government - would reply Yes, I favour a Change of Government simply because they preferred National to govern alone. I'm prepared to accept that a very small minority would go down that route but nothing like a fifth. And a small minority of Nats would make no real difference to the claim that, among the Undecideds, those favouring a Labour-led Government massively outnumber those happy with the status-quo.

    Ultimately, though, it all comes back to the most likely scenario. It's impossible to be absolutely sure about anything.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2009 • 128 posts Report Reply

  • Mr Mark, in reply to Andrew Robertson,

    Cheers, Andrew.

    When I have time*, hopefully within the next couple of weeks, I'll post a brief overview (on my blog) of the debate so far, including some of the discussion here. And I'll include my response to some of the points made by you, Thomas, Steve and others. I'll also set-out some more data that hasn't yet received much attention.

    I appreciate your very calm, relaxed, magnanimous approach to things, Andrew. More light, less heat. I also greatly appreciate the fact that Colmar Brunton has provided significantly more detail on methodology than the other polling companies. In stark contrast, 3 News Reid Research give absolutely nothing away. No idea of who is and isn't excluded from the final results, no indication of the number involved...I'm also looking forward to Roy Morgan fulfilling their promise to provide detailed demographic breakdowns at some point before the Election...I wait in hope and expectation....

    *(You'll notice half my (small collection of) posts are unfinished or abandoned. I've got the motivation but not the spare time. And my natural inclination is towards more detailed in-depth analyses. That, unfortunately, requires a good deal of spare time. As does the production of nice / smooth / eloquent / powerful prose. )

    Wellington • Since Dec 2009 • 128 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to ,

    But he totally fucked it up, by alienating the very people that need to come to the table. Men who use blunt instruments and or buckets of money to solve problems.

    Nailed it.
    Posing as if you're carrying the sins of the world on your shoulders might work for the clergy, but if a politician does it, even for a moment, it always comes across as preening.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    but if a politician does it, even for a moment, it always comes across as preening.

    So when a Green Politician does it? Jan Logie would probably disagree.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Men who use blunt instruments and or buckets of money to solve problems.

    So yes, some men, some of who have empathy even.

    Because remembering that men and women are the same species, and very similar to one and other, is important when we are trying to achieve equality and resolve interpersonal conflict.

    So men should not apologise to a group of (many battered)women at a conference for battered women by men? Many of those women have waited their whole lives for an apology for not being believed or heard or helped. I'm sorry but because David Cunliffe said it (and the media chose to fudge it), I find it impossible to say he fucked up. Go back and watch the footage. He was not preening for one and he understood the feeling in that room for two. Of course Pullya Benefit and her cell phone had no idea.
    Geez, yes, it's an Election year, but empathy out the window? Why?

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to ,

    because it’s what they do.

    Not good enough then is it? How about a better look at what the Conference was about? What the Politicians were there for? How about how the Organization can get help to stop the cycle of abuse? Oh, that's right ,you said it

    lots of money will be spent on making it all go away.

    That would be helpful if there was more funding, more for counselling ,more housing of the battered, more chance to address all issues related to that.
    I think it sad that even men here find David Cunliffe's message to battered women posing or preening or fucked up or alienating. He spoke to a women's group and apologised that they were hurt.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Of course Pullya Benefit and her cell phone had no idea.
    Geez, yes, it’s an Election year, but empathy out the window? Why?

    Bennett can hardly be accused of lack of empathy - why only today she is calling for victims of Rolf Harris to come forward, and she will see that they are helped through the complaint process - meanwhile she lets the Rape Crisis Centre in Chchch close.
    Arrant madness!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    And I'm sorry "right now" for this poor woman in LA in the Herald this morning.
    Some may find this too graphic although harold doesn't think so.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

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