Friday 29 July 2011

Things I learned this afternoon

Fairfax has an awesome infographic on its latest poll results. David Farrar reports Keith Ng's the guy behind it; it's hellacool.

It is impossible to come away from the detailed breakdowns with anything other than thorough admiration for the juggernaut that John Key has built. iPredict's saying 90% likely that he forms the next government; I can't think of anything that's a more sure bet on iPredict; I'm very long and have been for rather a while (1400 shares long National bought at average of $0.76; 1200 short Labour at average of $0.22 but hedged by a few hundred on the Labour Justice Minister contracts that span the Labour space but were much cheaper than buying Labour).

Things that surprised me:
  • National Party support is stronger in Auckland (60%) than on the Mainland (55%). The rural/urban split still kinda holds, but National still has 55% of the urban vote to 62% of the rural.
  • There is NO gender split on support for National. 56% of men and 56% of women support National on the Party Vote. ACT is a sausage-fest (3.6% to 0.7%), but that's not a big surprise. A bigger surprise is that the gender split on the Greens is so small: 6.2% of men and 6.5% of women support the Greens. There is a big skew towards Labour among women, which mostly comes at the expense of ACT, Maori, and NZ First.
  • Green voters are the ones saying they're most likely to move overseas: 3.6% say they'll definitely move overseas for the long term. Sure, NZ isn't as green as the Greens would like. But where is better?!
  • Among those who voted National in '08, 82% say they'd pick John Key as most preferred PM; "don't know" is next on 14. Among those who voted Labour in '08, only 19% say Phil Goff is their preferred PM and 21% say Key. Read that again. More people who voted Labour in '08 prefer John Key as PM than prefer the current Labour Party Leader. 43% of Labour's '08 vote say they don't know who they want as PM. Of those intending to vote Labour this time around, 20% say Goff is the best PM, 46% don't know, and 16% say Key is best.  If this isn't enough to get Labour to knife Goff, I don't know what is. iPredict says only a 10% chance of that happening; I'm going long.

Things that didn't surprise me:
  • National polls best among the 35-59 set: 60% support among that group. But they still have 49% of those under 35 and 55% of those over 60.
  • ACT polls best among those over 60, with 2.9% support there to the 2% in the younger cohorts. Not particularly surprising as ACT has been pushing policies that resonate with social conservatives, alack alas. 6.6% of the oldies like NZ First but nobody under 35 does.
  • Few that voted National in '08 plan to flip to Labour - 4.5%. But 11% of those who voted Labour last time around plan to vote National. Labour is keeping only 79% of those it had in '08; National's keeping 92%. Even the Greens are only keeping 62% - 11% of former Greens are flipping National.
The only interesting question is whether National will govern alone or need a coalition. If it goes coalition, 32% of those saying they'd vote National this time prefer ACT as partner; don't know is next on 25%, then the Greens on  19%. More National supporters prefer a Blue-Green government than prefer a National-United Future government (1.8%) or a National-Maori government (13%).

If there were a button for a National-Green coalition government where Greens got responsibility for copyright and for marijuana law reform, I'd be pushing it. As only 13% of Green supporters prefer coalition with National, they'd then spend three years rending themselves asunder over their supporting National. And, we'd get decent copyright policy as well as a voice for civil liberties.


  1. But by the end of the term, there'd be no voice for civil liberties left due to the aforementioned rending...

  2. I'm still not entirely sure why Key is so popular; his government haven't made universally popular decisions, and they have overseen a period of not insignificant hardship for low & middle income NZ. But all it appears to take is a smile and a wave from Key and the sheeple seem to think everything is going to be ok in the morning. I guess it is more a testament to how insipid Goff seems to be, and how little real perceived difference there is between Labour and National. And the only real point of difference (CGT vs ssset sales) hasn't seen Labour gain any traction at all. I'm a little surprised Labour didn't try harder to whip up a sense of public nationalistic fervour against asset sales. Maybe that doesn't exist, but I suspect had they been more effective in their marketing they may have gained a few points in the polls on this one.

    For the first time ever I am seriously considering not casting a vote; I'm feeling pretty disenfranchised by the soap opera that is current NZ politics.

  3. Maybe the Greens (if any) wouldn't leave to find somewhere greener. They'd leave to find somewhere where the Greens were more powerful. Like Germany, Holland or Australia.

  4. EC: "Things that surprised me:...More people who voted Labour in '08 prefer John Key as PM than prefer the current Labour Party Leader."

    This doesn't surprise me. As long as I have been following political opinion polls, the current PM has had far and away the highest number for preferred PM, while the leader of the opposition languished. The magnitudes may be a bit more extreme this time, as befits a caretaker leader of a party that is in its first term of opposition after 3 terms in power, but I suspect that that fact alone would have predicted this poll result.

  5. @Seamus: Key is only behind Goff by four points among those indicating that they want to vote Labour this time around. Labour needs substantial changes in its lineup....

  6. A couple of comments:

    -- Auckland is now over 20% Asian; Chinese NZers have tended to support the Nats for some time now, so their increasing demographic strength is changing Auckland politics.

    -- the lack of a gender gap in National support is actually surprising.

    -- the relatively high proportion of Greens supporters saying they plan to leave is actually an artifact of the youth bias of the Greens, since they are so heavily reliant on the under-35 vote, who are also the most likely (by far) to emigrate. If you actually polled the under-35s as a whole, I think you'd find Greens supporters less likely to want to emigrate permanently than supporters of other parties. My guess is that under-35 ACT supporters (who tend to be ambitious and in the corporate or finance space) are more likely to want to emigrate.

  7. @Kiwi: Agreed on Greens and demographics. But the stylized facts as I understood them were that young folks in general planned to leave and to come back. The stat I'd given was for long term emigration.