Archive for March, 2009

Roy Morgan Poll Mid March 2009

Polling Company: Roy Morgan Research

Poll Method: Random Phone

Poll Size: 900 (3.3% maximum margin of error)

Dates: 02 March to 15 March 2009

Client: Self Published

Report: Roy Morgan Website

Party Support

  • National 54.5% (-1.5%)
  • Labour 29.0% (+3.0%)
  • Green 8.0% (-0.5%)
  • ACT 2.5% (+1.0%)
  • Maori 2.0% (-1.5%)
  • United Future 0.5% (nc)
  • Progressive 0.5% (+0.5%)
  • NZ First 2.0% (-0.5%)

Projected Seats

  • National 67
  • Labour 36
  • Green 10
  • ACT 3
  • Maori 5
  • United Future 1
  • Progressive 1
  • NZ First 0
  • Total 123

This is based on Maori Party winning five electorate seats and ACT, United Future and Progressive one each.

Coalition Options

  • CR – National 67 + ACT 3 + United Future 1 = 71/123 – 9 more than minimum needed to govern
  • CL – Labour 36 + Progressive 1 + Greens 10 = 47/122 -15 less than minimum needed to govern

The Maori Party is not shown as part of the centre-right or centre-left.

Country Direction

  • Right 67.5% (-1.5%)
  • Wrong 20.0% (+1.5%)
  • Can’t Say 12.5% (nc)

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Conflicting polls on S59 law?

The Green Party engaged in a shoot the messenger exercise yesterday and attacked the integrity of the poll done by Curia for Family First on the law that amended Section 59 in 2007.

I’m not planning to respond to the sillyness of the Greens “revealing” I worked in Parliament for National for eight years, as this revelation is on Kiwiblog and known to almost every political commentator in NZ.And anyway I try and keep the silly politics over on Kiwiblog. Curiablog is about polling.

In the release from the Greens, they contrasted the Curia finding of 80% opposition to the 2007 law, with a UMR poll that found only 28% opposition. Now how is this possible many people will wonder?

I thought it would be useful to use this as a case study, to look at how important the order and wording of questions is. Often comparing one poll to another is comparing apples and oranges.

I should make clear that I regard both Curia (obviously as I own and manage it) and UMR as very good professional polling firms, and that any discussion of differences is to help public understanding.

The UMR poll details are here. They did their poll of 750 responses in July 2008 and it was released by their client (Office of the Commissioner of Children) a week after the election.

The first question in the UMR poll was “Should children be entitled to the same protection from assault as adults”.

Unsurprisingly that proposition gets 89% support. It is probably useful to note at this stage that respondents will often give answers to a survey which may appear to be contradictory. For example in NZES surveys, many people say they want to go back to FPP but they like having lots of parties in Parliament.

The second UMR question was

“Are you aware that the law about physical punishment of children was changed last year”

Then UMR asked respondents to rate theri support or opposition for the law change on a 0 to 10 scale.  Only those who responded 0 to 3 were included in the 28% marked as oppossed. Those in the 4 to 6 range were marked as neutral.

Note that as far as I can tell, the law change was not described to respondents. They were simply asked firstly if they were aware of the law change around “physical punishment” and if so, then what they thought of it.

Now you may have people who supported the law change as an improvement on the status quo, but also wanted an examption for light smacking to be maintained. There is a difference between generally asking support for an undescribed law and a specific provision of the law.

Interesting UMR also went on to ask if people agreed:

There are certain circumstances when it is alright for parents to use physical punishment with children

And UMR found 58% of respondents agreed with this statement and only 20% disagreed.

When you look at that finding, then it is worth looking at the Curia poll. The first question was:

In 2007, Parliament passed a law that removes a defence of reasonable force for parents who smack a child to correct their behaviour, but states the Police have discretion not to prosecute if they consider the offence was inconsequential. What is your view of this law?

And 25% said they strongly or somewhat agreed with the law and 65% said they strongly or somewhat disagreed with it. Now when you look at the UMR poll which says 58% said it is okay to physically punish your children sometimes and 20% said it was never okay – well the two polls can actually be seen to be quite close to each other.

There is rarely a definitely right or definitely wrong when it comes to framing questions. It depends on what you are trying to find out. The Curia poll was inquiring very specifically about whether light correctional smacking should be legal. The UMR poll for the Children’s Commissioner was inquiring more generally into attitudes around child disclipline.

Incidentially there will be a referendum in July on the issue of whether light correctional smacking should be legal. It will be interesting to observe the outcome.

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Curia poll on Child Discipline Law

Family First have released details of a poll done by Curia in March 2009 on the 2007 law change to s59 of the Crimes Act that removed the defence of reasonable force for correctional purposes. Key findings:

  • 83% said the law should be changed so it is not a criminal offence to lightly smack your child for correctional purposes
  • 77% say the law will not reduce the rate of child abuse
  • Only 31% understood that the law did not criminalise all smacking

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Rasmussen on Obama’s poll numbers

Scott Rasmussen (the most accurate pollster in the 2008 election) comments in the Wall Street Journal on Obama’s poll numbers:

Overall, Rasmussen Reports shows a 56%-43% approval, with a third strongly disapproving of the president’s performance. This is a substantial degree of polarization so early in the administration. Mr. Obama has lost virtually all of his Republican support and a good part of his Independent support, and the trend is decidedly negative.

A detailed examination of presidential popularity after 50 days on the job similarly demonstrates a substantial drop in presidential approval relative to other elected presidents in the 20th and 21st centuries. The reason for this decline most likely has to do with doubts about the administration’s policies and their impact on peoples’ lives.

And specifically on the stimulus:

Recent Gallup data echo these concerns. That polling shows that there are deep-seated, underlying economic concerns. Eighty-three percent say they are worried that the steps Mr. Obama is taking to fix the economy may not work and the economy will get worse. Eighty-two percent say they are worried about the amount of money being added to the deficit. Seventy-eight percent are worried about inflation growing, and 69% say they are worried about the increasing role of the government in the U.S. economy.

When Gallup asked whether we should be spending more or less in the economic stimulus, by close to 3-to-1 margin voters said it is better to have spent less than to have spent more. When asked whether we are adding too much to the deficit or spending too little to improve the economy, by close to a 3-to-2 margin voters said that we are adding too much to the deficit.

Support for the stimulus package is dropping from narrow majority support to below that. There is no sense that the stimulus package itself will work quickly, and according to a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, close to 60% said it would make only a marginal difference in the next two to four years. Rasmussen data shows that people now actually oppose Mr. Obama’s budget, 46% to 41%. Three-quarters take this position because it will lead to too much spending. And by 2-to-1, voters reject House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s call for a second stimulus package.

Rasmussen is one of the most respected independent pollsters. However he is relatively isolated with his commentary on Obama, and not many of his peers agree. It will be interesting to see where the polls go on Obama over the new few months.

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Roy Morgan Poll late February 2009

Polling Company: Roy Morgan Research

Poll Method: Random Phone

Poll Size: 908 (3.3% maximum margin of error)

Dates: 16 February to 1 March 2009

Client: Self Published

Report: Roy Morgan Website

Party Support

  • National 56.0% (+7.5%)
  • Labour 26.0% (-6.0%)
  • Green 8.5% (nc)
  • ACT 1.5% (-1.0%)
  • Maori 3.5% (nc)
  • United Future 0.5% (-0.5%)
  • Progressive 0.0% (-1.0%)
  • NZ First 2.5% (+1.0%)

Projected Seats

  • National 70
  • Labour 32
  • Green 11
  • ACT 2
  • Maori 5
  • United Future 1
  • Progressive 1
  • NZ First 0
  • Total 122

This is based on Maori Party winning five electorate seats and ACT, United Future and Progressive one each.

Coalition Options

  • CR – National 70 + ACT 2 + United Future 1 = 73/122 – 10 more than minimum needed to govern
  • CL – Labour 32 + Progressive 1 + Greens 11 = 44/122 -18 less than minimum needed to govern

The Maori Party is not shown as part of the centre-right or centre-left.

Country Direction

  • Right 69.0% (+5.5%)
  • Wrong 18.5% (-2.0%)
  • Can’t Say 12.5% (-3.5%)

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Roy Morgan Poll mid February 2009

Polling Company: Roy Morgan Research

Poll Method: Random Phone

Poll Size: 938 (3.3% maximum margin of error)

Dates: 2 January to 15 February 2009

Client: Self Published

Report: Roy Morgan Website

Party Support

  • National 48.5% (+0.5%)
  • Labour 32.0% (+1.0%)
  • Green 8.5% (-0.5%)
  • ACT 2.5% (-1.0%)
  • Maori 3.5% (nc)
  • United Future 0.5% (-0.5%)
  • Progressive 1.0% (+0.5%)
  • NZ First 2.5% (+1.05%)

Projected Seats

  • National 60
  • Labour 40
  • Green 11
  • ACT 3
  • Maori 5
  • United Future 1
  • Progressive 1
  • NZ First 0
  • Total 121

This is based on Maori Party winning five electorate seats and ACT, United Future and Progressive one each.

Coalition Options

  • National 60 + ACT 3 = 63/121 – majority possible
  • Labour 40 + Progressive 1 + Greens 11 + Maori 5 = 57/121 = majority not possible

The easiest option for both National and Labour to get a majority of at least 62 is shown. The Maori Party is the only party assumed to be able to go with National or Labour.

Country Direction

  • Right 63.5% (-1.5%)
  • Wrong 20.5% (+0.5%)
  • Can’t Say 16.0% (+1.0%)

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TV3 Poll February 2009

Polling Company: TNS (under a new name)

Poll Method: Random Phone

Poll Size: 1,000 (3.2% maximum margin of error)

Dates: Published 18 Feb, so probably from 10 to 15 Feb 2009

Client: TV3

Report: None online

Party Support

  • National 60.0% (+14.0%)
  • Labour 27.0% (-6.1%)
  • Green 7.0% (-2.0%)
  • ACT 1.2% (-1.6%)
  • Maori 2.1% (-0.6%)
  • United Future 0.2% (nc)
  • Progressive 0.0% (-0.3%)
  • NZ First 1.5% (-1.9%)

Projected Seats

  • National 74
  • Labour 33
  • Green 9
  • ACT 1
  • Maori 5
  • United Future 1
  • Progressive 1
  • NZ First 0
  • Total 124

This is based on Maori Party winning five electorate seats and ACT, United Future and Progressive one each.

Coalition Options

  • National 74 = 74/124 – majority possible
  • Labour 33 + Progressive 1 + Greens 9 + Maori 5  = 48/124 = majority not possible

The easiest option for both National and Labour to get a majority of at least 62 is shown. It is assumed ACT and United Future would only go with National, and Greens, Progressive and NZ First only go with Labour, with Maori Party able to go either way.

Preferred PM

  • Key 52.0% (+15.4%)
  • Clark 13.8% (-20.4%)
  • Goff 3.7% (+3.7%)

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