Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Anothe Nail But Why Be Coy?

This morning's Herald-Digipoll drives another nail into Helen Clark's political coffin with National's lead ballooning out to 15%; John Key regaining the lead as PPM and pulling more of the female vote; and the Greens hanging on by the skin of their teeth. (An anti smacking referendum just before the election will finally see them off.)

What is so frustrating is that nowhere can I find the actual figures from the poll. I'd like to know how ACT and the Maori Party are polling. Further, I'd like to see ALL the figures with last month's figures alongside.

We are told that 'undecideds' are polling at 6%. Where were they last month? Are they swinging to National or Labour? (By my calcs, if 65% of the undecideds go National in the polling booth, then National's margin over Labour would increase by 1.8 percentage points.)

It looks as though we may be heading for a decisive FFP result.

John Armstrong reckons this poll has just about killed off any chance Cullen has to get some releif from his upcoming budget.

".........Budget Day is the one day Labour will have voters' undivided attention. If the polls don't budge, then what? The load on Cullen's shoulders just got heavier."

31 comments:

Psycho Milt said...

The poll if nothing else makes a mockery of all the frothing at the mouth on right-wing blogs over how Labour has brought the country to its knees. Tax cuts are the most important issue for voters? If that isn't an indicator of a voting population with nothing much in the way of real issues to consider, I don't know what would be.

In previous elections the big issues have been unemployment, health, the state of the economy - you know, actual political issues. And yet, for this election, after 9 years of a Labour govt, the biggest issue people can offer the pollsters is who's going to offer them the most cash. Either we've all suddenly become very shallow since the 90s, or the govt's done a great job of tackling the real issues - which is it, I wonder?

Anonymous said...

Did you see Armstrong's comment:

"Hulun doesn't believe in circuit breakers..."

Yeh right.

What was Student Loans all about in 2005?

reid

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Milt, you've been reading all the wrong books. Three years ago people weren't afraid. Today they are. Very afraid of losing their jobs, their homes and their ability to buy groceries.

danyl said...

That's some pretty weak spin there Milt - I'd argue that people are less interested in health care and macroeconomic policy because they simply can't afford to buy food or pay the mortgage, and tax cuts are clearly the most direct way to put cash back in peoples pockets.

KG said...

"Either we've all suddenly become very shallow since the 90s, or the govt's done a great job of tackling the real issues.."
Neither.
So worrying about being able to afford mortgage repayments, food and the cost of simply getting to work is "shallow" eh..interesting take on Kiwi's intelligence there.
That'd be in contrast to profoundly important issues such as parents smacking their kids and junk food ads on TV, which are a couple of "real issues?

Inventory2 said...

Armstrong's take, while correct, is unoriginal. The Dom-Post took the same line on Saturday. But they are both right - a majority of the electorate is so determined to see a change of government that nothing that Labour says, does or promises is going to make a blind bit of difference.

Anonymous said...

Very afraid of losing their jobs, their homes and their ability to buy groceries.

Still don't get it, do you?
People aren't "afraid" of losing jobs, homes & groceries they already are losing them


How many people personally do you know who have been fired this year? How many between 1 Jan 2005 and the election? See?

(and for those in Wellington: how many large government departments have started serious restructuring now, as CEOs try in vain to keep their jobs under the National/ACT government?)

Psycho Milt said...

Adolf and Danyl: it's certainly true my assessment is likely to be coloured by the fact I no longer need to look at what I'm spending on groceries etc.

My memory is of the 1981, 1984, 1990 and 1993 elections involving a lot more fear from people in genuine hardship than this year. I'm not sure how much that memory is influenced by the fact that I had no money in the 80s but am well off now. However, I suspect that the difference actually has a lot to do with people having way higher expectations these days. Call me a grumpy old man with "when I were a lad" syndrome, but the current "can't afford" looks to me more like "unable to maintain the lifestyle I'd prefer."

Psycho Milt said...

And here's Anonymous Bold Enthusiast to highlight that for me. He's obviously either very young or has a very short memory - suffice to say, some of us recall genuine economic difficulties mate, and the number of people who've been fired this year would have constituted the most amazing good times back when I was 20.

Anonymous said...

"In previous elections the big issues have been unemployment, health, the state of the economy - you know, actual political issues."

When food on the table has become such a concern everything else is trivial.

Inventory2 said...

Five polls in roughly two weeks, all with a similar message to the government. I've summarised them here:

http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2008/04/five-polls-cant-be-wrong.html

FAIRFACTS MEDIA said...

The full poll is in the photos link below the poll story on the herald front page.

View Photos


I think there are many resons for Liarbours latest polling.
1-People are suffering from the higher prices. They see that recent prosperity was but a mere mirage that happened despite Liarbour, rather than because of it. Now times are tough globally, we see Liarbour has done next to nothing to improve our long term economic performance and has indeed weakened it.
2- People increasingly see failings in the public sector despite the billions thrown at them. The industrial strike and the waiting lists in the health sector being anotable example.
3- The Chinese Free Trade Agreement did not strike a chord with the masses. Many reman fearful of China, they see it a a bully over Tibet. Recent evnts like violent pro-Chinese dmonstrators in Auckland, or the Chinese buying up our strategic assets, which reveals government hypocracy, won't help either.
4- And yes, there is the government's social agenda with the smacking bill still hitting the government as it were.
5- The Electoral Finance Bill is not an issue a people perhaps oncentrte more on bread and butter issues like tax, the economy, living standards, the state of public services.
But it remains there in the background ready to remind people of government corruption when a fresh issue over it materialises.

pdm said...

The thing I continue to struggle with is that Labour continues to have support in the mid to high
30's. How?

I appreciate that Winston First in particular are being cleaned out and party's like ACT and United Future are not making ground but where is Labours support coming from?

The Labour figure seems to vary as the Greens vary so I guess that is part of it - is the rest from the beneficiaries receiving WFF?

I have two daughters both aged in their mid 30's with 3 and 4 children who say they will vote Labour because `ehy give them money' so there must be many more of their ilk.

WAKE UP said...

Oh it's fear alright - but perhaps not as specific (job losses etc) as some of you have been saying, it's much more general (and not about the government's competence either).

The country has woken up, in the nick of time, to the fact that not only does this perverted, effete government not represent who we really are, it has become increasingly clear that it never had any intention of fulfilling its primary duty, which is TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE (in fact, it's doubtful that this government even understands that principle).

Psycho Milt said...

Wake up: I don't recall any govt of the last 30 years that's represented who I really am, so the fact the current one doesn't isn't much of an issue.

pdm: the inability to understand how others can possibly hold a different opinion is fairly common, so you're not alone. Labour's core support is among people who'll stand to get shafted worse by a National govt - what's difficult to understand about that? For my part, I'm surprised there's currently such a high number of deluded working-class voters who'll vote for National against their own interests.

FFM: if you think the recent prosperity was a mere mirage, I can only assume you weren't in-country under previous govts. And what we're actually seeing is that the current govt has done far more to ensure our ability to get through the coming storm than the govts of, for instance, the US and UK.

FAIRFACTS MEDIA said...

PM, I first came to New Zealand in 1995-96 on a working holiday visa.
There was an optimistic feeling that things were moving and I was actually better off than I was in the UK.
I lived in Hamilton and felt New Zealand was actually richer than England.
When I returned to New Zealand in 1998 and gained residency, I arrived as Auckland had its power crisis. The optimism and feeling of boom had gone.
Over the years, as I have tended to visit the UK every two years, I have noted the UK inching ahead by say 2-3% a year, whereas New Zealand has pretty much stayed flat. So by 1998 the UK had overtaken NZ and got increasingly richer afterwards.
However, on my last two UK trips over the past two years, UK living standards hve barely changed. Indeed, they are sufferng too at the moment. And everyone there also complains of high taxes and the high cost of living. No doubt its own Labour government is to blame.
I have seen some country towns and resort smarten up the act and look more prosperous, while Hamilton, for example, is booming.
But in the wallet I have seen little change for myself and people I know.
And from my regular trips to Australia, I see the wealth gap is becoming a big gulf.
Culle initially handed the country' finances wisly for the first few years and I did not bleat about him so much. Then the government frittered some of the surplus on their pet schemes while hoarding the remainder.
When some relief for those who have earned the surplus would have been a welcome reward, we got nothing and felt very short changed.
As an IT jounalist, I recll talkof knowledge waves and economic transformation. But br a few talkfests nothing happened. No big businesss moved in.
Labour has beenlucky for the golden economic weather it enjoyd, and it could hae sqandered things too and screwed it up.
But other than leaving a few billion in the bank, which will help as we face a very long rainy day, Liarbour has done noting towards hlping the long term prosperity of thecountry.
We have not moved up the economic league tales as Clark promised we would. In fact we might well slip further down.
And this is what people are waking up to.
Yes, current troubles are cused largely by global external factors outside thecontr of our government, but Labour's nine years of office have given the people little or nothing to counter the effects of current conditions.
Indeed, I would argue that the government engineered increasing of the top rate of tax helped fuel a landlords market for tax purposes, helping fuel a housing oom, whih helped uel a consumer boom.
This has let many people with high mortgages and debt, as well as pricing many like myself out of the housing market.
Thus, we don't feel any better off and thos with debts and mortgages to pay will feel ar worse.
And this is why Labour is hurting in the polls too.

Anonymous said...

lot more fear from people in genuine hardship than this year.

So, I take it you don't know any "workers" - like people at F&P - or the ANZ - and even, ironically, you don't know any "core" civil servants in Wellington!


(either that, or the ones you do know are, well, state-educated :-)

some of us recall genuine economic difficulties mate,

I remember when the state hosiptails couldn't provide safe services to children with cancer.

I remember when the price of petrol went through the roof, and people couldn't afford to drive.

I remember when I couldn't afford to buy cheese or chicken or lamb, and the only protein I could afford was sausagemeat.

I remember when mortagee sales were on in every street, and when hundreds of thousands of hard-working Kiwis had negative equity in their homes.

And the thing I remember the most about the 1984 election was how much hope, how much happier, how much more "normal" and how much more free everyone felt the day after polling day. As if a nightmare had ended.

it will be the same this year!

Anonymous said...

The thing I continue to struggle with is that Labour continues to have support in the mid to high 30's. How?

state controlled education;
state controlled media;
welfare;

I appreciate that Winston First in particular are being cleaned out

Expect Winston to win Tauranga with Labour votes.


and party's like ACT and United Future are not making ground but


UF not, but ACT is up in party polls, especaily in Auckland.

where is Labours support coming from?
...
I have two daughters both aged in their mid 30's with 3 and 4 children who say they will vote Labour because `ehy give them money' so there must be many more of their ilk.


Where did these daughters of yours go to school?

Where do they send their kids?

There is the answer to your question.t

Anonymous said...

FFM:

But other than leaving a few billion in the bank, which will help as we face a very long rainy day, Liarbour has done noting towards hlping the long term prosperity of thecountry.

Tax receipts are already down: government spending continues to skyrocket. That "few billion" will go almost nowhere.

We have not moved up the economic league tales as Clark promised we would. In fact we might well slip further down.

We have slipped down in every league table over the last 10 years. Whether it is child poverty, infant mortality, productivity, export volume global market share, greenhouse gasses - anything you like, we've done worse.

(except % of the economy consumed by the government: we are now at something like 52%, which is actually the highest in the "Western" world - yes, even Scandanavia and Germany have made reforms in the last few years and now we're top)

But in the wallet I have seen little change for myself and people I know.

precisely. And that is why there will be a change of government.

Clunking Fist said...

"The poll if nothing else makes a mockery of all the frothing at the mouth on right-wing blogs over how Labour has brought the country to its knees."
Er, how have the polls done that, psycho?
“22.1 per cent rated tax cuts as the issue most likely to influence their vote at this year's election.” What that tells me is that there are people hurting and want their money back rather than have the gummint bribe them with it.

“I had no money in the 80s but am well off now.” So psycho engages in the “I’m alright, Jack” syndrome as well as his usual “tall poppy” syndrome! Way to not-feel-the peoples pain, psycho!

Psycho Milt said...

Did you just skim-read the comments, or are you having difficulty with reading comprehension, Clunking Fist?

WAKE UP said...

Milt, interesting - once again we are actually in agreement, with the difference being in the fine tuning.

In this instance, it's your "I don't recall any govt of the last 30 years that's represented who I really am, so the fact the current one doesn't isn't much of an issue".

Couldn't agree more with the first part of that, but not the second.

Whatever the faults of previous governments, they at least understood that protecting the country and the citizenry is the primary duty. I don't get that feeling from this lot, which is the singular difference this time round.

And it couldn't be at a worse moment. Like the rest of the world, problems are now global and quantum, compared to days of yore.

I predict massive troubles all over the place in the second half of this year, and if ever there was a governent that shows that it would have no idea what to do in a REAL crisis, it's this one.

Also, because of of its damnfool, misguided overseas overtures and relationships, it has virtually invited crisis to visit us. As ever: watch that space.

Anonymous said...


I predict massive troubles all over the place in the second half of this year, and if ever there was a governent that shows that it would have no idea what to do in a REAL crisis, it's this one.


Heh. I can't wait.

* media (espeically state media) piling in to Labour (to try to convinve key not to sell 'em all off)

* civil sevants starting to stand up to the government (ditto) --- and starting to "restructure" or "reshape" their ministries (ditto)

* school, university & hospital boards preparing themselves for the new environment

* power cuts first turning off the smelter, then brownouts around the country

* a whole bunch of private prosecutions targetting every minister personally, and the Labour executive council...


all of these great things, of course, won't compensate for about 100,000 jobs lost between now and the election. But we must enjoy what we can!

Clunking Fist said...

Hi psycho. It must be my reading com-pre-hen-shun.
Or maybe I need to restrict myself to one question at a time. My question was:
"how have the polls done that, psycho?" in relation to your comment:
"The poll if nothing else makes a mockery of all the frothing at the mouth on right-wing blogs over how Labour has brought the country to its knees."
If I read you right (and apologies if I’ve got this wrong) you are saying that 22.1% desperately wanting tax cuts and 18.5% being concerned about the economy, which add up (if I’m doing this right) to 40.6% having as their most important concern, money, does NOT indicate some level of disquiet over how this gummint runs the money side of things?
I guess if your wallet worries you, but your mum desperately needs a hip replacement, then you could be one of the folk who put hospitals as the single most important issue for you (it was the single most important issue for the second largest group of voters indicating an intention to vote Liarbbore).
Now I might be reading this all wrong, but the Herald article implies that each person had to nominate the SINGLE most important issue for them, at this point in time, as we head toward the election.
Now for me, tax cuts rate 7 on a scale of 10, hospitals 6, crime 7, edjikashun 8 (kids you see), the environment – Global warming 0, the environment – other 6, immigration – muslim 8, immigration – other 3, defence 4 (even if we spend 100% of gdp on defence, we’ll not get jetfighters!), government expenditure 8, freedom from nanny 7, direction of the economy under this shower 10, direction of society under this shower 9, whether I can trust national not to waste energy on unnecessary ideological fights like privatising ACC & the Fire Service 3, smacking of children 0, beating of children 3, etc. So maybe if the questions were asked differently, the picture would be clearer?
It’s a complex old world out there: let us not fool ourselves that nanny can central plan it for us.

WAKE UP said...

When I said "I predict massive troubles all over the place in the second half of this year..." I meant world-wide, and that it didn't exclude NZ. This apart from the problems of our government's own making.

Psycho Milt said...

OK, here's what prompted my view: if 22.1% have as their most important issue who's going to give them a bigger tax cut, I'd say there's 22.1% who have no serious issue on their mind.

Adolf and Danyl disagree, and I'm prepared to accept that the fact that I have plenty of money may be colouring my view. However, I'm also prepared to accept that the ridiculously high expectations NZers have of what their lifestyle should consist of is colouring their view of whether times are tough or not.

The fact remains, tax cuts aren't likely to amount to much for most people, and National's ones will come at the cost of social services that most of the people most in need of extra cash will be using. If this promise of what? $10 a week for someone on low pay? is the most vital issue for over a fifth of voters, there can't really be that much to get excited about.

Clunking Fist said...

"However, I'm also prepared to accept that the ridiculously high expectations NZers have of what their lifestyle should consist of is colouring their view of whether times are tough or not."

Yeah, all those dirty poor people wanting to put food onthe table. Or clothe their kids. Or turn a heater on in mid-winter. And $10 dollars won't make much difference to them, anyway.

As I said earlier, way to not-feel-the peoples pain, psycho.

Psycho Milt said...

So far I've mainly noticed well-off right-wingers squawking about tax cuts. As for this:

Yeah, all those dirty poor people wanting to put food onthe table. Or clothe their kids. Or turn a heater on in mid-winter.

If we're worried about people being able to put food on the table, why are we about to replace the current govt with one that has a history of attacking workers wages and conditions, and slashing welfare? Don't spin me such bullshit - you're looking to put in place a govt that also has a penchant for wealth redistribution, with the difference that it redistributes from the poor to the rich. Crocodile tears for the poor ought to embarrass you.

Clunking Fist said...

Crocodile tears? So NOT having tax cuts (Cullen’s desire) is better for workers than tax cuts (National’s desire).

Sheesh, leftist thinking alert: four legs good, two legs bad, etc.

Psycho Milt said...

It's not an either/or. The fact that I don't see tax cuts as the most important issue for this election is not equal to "tax cuts bad."

Let's tease it out some:

As it happens, I agree that Labour's been pretty stupid to allow bracket creep to put people like me in the top tax bracket, and even more stupid to propose doing nothing about it.

That's a serious mark against Labour then. But before voting for the other crowd we should have a look at whether they actually constitute an improvement.

So, let's do that: National will lower taxes, and Labour won't (or not by as much, or in ways that don't resolve the bracket creep issue etc). However, National will lower taxes by cutting social services currently funded through taxation. That's a colossal "So What" for people like you and me, ie National's constituency, but it's a serious issue for the poor who are actually making use of those social services, ie Labour's constituency.

In addition, National have a history of attacking workers' pay and conditions - in fact, the success of their attacks in the 90s is largely responsible for the wage gap with Aus that exists now.

In short, the working poor can expect to receive:

1. From Labour: very little.

2. From National: lower taxes, nullified by the consequent loss of social services; and a drive to keep wages down.

Neither option is wonderful, but self-interest would definitely recommend against voting National.

For my part, I won't mind seeing Labour go because their arrogant hacking away at our civil liberties shouldn't be encouraged. Tax cuts, though? Bollocks.

Clunking Fist said...

When you're in pain (struggling financially) your horizon becomes quite short term. We all know that economic efficiency and productivity lead to improving wages. But not overnight.

Hence a lot of lower paid voters want quick relief from the recent rapid prices increases and don’t think tax cuts are bollocks.