Brian Edwards Media

A Curious Omission by the New Zealand Herald

Last Friday the Herald published its latest DigiPoll survey. The poll brought good news for Labour. It was up 2.4% since the previous poll, while National was down 3.2%. The gap between the two had narrowed by 5.6%. The Herald’s headline “Poll: Labour gains, but Nats would still govern alone” fairly represented the situation.

At 70.6%, John Key’s rating as preferred Prime Minister had gone through the roof, the result, a sceptic might suggest, of more photo-ops in the press and on television than I have seen in more than 40 years of politician watching.

And Phil Goff? Still languishing in single figures? Another depressing 6 or 7 percent? Well, and this really is curious, that was the one figure from its DigiPoll that the Herald didn’t give us. So I had to find out for myself.

In the latest Herald DigiPoll, the Leader of the Opposition scores 12.4%, an increase on the previous poll, which in turn was an increase on the poll before that. And yes, it isn’t huge but it’s a lot higher than Helen Clark was polling at the same time in 1996, the year she would have become Prime Minister, were it not for the treachery of Winston Peters. 

What pollsters always tell us is that what matters is the general trend rather than any individual poll. Well, both Labour and Goff are trending up with almost 5 months to go before the election. So I wouldn’t write them off quite yet.

In the meantime, I’d really like to know why the Herald didn’t publish Goff’s rating which would have brought a degree of comfort to him and his supporters.  

Probably just an oversight, eh?

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  1. Yep, hopefully an oversight.

    The problem with this kind of reporting is one never knows where to draw the line. It’s the old print era inverted pyramid idea, which made a lot of sense when there was more news that space on the printed page.

    Ideally modern online editors would draw the line at the point just before readers get bored. In this case I guess the line was drawn at the point where the journalist was bored.

    Your boredom threshold must be lower.

  2. “more photo-ops in the press and on television than I have seen in more than 40 years of politician watching”

    So that’s the reason he always seems to be on the screen when I turn on the TV. I thought it was just my poor timing.

  3. I think thats typical Herald actually.

    Everytime i see Key…i just dont get it…..i simply dont see the attraction…..but then i have always liked substance rather then a silly smile!

  4. Maybe the NZ Herald published only the best bits.

  5. Goff and Key both have silly grins plastered over their faces whenever they turn up on TV.

  6. Oversight Brian – pffffttttt!

  7. Curious stuff, indeed.

    I have a feeling that the Herald has suddenly started to present its ‘Preferred PM’ Digi-Poll stats solely on the basis of DECIDED respondents (which I think is unprecedented). That would certainly explain the significant increases in preferred PM support over the last few polls for both Key and Goff. In February 2010 – when I’m pretty sure the Herald was including the UNDECIDED as well – Key+Goff as preferred PM = 65%. Now, they = 83%.

    Funnily enough, BE, I’ve just recently been thinking about dodgy poll analysis in the mainstream media. I haven’t got time right now, but I’ll give you a few brief examples in a comment tomorrow or the next day.

  8. Look in i know that you are part of the red team brian and thats ok. I look at it like a sport mates of mine are highlanders supporters because in canterbury there are a few of them and at the start of the season they say this year is going to be there year but you know the rest. This year will not be labours year wrong coach,wrong captain and a few players that should have retired last year

  9. On election night not so long ago, Jim Bolger made a statement that sums it up quite well. “Bugger the pollsters”.

  10. It’s frightening. The crowd we’ve got are incompetent, naive, dishonest, stupid, or all of the above.

    The alternatives are no better.

    Lack of political courage combined with short term thinking, electoral bribery, special interest groups’ blackmail, and voter ignorance are destroying our party-based political system.

    And not just in New Zealand.

    We have the mind-boggling stupidity of the USA being brought to its economic knees by (ostensibly) trying to export “democracy” beyond their borders when it’s totally broken within those borders.

    John Mihaljevic got it right in a letter to the Listener: