No bounce for Labour yet

The two mid-August polls released to date show little evidence of a bounce for Labour out of the “loose lips” debacle for National.

Roy Morgan’s poll shows National steady at around 48% and Labour returning to its May level of around 35% after a few months in the 30-32.5% range. Perhaps a bounce, but pretty small at best.

More interestingly, confidence in the Government has bounced back “strongly” to 103.5, after falling from over 120.0 last September to bottom out at 87-88% in late June-early July. And more NZers (44.5%, up 6%) say the country is “heading in the right direction” than say it is “heading in the wrong direction” (41%, down 6%). So some good news for Labour.

Not so the Fairfax Nielsen poll. This shows Labour steady on 35% and National up 3 points to 54%.

Like the Morgan poll, the FN poll showed confidence in the economy improving: “the number of voters who are more optimistic increased by three points to 45% over April, while pessimists declined from 39% to 30%.”

The Morgan polling period was 28 July–10 August (N = 834), so the effects of the loose lips stories that broke on the evening of 3 August would be diluted. The FN poll was conducted over 6 August–12 August (N = 1102) and includes the effects of the loose lips — although some respondents would have been polled before the story had fully unravelled. It is also more likely to be accurate given the larger sample size.

The next TV3 poll should therefore help shed light on a confused situation. As Inventory2 points out, Duncan Garner’s blog yesterday hints that the news will not be good for Labour (Garner is the 3 News political editor, after all). Garnber opines that:

National was quick to nail Labour and Helen Clark to the secret recorder. Key has no proof of course – but he didn’t have to. It was a bit of a dog whistle – but it may have worked. I reckon National might just hold up in the polls due to be released over the next 10 days.”

Still, even if there is no immediate pay-off for Labour from the loose lips debacle, the episode may prove valuable in the long-run. Garner imagines Labour putting together advertisements that feature English and his comments as part of a campaign based on trust, leadership and privatisation. I’d say that last week’s events might prove very useful to Labour as it seeks to build a narrative around “hidden agendas”.

[Note: Neither poll includes the “refused to says” or “don’t knows”, the latter of which stand at 11% in the FN poll.]

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19 Responses to “No bounce for Labour yet”

  1. macdoctor01 Says:

    When confidence in the government improves, but poll ratings don’t, that is very bad news for a government. It means people think you know what you are doing, but they are still tired of you. The current perception of the government is that it is visionless, arrogant and underhanded, but not incompetent. Key can get away with blaming Labour for the taping incident because that is what people perceive Labour would do. They should have gone all-out to clean up their act and accept some responsibility for stuff ups. And they should have started a year ago. Now the best they can hope for is a dead cat bounce.

  2. toms Says:

    I’m quite happy with the RoyMorgan, not so with the Neilsen. All Labour has to do is get national below 47%, and the coalition is there for them to take.

  3. Inventory2 Says:

    toms – even on the Roy Morgan result, to govern Labour has to coalesce with the Greens, NZ First and the Maori Party. It’s hardly a basis for stable government. And it relies on NZ First getting back, which Fairfax suggests is a very long shot indeed. If the SFO decides to formalise its investigation into Peters or the Privileges Committee finds that a breach of privilege has been established, Peters’s star will fade quickly.

  4. Anita Says:

    Inventory2,

    If the SFO decides to formalise its investigation into Peters or the Privileges Committee finds that a breach of privilege has been established, Peters’s star will fade quickly.

    I’m not so sure about that. I imagine that Winston’s core supporters will see it as more evidence that he is unreasonably persecuted and it will strengthen their support for him. The question is, how big is his core support base? 3% or 5%?

  5. Inventory2 Says:

    Anita – I think the One News poll last Sunday answered that. NZ First got 13% of the party vote in Tauranga in 2005. Last week they registered 6.5%. Take NZ First’s nationwide party vote from 2005, multiply by 0.5 and there’s the answer.

  6. Anita Says:

    I2,

    I tend to think that Tauranga is not typical for NZ First 🙂

    If you’re argung that only half of the NZF vote at the last election was core vote then you’re arguing that half of it was soft/swing. I thought the NZF campaign in 2005 was pretty crap, it would surprise me if they pulled that many soft votes.

  7. Inventory2 Says:

    Perhaps Anita, but the reality for Peters is that his key constituency is literally dying on him. At a guess, he could have lost up to 20% of his 2005 support base. It’s an awful way to look at things, but given Peters’s reliance on the grey vote, it is a reality for him. And I doubt that recent retirees woud support NZ First in the same number as the older consituency.

    I agree with you that Tauranga is not typical for NZ First. It is NZF’s heartbeat, and if the NZF party vote is getting decimated there, it does not bode well for the rest of the country.

  8. Inventory2 Says:

    GOLD MEDAL!

  9. Inventory2 Says:

    Apologies JP

    http://keepingstock.blogspot.com/2008/08/golden-twins.html

    No probs, we were watching too. Hope everybody saw that race. Only 1/100th of a second — I thought the Germans had won myself. But the twins looked like they’d just been on an outing at the end and the others looked like they were dying. The twins deserved it!

  10. Anita Says:

    I2,

    Yeah, I’ve always wondered if he gains new committed grey vote at the same rate he loses them. I wonder what triggers someone to convert from something else to core NZF when they reach a certain age? Has that age risen as Peters’ has?

    Re the Gold Medal – woohoo! 🙂

  11. Inventory2 Says:

    How long are you going to last tonight JP? I had a few zzzzz’s this arvo so I can watch the All Blacks!

  12. illuminatedtiger Says:

    Not sure if this has been bought up yet, but is there a timing issue with this lot of polls coming too soon after the recording scandals?

  13. jafapete Says:

    IT, I mention when the polls were taken in the post: Morgan over 28 July–10 August and FN over 6–12 August. The latter therefore was taken entirely after the loose lips story broke, but the same time as it unravelled.

    You’re probably also suggesting that it takes people time to digest and think about a complicated story like this, especially as the tories were desperately trying to confuse the issues and divert attention. You’re probably right about that.

    That said, the FN poll does indicate that any immediate lift for Labour from the loose lips story is likely small. But I’m interested in the long-term effect, should more evidence of National’s secret agenda come to light.

  14. Inventory2 Says:

    JP – what hasn’t been mentioned is the PPM poll – Key up 4 to 43%; Clark down 1 to 31%. Despite Labour having three days of “free hits” at Key in the House, nothing seems to have stuck to Key – do you think that is significant?

  15. jafapete Says:

    I2, Could be statistical noise from the look of it, meaning that not much changed. I’m not sure that the “preferred PM” poll has much significance anyway. I recall people saying all through 1984 that Lange’s appalling ratings spelt doom, and me saying just wait, he’ll shine in the election. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the reverse this year with a different Leader of the Opposition.

  16. Jafapete’s Weblog Says:

    […] The One News Colmar Brunton poll just out confirms my reading of the two other polls released late last week. […]

  17. AndrewE Says:

    One thing I’ve found interesting has been how the politcal narrative from both Labour and National has been all about what National is doing.

    It would appear to me that this works in National’s favour.

    Well spotted, Andrew. But having most of the attention hasn’t worked in Obama’s favour in the US. Perhaps because McCain’s campaign are exploiting the lack of knowledge about Obama better than Labour is exploiting (or, able to exploit) the similar vagueness around Key and National policy here.

  18. Latest polls good news for Labour « Jafapete’s Weblog Says:

    […] poll confirms the trend revealed by other recent poll results. A slight bounce for Labour, National maintains a decisive advantage, with the loose lips debacle […]

  19. Nats are losing control of their narrative « Jafapete’s Weblog Says:

    […] Reviewing recent polls I commented that: “Still, even if there is no immediate pay-off for Labour from the loose lips debacle, the episode may prove valuable in the long-run. Gardner imagines Labour putting together advertisements that feature English and his comments as part of a campaign based on trust, leadership and privatisation. I’d say that last week’s events might prove very useful to Labour as it seeks to build a narrative around “hidden agendas”. […]

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