Rob Salmond

Giving a liberal elite idiot a jolly good hiding

In Australia it looks like Jess Elgood, Fairfax’s polling boss, has managed to unite the polling industry against her.

The sledging is legendary.

LEADING pollsters have lined up to condemn the overreach of Fairfax’s new polling boss, Jess Elgood, when analysing Ipsos’s poll results in Monday’s Fairfax newspapers.

Ms Elgood was quoted in The Sydney Morning Herald saying: “They have read the writing on the wall for Mr Abbott … It possibly ­indicates that the voters have ­already moved on from Mr ­Abbott.”

The Ipsos poll found a three-percentage-point rise in the ­Coalition’s two-party vote such that it trailed the Labor Party 49 to 51 per cent.

The results did not fit the ­narrative of commentators that the Prime Minister’s poor ­performance was damaging the government’s standing.

Galaxy Research managing ­director David Briggs disputed Ms Elgood’s argument.

“The idea that the surge in ­government support is because voters are already factoring in ­Abbott’s potential departure doesn’t make intuitive sense,” he said.

Liberal Party pollster Mark Textor evoked a Monty Python theme, describing the Ipsos boss’s analysis as “desperately free from the ravages of quantitative ­evidence”.

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No, it’s the benefit of having an accurate pollster on the payroll

Karl du Fresne thinks that John Key is on drugs:

I have never met John Key, but like anyone who follows politics I’ve been able to observe him via the media. And after studying him carefully, I think I now realise the explanation for much of his behaviour. He’s on drugs.

Not the illegal kind, I should stress, but the mood-calming type that doctors prescribe. This may sound flippant, but consider the following.

In the 2014 election campaign, Key was subjected to possibly the most sustained media offensive faced by any prime minister in New Zealand history. Day after day he was tackled by an aggressive media pack trying to trap him on dirty politics, illicit surveillance and other touchy issues.

His answers were often unsatisfactory, which served only to ramp up the media frenzy. But through it all, he appeared supernaturally imperturbable. He patiently batted away reporters’ questions and accusations with his familiar bland inscrutability. There were no meltdowns, no hissy fits, no petulant walkouts.

This was downright unnatural. No politician should be that unflappable. He can have achieved it only by the ingestion of large amounts – indeed, industrial quantities – of tranquillisers.

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Lessons from the US that Labour still hasn’t learned

Throughout 2014 we heard how Labour’s turn out machine had contacted 5 times more voters than it had in 2011, as if tactics trumped strategy and message and leadership.

Labour’s strategy was flawed, its message was awful and its leadership an absolute joke.

Its not just Labour that believed this. The seppo left wingers have the same problem.

3. Even the best turnout machine needs a message.

Democratic operatives earned considerable praise for their turnout operation in 2012, but again the party suffered a midterm thrashing in large part because young and minority voters again stayed home.

“You can’t win on turnout when you have already lost on message,” said Republican pollster Glen Bolger. Referring to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s “Bannock Street Project” turnout operation, he added, “Tactics are important, but if the voters are against you, it doesn’t matter what cool street name you give your turnout project, it’s not going to overcome anger among independents and apathy among your base.”

The funny thing is that Labour brought in a so-called guru, David Talbot, who had worked and developed just these sorts of programs for turning out the vote. The media even lauded him up as the expert…strangely we haven’t boo from him since.

Same goes for Rob Salmond, who was busily calling media polls liars, that he knew that Labour as polling in the mid-thirties because he had seen the data….again strangely silent since the election.

In order to get on the same paddock as National they need strategists and polling experts who don’t stuff up in such spectacular fashion. Both of them were tits, they should be told to STFU, and run out of town on a rail.   Read more »

Did Martyn Martin Bradbury advise the Democrats?

Wrongly Wrongson, the blogger formerly known as Martyn Martin Bradbury, got all his predictions dead wrong in the last NZ general election.

But it seems he has taken his own particular brand of wrong punditry and been moonlighting with the Democrats in the US.

The Washington Examiner looks at some of the left wing shibboleths and Democratic myths that they clung to, which resulted in their defeat in the mid-term elections.

As Democratic losses mounted in Senate races across the country on election night, some liberal commentators clung to the idea that dissatisfied voters were sending a generally anti-incumbent message, and not specifically repudiating Democratic officeholders. But the facts of the election just don’t support that story.

Voters replaced Democratic senators with Republicans in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina, Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia and likely in Alaska, and appear on track to do so in a runoff next month in Louisiana. At the same time, voters kept Republicans in GOP seats in heavily contested races in Georgia, Kansas and Kentucky. That is at least 10, and as many as a dozen, tough races, without a single Republican seat changing hands. Tuesday’s voting was a wave alright — a very anti-Democratic wave.

In addition to demolishing the claim of bipartisan anti-incumbent sentiment, voters also exposed as myths five other ideas dear to the hearts of Democrats in the last few months:

1) The election wouldn’t be a referendum on President Obama. “Barack Obama was on the ballot in 2012 and in 2008,” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said in late October. “The candidates that are on the ballot are Democratic and Republican candidates for Congress.” Of course, that was true, but Republicans from New Hampshire to Alaska worked tirelessly to put the president figuratively on the ballot. And they succeeded.

Every day on the stump, Republican candidates pressed the point that their Democratic opponents voted for the Obama agenda nearly all the time. “Kay Hagan has voted for President Obama’s failed partisan agenda 95 percent of the time,” said Thom Tillis, who defeated the incumbent Democrat in North Carolina. Mark Pryor “votes with Barack Obama 93 percent of the time,” said Tom Cotton, who defeated the incumbent Democrat in Arkansas. “Mark Udall has voted with [Obama] 99 percent of the time,” said Cory Gardner, who defeated the incumbent Democrat in Colorado.

On Election Day, nearly 60 percent of voters told exit pollsters they were dissatisfied or angry with the Obama administration. In retrospect, there was no more effective campaign strategy for Republicans running in 2014 than to tie an opponent to the president.

Whoopsy…got that dead wrong.  Read more »

Play or get off the field

As Labour lurches towards utter destruction with David Cunliffe at sixes and sevens there are some out there with good advice.

Lew at Kiwipolitico had this to say about National’s excellence at data-driven campaigns:

I have been criticising Labour, in particular, since at least 2007 on their unwillingness or inability to bring modern data-driven campaign and media strategy to bear in their campaigns — effectively, to embrace The Game and play it to win, rather than regarding it as a regrettable impediment to some pure and glorious ideological victory. Mostly the responses I get from the faithful fall under one or more of the following:

  • National has inherent advantages because the evil old MSM is biased
  • the polls are biased because landlines or something
  • the inherent nature of modern neoliberal society is biased
  • people have a cognitive bias towards the right’s messaging because Maslow
  • it inevitably leads to populist pandering and the death of principle
  • The Game itself devours the immortal soul of anyone who plays ( which forms a handy way to demonise anyone who does play)

But data is not a Ring of Power that puts its users in thrall to the Dark Lord. And, unlike the One Ring, it can’t be thrown into a volcano and the world saved from its pernicious influence. Evidence and strategy are here to stay. Use them, or you’re going to get used. The techniques available to David Farrar and the National party are not magic. They are available to anyone. Whether Labour has poor data or whether they use it poorly I do not know. It looks similar from the outside, and I have heard both from people who ought to know. But it doesn’t really matter. Data is only as good as what you do with it. Whatever they’re doing with it isn’t good enough.

The best example from this campaign isn’t Labour, however — it’s Kim Dotcom. He said on election night that it was only in the past two weeks that he realised how tainted his brand was. He threw $4.5 million at the Internet MANA campaign and it polled less than the Māori Party, who had the same number of incumbent candidates and a tiny fraction of the money and expertise. Had he thought to spend $30,000 on market research* asking questions like those asked by Curia about what New Zealanders think of Kim Dotcom, he could have saved himself the rest of the money, and saved Hone Harawira his seat, Laila HarrĂ© her political credibility, and the wider left a severe beating.

That is effective use of data: not asking questions to tell you what you want to hear, but to tell you what you need to know. This electoral bloodletting is an opportunity for the NZ political left to become reality-adjacent, and we can only hope they take it. Because if they don’t, reality is just going to keep winning.

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If you believe David Cunliffe doesn’t have contact with bloggers then I have a bridge I can sell you

David Cunliffe tells lies.

Yesterday he said none of his MPs talk to me. That was a lie. i can prove it was a lie, but to do so would breach my confidences with them. They can be rest assured that it won’t be me revealing the details.

Now he is claiming that he has no contact with bloggers.

Labour leader David Cunliffe tried to score a point over John Key yesterday by saying he rarely talks to bloggers, but that seems a stretch.

One of his closest advisers (priming him for the televised debates) is Polity blogger Rob Salmond.

Greg Presland, a lawyer friend involved in setting up his leadership fund trust, blogs as MickeySavage  at The Standard.    Read more »

That’s your plan? Seriously?

Rob Salmond gave a speech at the Labour congress and David Cunliffe also used his “research”.

This is Labour’s plan to win the election…are you ready…they are going to pray that National drops 6% on election day from what the polls say.

I’m not kidding…read it.

At my briefing to Labour’s Congress over the weekend, I made a point about National’s performance in recent campaigns, which was later picked up in David Cunliffe’s speech.

National has dropped six percent each time.

For those interested, here is the data that sits beneath this claim. All I did was find any published poll where the field dates included the day three months before election day1, then compared that to the final election result.

2008 election: Final results compared to simple polling average 90 days prior

Firm Dates Nat
Roy Morgan 28 July – 10 Aug 48
Fairfax 6-12 Aug 54
Colmar Brunton 9-14 Aug 51
Average 51.0
Election 8 Nov 44.9
Difference -6.1

2011 election: Final results compared to simple polling average 90 days prior

Firm Dates Nat
Digipoll 19-26 Aug 52
Roy Morgan 15-28 Aug 52
Fairfax 25-29 Aug 57.1
Average 53.1
Election 26 Nov 47.3
Difference -5.8

This six point drop in National’s performance often went to parties opposed to National. Famously, in 2011 the big beneficiaries were New Zealand first, who rocketed from around 2.5% in the polls all the way to 6.7% three months later. In 2008 the Greens were significant net beneficiaries of camaign-time changes.

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Trotter: ‘the phrase “Labour/Greens government” does not pass the plausibility test’

Chris Trotter explains why David Cunliffe has pushed the toxic Greens out into the cold.

The answer, I believe, is to be found in the voters Labour’s campaign strategists (most particularly the political scientist and polling specialist, Rob Salmond) have identified as the primary target of Labour’s election campaign. These are not the legendary “missing million” who declined to cast a ballot three years ago, but a much more manageable group of around 300,000 men and women who have voted for Labour in the past (2005, 2008) but who, for a whole host of reasons, sat out the General Election of 2011.

Salmond’s argument is that these voters can be readily “re-activated” if Labour presents them with a plausible pitch for their support. The key-word there is “plausible”, and outside Labour-held electorates in the main centres there is every reason to believe that the phrase “Labour/Greens government” does not pass the plausibility test.

The evidence for this comes, paradoxically, from the National Party. Simon Bridges’ ridiculous comments about the 50-odd mining permits issued on Russel Norman’s watch is only the most extreme example of what is obviously an agreed Government strategy to conflate Labour and the Greens into a single, politically extreme, electoral bogeyman. David Farrar’s polls and Crosby-Textor’s focus-groups have clearly thrown up a powerful negative reaction to the idea of Labour joining forces with the Greens. So much so that National is doing everything within its power to imbed the idea deep in the electorate’s psyche.

And, if National’s voter research is picking up this negative anti-Green vibe, how long can it be before Labour’s own pollster, UMR, and its focus-group convenors start detecting similar sentiments in their own samplings? And if they do, is it really credible to suggest that Labour should simply ignore them? If the party’s whole electoral strategy is based on persuading those 300,000 former Labour voters to return to the fold, and the Labour/Greens proposition is going to make that less likely, then what possible motive would Labour have for accepting the Greens’ invitation?  Read more »

Bryce Edwards summary on Dotcom and his corruption of NZ politics

Bryce Edwards summarises just how bad it has become for kim Dotcom, the Green party, Russel Norman, Winston Peters and all the Labour MPs who have trotted out to sit on Kim Dotcom’s lap.

Political chickens are coming home to roost. Having Kim Dotcom on speed dial is now a political liability and career ending.

Allegations of ‘corruption’ and ‘dirty deals’ are being thrown around over the relationship between some of our political party leaders and wealthy internet businessman and wannabe politician Kim Dotcom. It all relates to the fact that various politicians have been courting Dotcom’s favour, while at the same time discussing whether they would intervene to help prevent Dotcom being extradited to the United States by fighting in government to overturn any judicial decision. According to some commentators there is, at the very least, an issue with the perception of inappropriate and opaque electoral deals being made.

The strongest condemnation of the potential links between party policy and support for Dotcom have come from rightwing blogger David Farrar, who claims that some politicians are ‘saying they will over-turn the courts in his favour at the same time as they meet him to discuss political strategy. That is pretty close to corruption’ – see: Would Labour and Greens over-rule the court for Kim Dotcom?

Farrar explains the problem, as he sees it: ‘Russel Norman has been out twice to meet Dotcom, and ask him to support the Greens instead of setting up his own political party. And in return he is offering that a Labour/Greens Government would basically corruptly over-turn the decision of the court in Dotcom’s favour. Cunliffe is not ruling out that he would also over-turn any court decision. We also learn Winston Peters has been out to meet DotCom multiple times’. Farrar warns that ‘We head towards corruption if people can buy themselves a different decision’.  Read more »

Rob Salmond on Dotcom’s corruption of NZ politics

Rob Salmond, former Helen Clark staffer, blogs about the ‘ickiness’ of Kim Dotcom’s dodgy political behaviour.

If I am right about that, then come ballot-printing day Mr Dotcom will be throwing his weight in with someone else. And by “his weight,” I presume he means large buckets of money. That sets up an silent auction for parties to compete for Dotcom’s money on the basis of policy promises, first and foremost about Dotcom’s own extradition case. That is, if parties decide they want to play.

I think the opposition parties should all take a pass.

To me, it all sounds pretty icky. One of the reasons the left parties worked hard to try and make election funding fairer in the late 2000s was to limit the influence of individuals seeking to essentially buy government policy for cash. (These measures were, naturally, rejected by the right, citing freedom of speech and freedom of spending and so on.) Breaking it down, this gambit looks exactly like a convoluted version of a rich guy offering up cash in exchange for personally favourable policies. Yuck.  Read more »