Rob Salmond

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 »

David Shearer 2012 Redux – Shaft version

I did one of these compilations at the beginning of last year. David Shearer over-delivered on my expectations.

With the Labour sheep expected to publicly back Shearer in February – 2013 promises to be the year of the um.

So I thought a redux version and then starting thinking about some music to go with it…the choice was obvious really I chose the theme music for Shaft – because sooner or later that’s what he’s going to get – the shaft… if not by Cunliffe then by Robertson.

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Hacks Hired to Help

Labour is looking to the past in their review for the future:

The Labour Party has called on several friendly external advisers to help with a major review of its organisation, including US-based academic Rob Salmond and technology businessman Selwyn Pellett.

Labour leader David Shearer and President Moira Coatsworth set out the scope of a review of the party organisation and its processes yesterday – including its membership structure, list ranking process and party involvement in policy formulation.

Mr Salmond and Mr Pellett are both on an advisory group, called “critical friends,” which Ms Coatsworth said would provide critical advice and input to the review.

Mr Pellett, chief executive of Imarda and co-founder of Endace, has spoken at Labour conferences about economic reform and supported the party. However, he was critical of Labour before the 2008 election, saying then leader Phil Goff should step down.

Other “critical friends” included current MP Parekura Horomia, former MPs Margaret Wilson and Tim Barnett and former British Labour MP Bryan Gould.

Ahhh a corporate beneficiary, failed MPs, two academics, a pie eater….the prospects of any dynamic suggestions seems dim.

Ms Coatsworth said Labour’s membership was currently in the mid 50,000s but much of that was made up of affiliated union membership.

The review will be led by another team, who will consult and meet with members. That group includes current MP Nanaia Mahuta, former MP Rick Barker, Ruth Chapman and Mark Hutchinson.

Mr Horomia and Ms Mahuta are the only current caucus members with formal roles in the review.

Labour has nowhere near 50,000 members. I’d like to see the membership forms from them. This is nothing less than a fraud by counting affiliate memberships. Labour should move to get rid of affiliates, if they don;t then the government should as part of the electoral law review that always follows elections look at restricting donations and membership of politicals parties to natural persons only.

I just hope that Labour has put aside plenty of funds to fund Parekura Horomia and Nanaia Mahuta’s penchant for pies.