I bet Labour are doing this, no wonder they chase passing cars so often

The key to good governance and maintaining power is through solid polling. All good political parties poll and they use reputable companies with a track record of success.

National uses David Farrar’s company, Curia. They are New Zealand’s best political pollster in my opinion. If I am ever asked by a potential candidate who to recommend for polling, the answer is always Farrar and if they refuse to entertain polling with him then I refuse to advise or coach them.

Facebook and Twitter though are now being pitched to politicians and so-called strategists to use them for polling. This is folly and will deliver the political equivalent of fool’s gold.

Digital consultants are making a play for down-ballot campaigns’ polling budgets. They’re now pitching Facebook and Twitter as ways to gauge voters’ opinions on issues and candidates. In reality, social media “listening” can only do so much for a candidate running below the federal level.

When it comes to state legislative campaigns specifically, polling remains one of the best tools. There’s just no replacement for accurate, empirical results. As consultants for many down-ballot campaigns, we emphasize putting resources toward research in our clients’ strategic plans. While social media might represent a no-cost or low-cost option, don’t let budget be an excuse not to proceed with polling.  

Many candidates are surprised to learn that not every survey has to cost $35,000 — or even $10,000. In fact, if a poll shows a candidate in a strong position, the numbers could make it rain with the district’s big donors.

Many of our clients use polling to inform their choice to run or not. Funding groups, like lobbyists, associations, and IEs use it to determine what candidates or races are worthwhile for their involvement. More importantly, proper polling can go into great detail to show standing among demographic groups or along the lines of ideology and issues.

A highly favored component of polling is the ability to take assumptions and test them. You can test messages, strengths and weaknesses, issue stances and see the effect on base, swing and undecided voters. Would you go on a spending spree without knowing the effect it would have on your bank account? Polling is the bank statement that gives you the exact data you need to make great decisions.

Another strength of polling is the ability to gauge how the race evolves after the bullets start flying downrange. It’s a handy tool to ensure that the tone of your campaign is palatable to the voters. If you need to make a change, you’ll have some insight that’ll help you make strategic adjustments.

A industry-wide problem exists with people who don’t follow the science of survey research, but claim to offer a polling product. A poorly designed and executed poll is highly dangerous and adverse to helping you in the ways mentioned above. Take great care when choosing the right polling partner. Ask about the skill sets they have and the methodology they use. Moreover, ensure it’s not IVR-only sample collection, and find out how they stratify collection and weight the sample when complete.

I bet Labour, broke as they are, will resort to using Facebook and Twitter for polling and then having Rob Salmond analyse those results. They may already be doing it and hence the strange numbers they are whispering to the gallery that they say show Labour on 32% and National on 41% with John Key’s favourables falling.

Informed readers and subscribers to INCITE: Politics will see how wrong Labour’s whispering is.


– Campaigns and Elections

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