Conservative party nearly breaks 5% in poll

Whaleoil follows political parties, other media and people of interest as part of staying on top of what is happening.  One of those is Ian Wishart’s website for Investigate Magazine.  He normally only publishes two or three articles a month.  Often these are to push his own work.  Fair enough.

A little over a week ago the Investigate RSS feed sparked up.  More than one article a day was interesting, as was more than a couple a week.  We notice these kinds of changes and thought nothing of it other than Ian possibly hitting a flat patch and having time to push his website and books some more.

11 days ago, he published an article about a brand new political poll.  Clearly this was of interest to Whaleoil as it would be to our readers.   But the odd thing was that nobody claimed to be behind the poll.  Not a company.  Not a political party.  Not a special interest group.   This made the hairs on the back of the neck tingle.

It was being offered as a “blank” poll that was after real answers and would not be subject to any mischievous groups, like Whaleoil readers perhaps, skewing the results.

I have not been able to find the poll promoted elsewhere.  The only place its existence was revealed on any kind of “broadcast” medium was on Ian Wishart’s website.

I participated in the poll to see what I would be asked.  Also, the questions should reveal who was possibly behind it.

The poll itself was clumsily constructed with poor English, odd choices and questions that didn’t really make much sense to poll on unless you were trying to get answers for some publicity.  I still had no idea who was behind it, but it was clear it was amateur hour.

Send the Establishment a message?  What genuine poll would start like that?  That’s a call to arms.  This is a group looking to attack the status quo.

The questions were all over the place, but one of them rather obviously pointed to a conservative interest.

What really stood out was the photo the pollsters had chosen to represent this alleged purchaser of legal sex services.

Prostitution is legal in this country.  Who on earth would want to criminalise the purchasing of a legally offered service?

A week later, we got the answer.

Message from Conservative Party Leader Leighton Baker: Results from The Great Kiwi Poll!

Thanks for taking part in The Great Kiwi Poll we ran online for the week ending 15 March 2017.

As promised, here are the final results.

Being an online poll it hits a slightly different demographic than landline-based standard phone polls. It is less random but has a larger sample size. And we are sure you will find the answers to some of these questions fascinating. We did our best to ensure voting was limited to one per IP address, and participants could not see progress results, thus limiting tribal vote manipulation based on running results.

We are a party campaigning on listening to the people, and this is the first of several such polls we are planning this year.

Not to cast any doubts on Ian Wishart or indeed Leighton Baker in terms of the poll results being genuine, but really?

We run polls on Whaleoil all the time and we wouldn’t dare present them as anything other than being representative of what Whaleoil readers would say.   It’s interesting in and of itself, but we don’t go into some spiel about it being over 1000 votes.  That there is a margin of error of 3%.  Or that it being “less random” is offset by a larger sample size.

At best that’s incompetence and self-delusion.  At worst, it is intentionally deceitful.

Judging by Leighton Baker’s unwise foray into a Reddit AMA and the disastrous results, I think it is fair enough to assume incompetence and self-delusion for now.

Polls to come will be aimed at the people that participated in the first one.  The one that was promoted by Ian Wishart.

This is the most fascinating question, and the result

If an election were held today, which party would you most likely vote for?

Answer Votes
Act 4.2% / 49
Conservative NZ 4.7% / 55
Greens 15.4% / 181
Labour 19.7% / 232
Maori 0.3% / 4
National 23.7% / 279
NZ First 21.0% / 247
United Future 0.4% / 5
Not sure 6.6% / 78
Other 4.1% / 48

Total votes 08 Mar – 15 Mar: 1,178

And that’s just the confidence boost that the Conservative Party needed:  a 4.7% result for the Conservative party.

Based on those results, I don’t believe the numbers were massaged.  But I also don’t think they are anywhere representative of what will happen.  All they do is show the general political demographic of an Investigate follower.

Keeping in mind this was a poll run by the Conservative party, you would expect them to promote the poll as their own.   And even if you accept that they wanted to have the one-off luxury of running a “blind” poll, would you not expect the Conservative party to publish the results that are related mostly to their own interest?

So why then, did Ian Wishart push it as

A new political poll doing the rounds of social media is asking which way people would vote if new deputy Jacinda Ardern was actually the Leader of the Labour Party.

and publish the results as

It is clear the Conservative party is aware its brand is damaged because of the various Colin Craig news stories over the last two years.   They are trying to gain attention by trying to keep the word “Conservative” out of it.

A new political poll carried out by the Conservative Party finds Labour’s new deputy Jacinda Ardern could potentially carry Labour to victory if she took over from Andrew Little as leader.

The poll, carried out between 8th and 15th March, asked a sample of nearly 1200 people how they would vote if an election were held today, then asked them a surprise follow-up question: “If Jacinda Ardern was Labour leader instead of Andrew Little, which party would you vote for if an election were held today?”

Astoundingly, in that scenario, Labour moved into top spot in the poll, more than three percentage points clear of National – a clear signal that this year’s election could become a close-fought race.

Conservative Party leader Leighton Baker says although the poll was carried out online among a pool of social media users, the results are statistically valid as they measure a voting shift within the survey sample itself if the opportunity came to vote for an Ardern-led Labour Party.

“Online polls are normally treated more sceptically because their samples are less random than standard phone polls, but findings of attitudinal shifts within such polls are valid because they measure changes within the same survey sample.

Explaining is losing.

The whole thing is as genuine as a three dollar coin.  Sadly, it appears the people behind it think this is a legitimate way to gather polling data.

But the most important sign that there is a level of deceit going on is that a poll run by and for the Conservative party, by people unknown, avoids talking about the Conservative party and pushes the idea that a Jacinda-led Labour will wipe out National and leave it with less than 24%.

That’s clearly to get media coverage.  And in fact, I mused over giving it attention at all because of it.  As political tricks go, they aren’t very sophisticated.

But for people who are looking at the Conservative party hoping there might be a future with them after Colin Craig’s departure, this won’t be building any confidence.

 


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