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Archive for the ‘2008 NZ General Election’ Category

It’s been two years to the day since the 2008 New Zealand General Election, so I thought it would be a good time to look back and see what has happened with the polling.

The graphs below summarise the polling averages for the party vote for each major or minor NZ political party over the last two years. The horizontal axes represent the date and start on 8 November 2008, the day of the 2008 NZ General Election, and finishing on the present day. The solid lines with grey error bands show the moving averages of the party vote for each party, and circles show individual polls with the vertical lines representing the total errors.

Party vote support for the National party over the past two years

Party vote support for the National party over the past two years as determined by moving average of political polls.

Firstly: National. After getting 45% of the vote in the 2008 Election (slightly lower than the polls predicted) they had a fairly rapid gain in popularity to about 54% +/- 1% by early 2009, where their polling stabalised for about the next year or so. In early 2010 the polling average underwent a significant decline to about the 51% +/- 1% level, where it again stabalised. There have been several polls out this year putting National at 48%-49% support, and causing the polling average to momentarily drop below 50%, although in hindsight these appear to be fairly typical statistical fluctuations.

Party vote support for the Labour party over the past two years

Party vote support for the Labour party over the past two years as determined by moving average of political polls.

After getting 34% of the vote in the 2008 Election (about what the polling was predicting) Labour dropped to below 30% support in early 2009. Support has since fluctuated as it made an undulating climb back to about 33% +/- 1%. To some extent the rises and falls in support for Labour over the last two years have been anti-correlated with support for the Green party, indicating that combined support for the left-wing parties may have been slightly more consistent than it appears in the above graph.

Party vote support for the Green party over the past two years

Party vote support for the Green party over the past two years as determined by moving average of political polls.

The Green Party won 6.7% of the vote at the last election, significantly below the polls which put them on about 8% +/- 0.5%. Other than a few small dips in late 2009 and early 2010 their polling has been fairly consistent in the high 7% range.

Party vote support for the ACT party over the past two years

Party vote support for the ACT party over the past two years as determined by moving average of political polls.

The ACT Party won 3.6% of the votes at the last election, significantly higher than their polling at the time which was in the high 2%-range. By early 2009 their polling had stabalised at just under 2%, where it stayed until mid-2010 when it suffered a significant drop to about 1% +/- 0.5%. I’m reluctant to attribute movements in polling data to political events, but the drop in support did happen suspiciously close in timing to the rolling of deputy leader Heather Roy and the David Garrett passport scandal.

Party vote support for the Maori party over the past two years

Party vote support for the Maori party over the past two years as determined by moving average of political polls.

The Maori party polling has been perhaps the most consistent of any of the eight major or minor political parties. After winning 2.4% of the votes in the 2008 Election they have consistently polled in the mid-2% range.

Party vote support for the Progressive party over the past two years

Party vote support for the Progressive party over the past two years as determined by moving average of political polls.

It’s difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions from the polling numbers for the Progressive party other than to say that they have most certainly not broken through the 0.7% support level in the past two years. The polling results are normally at the level of the margin of error introduced by rounding, so it’s pretty much impossible to make out any statistically-meaningful trends in the data.

Party vote support for the United Future party over the past two years

Party vote support for the United Future party over the past two years as determined by moving average of political polls.

The same comment above for the Progressive party largely applies to the United Future party as well, albeit with a slightly wider error band on the moving averages. The United Future party have most likely not broken through the 0.9% support level in the past two years.

Party vote support for the New Zealand First party over the past two years

Party vote support for the New Zealand First party over the past two years as determined by moving average of political polls.

And last but not least, the New Zealand First party. After winning 4.1% of the vote at the 2008 Election, slightly higher than the result predicted by the polling, they suffered a fairly obvious drop in support to the low-1% range. Since mid-2009 though they have started on a gradual comeback, and are now polling in the mid-2% range; still lower than they were at the last election, though.

In hindsight, there weren’t many occasions in the past 24 months where National would have been predicted to lose an election. But with 12 months or so until the most likely dates for the next election obviously anything can still happen. If Labour can win about 3% points of support from National in that time then the Maori party will probably hold the balance of power in Parliament, which could make for a very unpredictable 2011 Election result.

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