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One preferred party poll to rule them all

Nov 24th, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

COMEDIAN Robert Orben once said, “Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?”

With the election nearly upon us, it was always inevitable that as a nation we would be inundated with polls, but to what purpose?

It seems every established media organisation has been creating their own polls to gauge who the preferred party is, but again – to what purpose?

Former American first Lady Rosalynn Carter once said, “Don’t worry about polls, but if you do, don’t admit it.”

In light of the abundance of polls, the idea was conceived for NewsWire to average out results from three major media polls for the serving of two purposes.

The first purpose being to find a combined average from these polls, and in turn find where the political parties really stand in a preferred party poll.

Secondly, come the end of the election, it will allow a comparison between actual results and those projected in the polls, to see if there is any real correlation between the two.

Political journalist and analyst Colin James says, “I have found in recent elections that trend lines drawn through about six months of polls and projected forward to election day, come out within a percentage point of the actual results.”

The poll results NewsWire averaged were taken from those conducted since the start of the 2011 year, comprising the ONE News Colmar Brunton Poll, the Fairfax International Media Poll and the New Zealand Herald digipoll.

Based on the combined averages of the polls, it appears National will win the election with a majority of 53.5%, allowing it to rule alone if it so chooses.

Unsurprisingly, Labour holds the next majority share of votes with an average of 30.5%, while the Greens teeter in with 8.8% of votes.

The rest of the minor parties look far less secure in their bids for party votes and will be relying heavily on winning electorate seats.

Winston Peters’ New Zealand First averages out at 2.3%, while Act receives 1.6%, the Maori party 1.5%, and Mana party and United Future polling with less than half a per cent.

Mr James says that there are serious issues involved with polling.

“One is that a decreasing number of households and individuals have landlines and the fact that a high percentage of cellphones are pre-paid makes them an unreliable sample,” he says.

“However, taken as averaged, and read as trends not actual positions, they still provide not too bad a guide.”

Come Saturday night the election results will have been counted and the nation will have their answer to the hanging question – were the polls right?

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is a journalism student at Whitireia who likes nothing more than a good scoop. Except for maybe a double scoop.
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