Two episodes to be noted
First, the GCSB bill.
We’ve had a nomination for Stat of the Week for the Campbell Live bogus poll finding 89% opposition to the bill: you just can’t draw that sort of conclusion from self-selected phone-in polls. On the other hand, they did get over 50000 identified individuals voting, so as a petition it isn’t completely negligible — that’s a bit more than 1.5% of voters.
The Fairfax/Ipsos real poll found a bare majority who trusted the government to protect privacy and only about 30% who were seriously opposed to the bill. The pollster or the papers fell down badly by not giving us a party breakdown of these figures. If half the 30% were National voters, the government should have been concerned, but if, like me, they were mostly Labour/Greens voters already, there isn’t any political problem in ignoring them. It’s also a pity there wasn’t any polling relevant to the most obvious pressure point in the coalition – “Would you vote for ACT if they voted against the bill?” would have been an interesting and important thing to know.
Second, the West Island.
As you may have heard, they are having an election soon. In addition to the traditional election polls there are new automated ‘robopolls’ that are sufficiently cheaper that it’s possible to get a useful sample size in single electorates. Or perhaps not. The Sydney Morning Herald has an interesting report
Lonergan’s own national poll reports only a 2 per cent swing against Labor. Yet in the three seats it polled individually, it found an average swing of 10 per cent. That’s huge, far bigger than we have seen in any Federal election since 1943.
Thomas Lumley (@tslumley) is Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Auckland. His research interests include semiparametric models, survey sampling, statistical computing, foundations of statistics, and whatever methodological problems his medical collaborators come up with. He also blogs at Biased and Inefficient See all posts by Thomas Lumley »