Saturday, October 02, 2004

A Herald Dodgy-Poll

Well, how timely. The Herald has done a poll and concluded that half the country supports civil unions.

Of course, the Herald always wanted to say that. But do you know how many people were polled?

Sixty. Yes, just 60. And most did not recognise the name "Civil Union Bill" when approached by the journalists who conducted the poll. So what the Herald journalists did was to tell some people that the Civil Union Bills provide next of kin rights.

So of course some people supported it. Those who did not support it indicated that they were more likely to understand the bill.

Sixty is pretty close to the margin of error on the Herald's last poll - but it won`t stop the ideological view bandied about by some that civil unions has "majority support". How can you translate a poll of 60 people, many of whom don’t understand what they are being polled about, to the view of the nation on an issue?

This is nothing less than a dodgy poll and a beat-up. Go to a church or a gay nightclub and you`ll get a different poll result;

UPDATE It appears that the 60 was the number of people interviewed by the Herald journalists. The paper does not actually say how many were polled. It could well have been a lot more. But, for now, let's say at least 60, OK? Another poll, of 6170 - at least eight times bigger than any Herald poll, and of people who are more likely to understand theissues, was more than 95 percent opposed. They are the people who sent off submissions to the select committee.

Meanwhile the Government is looking at reviewing the Property Relationships Act, as part of its deliberations on the Relationships ( Statutory References) Bill. Although I support both the PRA and the RSR Bill, I did recommend in my submission MP's look at the inconsistency.

The Property Relationships Act says couples who have lived together for three years will be treated as if they were married.

But the Relationships Bill has no reference to the length of a relationship. Depending on how "de facto" is interpreted, it could apply as soon as people move in together.

That’s because there is no interpretation given by the bill.


Anonymous said...

Dave - the poll was not of 60 people. It would probably have been of 500 - 1000 people.

The 60 people related to interviews done directly by the Herald.


Anonymous said...

Sorry dave
I concur
I can't see even the Herald spending money on a poll of only 60 people.
the other papers would have a field day.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting.

I know for a fact that Muriel Newman and Wayne Mapp have conducted electorate polls on the CUB, and both report overwhelming opposition to it.

As always, the media have no vested interest in the result - politicians do. Conscience issues are always the ones that get them voted out - be it conscience on the economy, policy or moral issues.

The standard of the media in this country is approaching Frank Zappa's famous statement:

"[Rock] journalism is people who can't talk, being interviewed by people who can't write, who are writing for people who can't read".

While most New Zealanders can read, our journalists don't seem to be able to write or think.

jarrod said...

Here it's clearly stated that 750 people were polled. Note that in polling people you actually take the time to get a random and representative sample. "Representative" means that the makeup of the sample is as similar as possible to the makeup of the general population - which the sample consisting of "people and groups submitting to the select committee" is clearly not. The DigiPoll (well known, reputable polling firm) sample of 750 people is likely to be considerably more statistically valid in terms of measuring the opinions of New Zealand's populace. Statistics lesson over. Reading is fun.

Anonymous said...


you are clearly a dickhead

Wayne Mapp and Muriel Newman each polled their constituiency. That means thousands, not 750. Thus, with alpha (a statistical term you moron) reaching above 0.85, the probability of reaching P<0.05 increases quite a bit.

P.S. your cartoons are crap.

jarrod said...

Dear Mr Tips,

It sounds like someone needs a cuddle. Do you, by any chance, have some sand in your vagina?

Perhaps a reading comprehension lesson was in order, rather than a statistics lesson. I was comparing the Herald's DigiPoll to the "poll" supposedly constituted by the submissions to the select committee. Any poll carried out by Newman or Mapp may or may not be a different story - but thank you for pointing out the relationship between sample size and margin of error all the same.

I note, however, that you seem to assume that Mapp and Newman polled all of their respective constituents. Sounds expensive. Could you let me know which polling firm(s) they used, and maybe link to the results? And could you also explain why said groups of constituents constitute a representative sample of New Zealand's population?

Yours moronically (with lots of love and kisses)


PS Your cartoons are awesome.

dpf said...

Mr Tips - the Mapp and Newman surveys were almost beyond doubt a postal survey, not a random poll.

Postal surveys are not representative as it tends to be those with strong views on an issue which respond.