Election Forecast updated

I’ve updated my Election Forecast with the results of today’s astonishing  Newshub / Reid Research poll.

Because of the nature of my forecast, polls as old as 90 days will factor into the result. Which means a significant sudden changes won’t be as noticable as they are in raw numbers.

So while Labour is up 9% and Jacinda’s preferred PM ratings will have Bill English very worried, my forecast is very conservative and only shows one seat changing hands from National to Labour (which is still a very good movement).

As the campaign progresses and polling becomes more regular I may look at doing a version of my forecast with a much shorter half-life, so giving significantly more importance to more recent polls.

Let’s do this.

Extraordinary early numbers for Jacinda

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have seen how Labour’s leadership change has electrified the New Zealand election campaign.

I’ve been monitoring the impact of Jacinda Ardern’s rise on social media, and it’s been nothing short of spectacular.

Here are some top line numbers, showing the top 10 political pages in New Zealand over the last week, order by total interactions (eg the number of people who have liked, commented, or shared a post from that page)…

Now as I said, I’ve been monitoring these stats for quite some time, and it hasn’t been a rosy set of numbers for Labour in a long time. In a typical week it would be unusual for any Labour page to crack the top ten, and even more unlikely for them to crack the top five. And here we are with Jacinda and Labour dominating the number of interactions on social media.

And if you take a look at page growth, it just gets better. Labour’s main Facebook page has grown by over 10% in a week, and Jacinda’s page grew a phenomenal 22.63% – up over 13,000 fans – in just a week. Incredible.

Even better for Labour, the flow on effect to their candidates has been massive too. In the past week Labour’s candidates have recorded an average page growth of 380. I’ve never seen anything like this. In the same week, the average page growth for National candidates’ pages was only 41. You can take a look at the full dataset here.

Likes on social media alone won’t win the election for Labour, but if they can convert even a small amount of the action they’re getting online into volunteers, donations and voters, they will be very well placed to snatch victory on September 23rd. Let’s do this.

Election Forecast updated

One News have released the latest Colmar Brunton poll, to be frank it’s a terrible result for Labour. Astonishingly, Andrew Little has even admitted that he has considered resigning as leader. Funnily enough, we’re now 54 days until the election, one day longer than Mike Moore served as Prime Minister.

Anyway, I’ve updated my election forecast and it holds an important lesson – don’t loose your marbles over one poll result. Despite Labour’s 24% result in today’s Colmar Brunton, they’re still holding at over 28% in the forecast. True, if the previous Roy Morgan poll was in fact a rogue, then the future results will be very different. We’ve got 54 days to wait and see.

National list released – calculator updated

The National Party have released their list for 2017. It’s a boring affair, with virtually no new blood. The party leadership has, unsurprisingly, taken a conservative approach and kept their MPs largely where they are, avoding frightening the horses.

I’ve updated my National Caucus Calculator so you can figure out what their new caucus would look like at various levels of party vote support, and depending on which electorate seats they win.

If you use my current 2017 Election Forecast and the assumtion no electorate seats change hands, then National will only get two new list MPs: Nicola Willis and Paulo Garcia.

It’s an interesting contrast to Labour’s third term list in 2008 – where despite them losing government and a significant number of seats they gained eight brand new list MPs, including now deputy leader, Jacinda Ardern.

In the next few days I’ll try and get the gender calculator working again for both the Labour and National caucus calculators. I have a sneaking suspicion which party it will look better for…


Photo: RNZ / Demelza Leslie

Nats targeting overseas voters

Today an interesting thing happened to me. I visited the Otago Daily Times’ website to take a look at their coverage of Labour MP Clare Curran’s homelessness protest in Dunedin. She’s doing a great job, check it out.

However, one thing jumped out at me on the ODT’s website: a display ad from the NZ National Party asking me to enroll to vote.

Sure enough, I clicked on it and it took me to a National website with lots of information for overseas voting. (You can view a full screenshot of their overseas voting page here)

There are 518,466 people born in New Zealand now living in Australia (including one former Greens senator), so the potential untapped base of voters is large. However, it’s a pretty significant barrier to enroll and then vote from overseas, so it will be interesting to see how many follow through.

I’d assume the Nats have now cookie’d me as a potential overseas voter – it will be interesting to see what re-targeted ads follow.

Some good news for Labour

I’ve updated my polling forecast with yesterday’s Roy Morgan poll, which offers significant respite for Labour. The poll has Labour and the Greens combined on 44%, one point ahead of National who are on 43%.

This works well for Labour in my forecast. As the most recent poll it is weighted pretty heavily, keeping them very close to the 30% mark. They’d have 35 MPs and assuming no electorates changed hands then Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Jan Tanetti, Willow-Jean Prime, Kiri Allan and Willie Jackson would make it into Parliament off the list.

If Labour’s substantial field effort continues it’s not hard to see how they could chip another couple of percent off National – which could mean game over for Bill English. If you want to see a change of government in NZ: go out and knock on some doors.

I’ve also toyed with the possibility of including yesterday’s leaked UMR poll into my forecast. I’m keen to do so, it being a reliable poll, but the sticking point is the way they don’t have numbers for the minor parties. This means I need to change my code to ensure that they are not included as zero values thus bringing down the weighted averages for those parties. Watch this space.

Two big changes in the forecast

Okay, so I messed up.

Basically, I made some mistakes with the code behind my election forecast that adjusted for pollsters’ performance. Thanks to Nigel for the email pointing out my mistake.

So, today there are effectively two updates to the forecast. One is a fundimental change the model I’m using to predict the outcome of the election, and the other is a new data point, yesterday’s Colmar Brunton poll.

The overall result is Greens lose a huge amount of support, and National, Labour and NZ First all gain. To the point where NZ First would eclipse the Greens as the third largest party in Parliament.

On my new numbers the only new Green MPs would be Chloe Swarbrick and Golriz Ghahraman, while Denise Roche and David Clendon would lose their seats.

Marama Fox would lose her seat – the Māori Party would be reduced to a single MP.

Labour would be almost 17 points behind National, but that would be a decent improvement on their crushing defeat under David Cunliffe.

Their new list MPs would be Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Jan Tanetti, Willow-Jean Prime, Kiri Allan, Willie Jackson, Jo Luxton and Liz Craig. Their caucus would be 48.6% female – less than the required 50%.

Apologies for the change in my model, if anyone is interested I can rerun previous predictions with my new performance numbers.

Labour caucus calculator updated

After a tantrum from a candidate, Labour have finally released their 2017 Party List.

I’ve updated my Labour caucus calculator, see the link at the top of this page to check out who would be in and out. Note that the default result setting is what Labour got at the last election, you might want to adjust that to be either my current forecast (34 MPs) or whatever poll you choose to believe.

For what it’s worth, I think it’s a very good list. Will have more thoughts in the days to come.