United Future – what their departure means for the maths

I’ve just made a quick update to my Election Forecast to show what Parliament would look like on my current party vote projections assuming Labour wins Ohariu (it makes no difference in terms of seat totals if either National or Labour win the seat).

At the end of the day, Peter Dunne and United Future only held one seat, so his disappearnce doesn’t make much difference. It would mean Parliament’s overhang would reduce so there are only 120 seats – but you’d still need 61 seats for a majority. However it would be one less seat that Bill English could rely on.

Will the 5,000 or so people who cast their party votes for United Future all go to National? Even if they all did – would it make a significant difference? Unlikely.

Not with a bang, but a whimper.

Huge movement towards Jacinda and Labour

I’ve updated my Election Forecast with the results of two recently released polls – one from UMR which ended three days ago, and one from Roy Morgan which ended on the seven days ago.

Neither of these polls taken individually offer much interesting new information – they both show a closing of the gap between Labour and National as swing voters start moving towards Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party.

However, what is interesting is that adding these two new data points has tipped my election model substantially.

It’s designed so that individual polls can’t have considerable impact, but the sheer weight of support now behind Labour has meant that with these two new polls my forecast for Labour seats has sky rocketed from 36 to 44 – with them coming from National, NZ First and the Greens.

On these numbers, Jacinda Ardern could form a government with the backing of NZ First and the Greens, and Bill English could form a five-headed hydra of a government with ACT, the Maori Party, United Future AND NZ First.

I would be very worried if I was a National back bencher.



Election Forecast updated

I’ve updated my Election Forecast with the results of today’s Colmar Brunton poll. It’s good news for Labour, and bad news for National and the Greens.

You may have noticed that Colmar Brunton have also done an electorate-level poll in Ohariu which puts United Future’s Peter Dunne 14 points behind Labour’s Greg O’Connor. It’s only one poll with a small sample, but it does not surprise me. If there is any further polling in that seat showing similar results, I’m going to update my forecast to give the seat to Labour, meaning United Future and their over-hang seat will be gone from Parliament.

Two important changes to my Election Forecast

I’ve made two changes to my Election Forecast.

Firstly, I’ve managed to import all the UMR polling data that has been released into the public domain, going back to January this year (though polls older than 90 days will have no impact on the forecast). Given they are polling at least fortnightly I’m really hoping their results continue to be released.

Note that UMR polls don’t release numbers for ACT, Maori Party, United Future or any other minor parties.

I’ve also fixed a bug that was impacting the weightings. The impact of this will be that the forecast will be more heavily impacted by newer, bigger polls. Older and smaller polls won’t have as much of a factor in the result. While it wasn’t my intention, this means the forecast will start to show the impacts of the Jacinda Ardern affect sooner.

Bring on more polls!

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.