John Armstrong makes a Patrick Gower of himself



As the landline polls become more and more flawed as fewer and fewer NZers own them, those who rely on them to claim understanding of the public’s opinion become deeper and deeper entrenched in their myopic defense of them.

Earlier this month, Patrick Gower rushed headlong into a long list of justifications as to why John Key is so loved based on little else than his TV networks poll.

I pointed out how ridiculous his claims were because the very same poll he was relying on to make the assumptions that he did was one of the worst performing polls in the 2011 election…

In the month of the 2011 election, the 3 News/Reid Research poll took 3 polls over the 3 weeks leading up to the election. Remember, National gained 47.3%. In the first poll 3 News/Reid Research gave National 53.3%, in the second poll 3 News/Reid Research gave National 50.3% and in the 3rd poll 3 News/Reid Research gave National 50.8%. They were out by 6%, 3% and 3.5%. Their margin of error was 3.1%

…Gower’s 3 News/Reid Research poll is a joke, yet he was more than happy to create a vast set of conclusions pimping for Key’s popularity.

This is self-sourcing propaganda at its least perceptive and least detectable. No wonder 800 000 enrolled electors just didn’t bother voting last election. Spend 3 years endlessly telling NZers that over half the country love John Key and allow apathy to do the rest.

Sadly this self-deception isn’t limited to TV journalists. In John Armstrong’s recent column in the Weekend Herald, he makes a Patrick Gower of himself by doing the exact same thing based on the Herald-DigiPoll results claiming almost half the country love John Key.

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Armstrong makes the same mistakes by assuming his assumptions are valid about why NZ loves John Key all based on the Herald-DigiPoll.

So how precise is the Herald-DigiPoll?

Remember when John Banks ran against Len Brown? Remember what an absolute landslide Len Brown won by? Remember how Banks was smashed from here to high heaven and given an electoral teeth kicking unseen in modern political times?

Remember that?

Well what did the Herald-DigiPoll have to say?

Poll shock: It’s neck and neck
Len Brown: 29.6 per cent
John Banks: 28.7 per cent

The race for the Super City mayoralty is going down to the wire – Manukau Mayor Len Brown and Auckland City Mayor John Banks are almost tied in the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey.

COUGH, COUGH, SPLUTTER, SPLUTTER. Neck and neck was it? Armstrong, like Gower before him, isn’t divining oracle-like foresight, he is inadvertently replacing David Farrar as the Government’s online cheerleader and spin doctor.

I said of Gower that ‘he isn’t giving an educated opinion, he is white noise’. Armstrong similarly isn’t giving an informed thought, he is grey noise.


  1. Apart from the good questions that you raise I find the use of polls so far out from an election is problematic.

    I doubt that people ‘think’ about politics in everyday life in terms of ‘preferred leader’, it’s much more likely they are thinking about cost of living, jobs etc. Framing issues around personalities takes the focus off what concerns people.

    The mainstream media need to focus on issues, and not get sold on presidential style campaigns.

  2. I’m presently switching over from a landline to just a cell phone. I have yet to buy a dongle (which will allow me to access the internet on my PC without a landline) but when I have, I will be cancelling my landline and still keeping all my services plus a lot more, and still saving myself about $40 a month. Given that I’ve lived without a cell phone till now and am only doing it for mostly money saving and convenience, I think my personal example shows just how much mobile phones are taking over landlines as the norm.

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