Keep Calm And Carry On: Why the Left should ignore the next round of poll results



BRACE YOURSELVES, COMRADES, for some horrendous poll results. The next round of surveys from Colmar Brunton, Reid Research, DigiPoll, Ipsos and Roy Morgan will almost certainly register a major slump in the Centre Left’s support and a concomitant rise in National’s numbers – quite possibly to 55 percent-plus. Labour and the Greens will both take nasty hits and the Internet-Mana Party (IMP) will be very lucky to make it above 1 percent. Apart from John Key, the only other person likely to be smiling is Winston Peters.

The polls will be bad because the framing of Kim Dotcom’s latest intervention in New Zealand politics has been so near-universally and overwhelmingly negative. From the Right (and Sue Bradford) has come the steady drumbeat that Hone Harawira and the Mana Party have done a “dirty deal” with Kim Dotcom and, in the process, “sold out their principles” for cash.

Amplifying this message, TV3’s political editor, Patrick Gower, has characterised the IMP strategy as “a rort” (a term which normally denotes morally questionable if not downright illegal manipulation) even though what the Mana and Internet parties are proposing is well within the rules of MMP and has been a feature of every election campaign since the latter came in force in 1996. Gower’s destructive message has, however, been repeated, ad nauseum, by an endless succession of editorial writers, talkback hosts, columnists and bloggers.

The presence of former Alliance Party politicians and staffers in the IMP – most notably the Internet Party’s choice for leader, Laila Harré – has only reinforced the public’s perception that Dotcom has unleashed upon New Zealand a fiercely left-wing coalition that may yet play a decisive role in determining whether or not John Key continues to be New Zealand’s prime minister.

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Labour and the Greens, simply by sharing the left of the ideological spectrum with the IMP, will be judged guilty by association with the controversial German entrepreneur. Accordingly, a broad swathe of moderate and centrist voters, when contacted by the pollsters, will register their knee-jerk objections to Dotcom, Harawira, Harré and the IMP by rededicating themselves unhesitatingly to John Key and the National Party. Or, if that is too big a leap, by making positive noises about Winston Peters and NZ First.

The ill-considered outbursts from a number of right-wing Labour MPs over Queen’s Birthday weekend reflected conservative Labour’s instinctive reaction to this sudden and controversial eruption of a new, well-resourced political force to its left. Precisely because they are conservatives, their gut reaction told them that the voting public’s first response to the circumstances of the IMP’s birth would be to punish the entire Left indiscriminately. Their broadcast statements, tweets, and Facebook postings were crude (and ultimately self-defeating) attempts to persuade centrist voters that they should spare Labour from their righteous wrath.

It’s a pity these Labour MPs were so unwilling to hold their nerve and work their way through the emerging situation calmly and logically. Had they done so, their fears would have subsided as swiftly as they had flared.

The Right has been taking free shots against the IMP and its putative allies on the Left because they know this is the last chance they will get to land unanswered blows before Dotcom’s millions begin to take effect. (And rest assured, they will take effect.)

The Right’s principal movers and shakers know – even if their media minions do not – just how much difference a huge campaign war-chest can make to an election’s outcome. They caught a glimpse of what IMP is capable of in the razz-a-ma-tazz of Harré’s introduction. They have also heard the rumours about whole floors of brilliant IT-geeks all beavering away; unheard of political applications; unprecedented polling capability. It’s why they’re hoping against hope that the beating currently being administered to the IMP during this period of “Phoney War” will be sufficiently savage to obviate any chance of its recovery. And a big part of that hope is that the more conservative elements of the Left will help them out by getting in a few kicks of their own.

Hopefully, the more courageous elements within the Labour and Green camps will prevent this from happening. The best thing they can do as the Right strikes out blindly at the IMP is to strongly and confidently articulate their own party’s core messages to the electorate.

They should think of the next round of polls as the Right’s all-or-nothing artillery barrage – something to panic them into a headlong retreat. But, as the shells loaded with appalling results burst over the heads, they should simply tighten their helmet-straps and hold tight.

Behind them the IMP is marshalling its troops, stockpiling ammunition and gasoline, and unloading its tanks from their transporters. The Left has only to keep calm, carry on, and remember that blitzkrieg is a German word.


  1. Yes. It’s Liebig’s law – the greatest effective result is produced by supplying what is missing. The left in NZ have tended to lack funding and technical expertise. For them KDC is brilliant because he supplies both – and the expertise is probably the more critical of the two – being as how that’s where the cash came from in the first place. It would probably work for the right too – their critical limiting constraints are not finance but leadership integrity and broad support. Certainly scrupulous people are not abundant among the public gnats. If only Labour’s lonely neo-liberal rump would learn to stop bleating – they’d attract less wolves. They’d poll better too.

    • Exactly why I walked as a labour voter to the greens I just don’t trust that neo liberal rump.

      Queens birthday weekend outburst just confirm it more for me.

      • I did too – a great bunch the Greens – but I feel I didn’t really leave Labour, so much as they left me. And this is apparently what the likes of Goff & Hipkins mean to do again – I guess career suicide matters less with the gold-plated parliamentary super to fall back on.

  2. Have you noticed that IMP is ahead on the TDB poll today??? Its not representative because it only gives us one vote instead of two, but its very interesting.

    • And, of course, Jay Ray, readers of TDB are a perfect sample of the electorate at large.

  3. COMRADES???? Chris Trotter? interesting choice of word there, and I’m sure it was chosen with an inflammatory intent in mind. And who said the polls are true? Here is that inane reliance on fickel polls that are easily manipulated, and there is no doubt that national use the polls as electioneering tools. This is the same scenario of 2011 repeated, and the theme is clear, to demoralize and dissuade voters from voting, after all, a low voting turnout is what kept john key in office. Despite what the biased media etc say, its not a shoe in for sell out national, who will find, that they cant trample over the people like they have done, and get away with it.

  4. Chris may well be right on this. Today on Trade Me “Community” a revolting tory sludge trap, a poster put up the alleged latest Roy Morgan with National at 52%. Others asked for a link having not been able to find it on the Morgan site.

    So was this a leak? Quite likely but we shall see.

    Trade Me passes under a lot of radars and it is full of tory astro turfers posting every ten minutes or so gems like “rumours are swirling that Philida Bunkle, Sandra Lee and Matt Robson are due to join IMP”! Some of it is obviously beyond rational comment, but a lot of the scrabbling classes participate at Trade Me in the hope of a few miserable dollars.

  5. What do YOU know Chris, that we do not know?

    Are you hot-wired to the pollsters?

    Come on, maybe there will be some negative news, but hey, it cannot be that bad, and cannot last, as the campaign by IMP has not even started. Once they come up with their media and social media action campaign, and possibly more, there will be a different music played on the dumb talk back radio stations, who are only listened to by the over 40s and so.

    Who does take TV serious these days? It is still watched by most, but hey, most take it only as “light” entertainment or infotainment, little else, especially with all these sick and stupid ads run all the time. Nobody wanting to watch a quality movie wants it interrupted every ten minutes by some idiotic inundation of ads telling you what to buy.

    Maybe we will soon get IMP television, maybe Dotcom and his guys are working behind the scenes to build up a new and independent media organisation, to challenge all the status quo stuff, so it will be redundant, except for the over 60 year olds?

    I sense that over 3 million in election campaign will go a bloody long way, and it is more than even the Nats and Labour may have.

    We are in early days, and who knows, the Greens may also be up to some surprises, they are doing better than Labour, and I expect endless more surprises. Only the complacent, lazy, ignorant and stupid will miss the action and the train to the future.

    This election may be the biggest “upset” we have seen since Bob Jones’ NZ Party effort.

    Whether that is so good, I am not sure, but unusual times ask for unusual measures, I suppose.

    • Hey Marc, I take exception to your comments, I am over 65 and dislike ads, we always mute the ads. When at my Grand daughters house it is impossible to do so as they love the adds having disposable income at their disposal and always looking for entertainment.

      Don’t paint the over 65’s as over the hill and don’t know what’s going on, maybe you are just a whippersnapper who thinks you know what is going on. Usually those of us over 65 do know what’s going on as we have had many years of experience which equals knowledge.

      • Huh?

        Where did I ever mention the “over 65” year olds?

        I was only playing with the thought that IMP may create a new media scene that will not really appeal to the over 60 year olds, and the comments about advertising were separate to that. I consider “ads” as an INSULT to my and others sanity and ability to make objective judgments, and it is my clear observation, that most New Zealanders are much more “receptive” to consumerist advertising than any other place i have been to.

        I consider this as a negative, as it distracts from what is really important, as it shapes a consumerist use and dispose mentality, nothing I value.

  6. “The next round of surveys from Colmar Brunton, Reid Research, DigiPoll, Ipsos and Roy Morgan will almost certainly register a major slump in the Centre Left’s support …”….. I don’t give a flying rat’s arse about these polls, the only true poll that matters is the Daily Blog poll, which shows National on 13%, behind IMP on 29%. 76% support for the Left Bloc and 24% for the right-wing Tory, neoliberal monetarists.

    The only way that this will ever change, is when the National Party wakes up to the real poll here at TDB, and starts paying trolls to visit and vote. That way they can rig the votes here, to bring them into line with their version of “reality”.

    I notice that the Nats have a real God complex where they declare at the beginning of just about every sentence that “The reality is……”

    The voting reality was clear, there was a huge divergence between polls and the election results in 2011, that shows “Colmar Brunton, Reid Research, DigiPoll, Ipsos and Roy Morgan”, either don’t get it right, or indulged in …….

    “Lies – damn lies – and statistics,” still there are some easy figures the simplest must understand, and the astutest cannot wriggle out of.’

  7. Im skeptical that Dotcom’s millions will have as big effect as you’re suggesting. Throwing cash towards a very small demographic at a point usually leads to deminished returns…. infact you may see the IMP spending twice as much as they are indicating lol.

      • Not to mention Colin Craig’s Conservatives – another example of money not having the effect it could (although IMP has the benefit of having a electorate seat).

      • You don’t quite get it – funding is a constraint for the left. The right however is saturated with funds, their constraints are other things. You elevate a constraint by supplying the missing element and get a disproprortionate lift until a new constraint is laid bare. In fairly recent history the Gnats were unelectable due to unpalatable leadership – English and Brash. The entrance of Key changed that disproportionately.

        Liebig was a chemist and worked this out from chemical reaction rates and confirmed it in plant studies. Later in life he came to understand he’d uncovered a systemic principle.

        • Wrong as usual Stuart

          The Left has the foot soldiers and cash of the union movement. By using their labour ‘in kind’ they also skirt electoral funding laws.

  8. If the polls are an indicator of how much the populace is in the grip of the MSM, then there are two options:
    1. Shift the populace’s attention away from the MSM
    2. Change the messages in the MSM

  9. The Greens’ free doctors’ visits until 18 and carbon tax cut are not going to have any effect on the polls? Is that what you are saying?

  10. The problem with Labour is that they seem so shit-scared of offending the middle-classes because they think that’s where some of the 800,000 missing voters were, that they are sitting on the political fence.

    They’ll get splinters.

    They’ve got splinters. The left is splintering away from Labour because Labour just don’t really stand for anything any more, like Hone does, like Russell and Meteria do. And Winston’s got the elderly sewn up because of the Gold Card. Key’s got the Baby Boomers covered because he won’t put up the retirement age.

    The 800,000 are not the middle. They are predominantly the left, the victims of neoliberal monetarist policies that have taken root in New Zealand, started by Douglas, Prebble and ACT in the 80′s and exacerbated by Richardson and then softened and spun to a palatable Tory policy of selling only ‘half the assets to mum and dad investors’ con, that was smoke, mirrors and find the peanut under the walnut shell game.

    The poor young, the poor whites, the poor brown need to be represented – by the Left.

    Well Labour. If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything. I loved the Labour monetary policy, because it had something for all in it, for lower and middle NZ and gave us hope of a better future than selling off stuff.

    You need to declare your allegiances – stand for something – support the left and say that you will form a coalition after the election.

    Representation will be truly democratic, rather than the ‘demoncratic’ or ‘croneycratic’ right-wing coalition.

    On 21st September, if Hone gets 15 seats, Greens 25 and Labour 30 that can work as a true percentage MMP representation.
    15/70 IMP = 21% (3 seats in Left-Labour cabinet); 25/70 = 36% (8 seats in Left Cabinet Green) and 43% for Labour 61%, and the Leader PM from Labour because they got the most votes.

    The end is to get rid of Key, croneys and neoliberal monetarists forever.

    The ends justify the means. Cooperation, social and parliamentary justice and trust of the Left is the means.

    • “On 21st September, if Hone gets 15 seats, Greens 25 and Labour 30 that can work as a true percentage MMP representation. ”

      What planet are you on!! Wherever it is, it’s in a galaxy far far away.

  11. Whiny fucken children

    “The Prime Minister must now act to restore confidence in our political system. Labour reiterates its challenge to the National government to remove the coat-tailing provisions from the Electoral Act. Our Members’ Bill is ready to go and we would support its passage prior to the election.

    That’s how Labour are coming across. They must be as terrified of the IMP as National are. They may just have to implement some left leaning policy rather than saying that they’re going left while joining National on the radical right.

  12. This article is completely at odds with the vibes I get from people I talk to. Yes, Labour’s vote will fall at the next survey but only because the IMP vote will rise. Where else can the votes go? It isn’t credible that Labour will be punished for the existence of a new party. Labour will lose votes because it is weak, right-wing and irrelevant- and voters now have somewhere else to park their votes.
    Forget the anti IMP diatribes. The people who will vote IMP dont read newspapers or watch TVNZ news (who does?). This is what is driving the MSM crazy. Their ability to lead a gullible electorate by the nose no longer applies; IMP’s supporters are inaccessible.
    Also dont you ever read the opinion polls on the Daily Blog? I know its a Mickey Mouse Poll and the Blog is a left wing site, but their present poll shows IMP on 29%; above Greens followed by Labour. No amount of mathematical manipulation, short of fraud, can turn this into a 1% no hoper party.
    So far the Internet Party hasn’t put a foot wrong .Unless the John Banks trial derails their progress, passing the 5% hurdle is at least an even chance. In the process they will wipe out most of the minor
    parties including NZ First. Has anyone though of the implications? The wasted vote could exceed 7% which gives an advantage to any party that can pick up votes from the non-voter basket, which only IMP can.
    A government can be formed on a valid vote of 47%. Unless Labour comes to its senses, IMP will leave them with about 25%,: Green will get about 11% , NZ First are out so a left wing government needs an IMP vote of about. 11% …….. or National wins.
    Given the arithmetic, Labour’s squealing rape is tactical lunacy. The fate of the Internet Party is beyond the reach of John Key or the right wing media. It’s fate depends on whether Labour will embrace a new left wing party or persist with its right wing march into oblivion.

    • As I wrote in one of Bombers posts Labour and the Greens will lose some of their soft vote to National as a result of the IMP.

      The thought of the loony left occupying the corridors of power is a scary prospect to them.

      Whilst some on here talk up the possibilities of the Internet/Mana alliance I believe it will do more damage than good to the Left.

      • No, the intervention of the IMP will do more damage to Labour than good. But thats because Labour deserve it. If you really believe that any left wing policy is ‘loony’ left then you are in the wrong party. But dont worry, just stay right there in your comfort zone and get buried with the rest of Labour.

  13. Trotter’s WW2 allusions are appropriate. Hitler also was also relying on ”game changing” secret weapons in 1945 and was living in an alternate reality of imaginary troops and so on, not unlike some of the commenters here who believe TDB poll with IMP on 29% is closer to the truth than the latest Roy Morgan poll showing IMP on 1%.

  14. I don’t know Chris, my 78 year old mother rang last night to tell me the pollsters had rung her, and she’d told them she thought the Internet-Mana Party had given politics ‘a shot in the arm’. That’s a good sign lol!

  15. Chris I think you’re wrong on this one.

    If the Labour Party deludes itself by thinking that IMP is the cause of it’s poor polling then it will fail to address the problems within. Labour was low in the polls LONG before IMP was a twinkle in Dotcom’s eye.

    Labour’s problems are almost entirely self-inflicted:

    1/ A party at war with itself.

    2/ An election campaign based entirely on making personal attacks on individuals rather than offering an alternative vision.

    3/ A least I liked David Shearer, even though he did appear weak. Cunliffe just makes my skin crawl. Judging by the polls, I’m not alone.

    4/ Policy statements that are ‘home goals’. Here I’m thinking of the hilarious transport policy and the recent ducking & diving over immigration numbers. The voter is thinking “If they can’t get even this right, how can they run the country?”

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