• A Shonky Poll

    What to do to improve the public perception of the newly elected National party leader, when her performance so far has no doubt disappointed the expectations of her supporters?

    The answer is to get a National-supporting newspaper (the Herald) to organise a poll that could be guaranteed to provide an acceptable answer.

    The poll was not – in other words – just any old poll. It asked a very specific question to which there was only one answer. The poll – of only 500 people – didn’t ask, as such polls usually do, whether Judith Collins was doing a good job, or was the preferred Prime Minister, or whether people warmed to her.

    It asked instead whether they thought that National’s prospects had improved with her as leader.

    Those polled were asked, in other words, to compare National’s prospects today with how they had been during the disastrous period of changing leaders repeatedly and of the resignations occasioned by irresponsible leaks of private data and the sending of pornographic messages.

    Not surprisingly, those polled thought that anything was better than those dark days for National. Poor old Todd Muller was apparently required to deliver one last service to his party – to act as the fall guy, the benchmark against which Judith Collins was to be measured.

    We must conclude that it is a measure of National’s desperate need to boost their fortunes that so much care and planning was put into such an artificial operation as this Herald poll.

    It also prompts the question as to what National’s own private polling is showing. It suggests that it shows that the public’s perception of Judith Collins is some way off favourable, and that desperate measures are needed to turn things round.

    Polls must always be taken with a pinch of salt – but, beware, this one is particularly shonky.

    Bryan Gould
    11 August 2020