There has been some talk about a vote for TOP being a wasted vote. Let’s look at what the evidence actually tells us. We commissioned a market research company to investigate voters’ attitudes to our party.
(1) Their polling indicates that 1.5% of New Zealanders are committed TOP voters, no matter what. This aligns well with the landline poll results that have us hovering around 2%.
(2) It indicates a further 3% are “most likely” to vote TOP. This takes us to 4-5%. This result aligns well with our internal internet-based polling which tends to be 1-2% higher than the official polls (which is why we question those landline polls!).
(3) Finally the market research indicates another 11% are “considering” voting TOP.
That isn’t bad for a new party; an independent, market research-based finding that a possible maximum of 15.5% may vote for TOP. To make the 5% threshold we only need to convert 1 in 20 of those who are “considering” voting for us.
So – what is the biggest barrier to converting enough of this last 11% into a result at the ballot box? In our view it’s the wide promotion of published polls during the election campaign.
One of the key concerns of the 14% of uncommitted voters may vote for TOP, is their fear of a wasted vote. It’s here that the published polls become a self-fulfilling prophecy. A poll simply reflects at a point in time, who people would vote for, and so for TOP, those polls pick up the committed 1.5% vote. But – and this is where the widespread misinterpretation of poll numbers actually influences the election outcome – the public interpret that as how many votes TOP will get on the day. Which of course is wrong – it’s how many are committed if the election were held today.
Widely published and promoted polls rapidly become a self-fulfilling prophecy. They are particularly damaging on parties trying to break in, that have to overcome the 5% barrier in order to begin their build. When you add this to the attitude of the mainstream media to new parties outside Parliament, one wonders how new ideas ever get presented to the voting public.
We are confident that many more than 5% of voters agree that TOP’s policies are required to deliver real change. C’mon, be brave, vote TOP for real change.