27 Jul 2020

Gerry Brownlee questions methodology used in latest Newshub Reid Research poll

10:44 am on 27 July 2020

The National Party's deputy leader is questioning the methodology used in the latest Newshub Reid Research poll, which shows the Opposition sinking to new lows.

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National Party deputy leader Gerry Brownlee. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

The latest Newshub Reid Research poll, released last night, has put the Labour Party on 60.9 percent and National on 25.1 percent, as the election draws closer.

The National Party released a statement just one minute before the news of the poll, dismissing it as rogue.

"I don't believe it at all, I think it's entirely out of kilter, it's absolutely opposite to what we're hearing in the electorates. The poll itself doesn't go anywhere near where our polling is, the polling itself is clearly wrong," party leader Judith Collins said.

National's election campaign chair and deputy leader Gerry Brownlee told Morning Report that he meant no disrespect to the people who participated or those at Reid Research, but questioned the methodology being used.

"[The methodology used] potentially could not be random. When they applied that methodology, you're going through selecting people who meet certain criteria that you want to have inside your polls - age groups and diversity, but that doesn't mean you are always getting a truly random sample of what people are thinking politically."

He reiterated the same message he had from last night, that statistically one in 20 polls would be wrong and that this was that one.

The poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percent, and was done between 16-24 July with 1000 people surveyed - the majority by phone and the remainder via an internet panel.

In a statement, a Newshub spokesperson said this was the same methodology used in previous Newshub-Reid Research polls.

Brownlee acknowledged that the party had been through some turbulent times lately, but he did not believe it would have resulted in such a low number at the polls.

"This is drastic and inconsistent with our own polling ... and also reception on the ground is very important, you know instinctively from the way people deal with you whether or not you're in political trouble and that's just not the feeling that's there at the moment.

"We don't generally talk about our polls, they show a much higher figure than that, all I'll say is [it's] closer to the Waikato stuff that was published in the Sunday Star Times yesterday."

"I don't think that's where the country is at. We are facing some very tough economic times.

"The deep history of the National Party is one of solidarity, this is an extraordinary set of circumstances and events. We are heading towards the sort of economic conditions that a National Party government or National Party in government has been very good at getting us through."

On the other hand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told Morning Report that while she acknowledged the polls showed a significant gap between Labour and the Opposition, it did not mean that would be replicated on election day.

"When it comes to the trends we've seen a strong indication of - what I would say is most likely - support for the government's response to Covid and the recovery plan around Covid.

"For us, it's going to be about maintaining and earning that confidence as we head into the election."

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas

Ardern said regardless of what the polls showed, she was not banking on anything.

She did not believe the poll was rogue, but said she was consistent in treating them generally with "healthy skepticism".

Asked whether the party would look at governing alone or with support, Ardern said: "Put that question to me if that's where we end up, that's not something I'm banking on."

Labour could continue to work with New Zealand First or the Greens if elected again, Ardern said.

"I'd like to think that we've demonstrated that we can work with both ... despite - and you've seen this in recent days - some quite different views from both political parties, but everything we've done, we've done with consensus."

In terms of other parties that could be on the negotiating table with Labour, Ardern said it was most likely to be those already in parliament.