OPINION

If there is anything you can take away from political polls, it's that you can't trust the polls anymore.

How on earth could you have two polls released on the same night that claim completely different things?

On one TV channel on Sunday night, Labour was sitting on nearly 51 per cent and able to govern alone. On the other, it was down, below National.

Advertisement

On one channel, National is the biggest part on 44 per cent. On the other, National is down to 37 per cent and about to roll Simon Bridges because it's all his fault.

Both cannot be true at the same time.

I have a reasonable idea of what the political parties' own internal polling is showing, or what they are prepared to say it's showing, and both sides seem to be saying roughly the same thing, which is that neither of these polls are totally right.

It's not the case of one of them being rogue and one of them being right. It's a case that neither of them got it right.

From what I'm hearing, the polling is more like this: Labour is at 46 per cent or thereabouts. National is floating around between 40 per cent and 44 per cent, depending on what kind of day they are having. That has not been reflected in either of these polls.

The problem here is, like former Labour Party president Mike Williams says, the market research industry is in crisis.

They can't poll correctly anymore. They got the Australia election wrong, Brexit wrong, Trump's election wrong, and the problem, it seems, has reached us now.

There may be a couple of reasons why this is happening.

Advertisement

For one, we, as a society, shame people for what they think. If someone says they like Donald Trump, they often get shouted down for that, so they stop being honest about what they think and who they support and that, it seems, could even extended to an impartial pollster calling up.

Number two; landlines. I'm in the middle of renovating our house and I've ripped up all the phone cords. We don't have a landline, and I've made the judgment call that the next people who own the house won't want one either. And I hope they don't, because there's no cord even if they do!

But this is the future, and the present. You can't reach people on landlines and there's no White Pages for cell phones, so how do you find the numbers to reach people to get a representative sample for a poll?

You can't. Which means, for now at least, polls, as far as I'm concerned, are worthless. You'd know as much consulting a magic ball.