Political Polling Guidelines

NOTE: Research Association New Zealand is a professional organisation for people working in the research and insights industry, our members abide by the NZ Political Polling Code.

Research Association New Zealand DOES NOT UNDERTAKE ANY POLITICAL POLLING and does not pre-approve polls prior to release.

NZ Political Polling Code

Download the 2020 NZ Political Polling Code


Revised Polling Code 2020

With the election fast approaching Research Association New Zealand (RANZ) has updated its Political Polling Code. The Code provides rules for RANZ member organisations who conduct and report on political polls, plus best practice guidelines for those publishing stories on poll results.

The Code review was conducted by a team of polling experts and takes into account technology changes in data collection and reporting methodologies since it was first introduced in 2014.


Released 26 June 2020

Advance NZPP

The most recent political poll published in New Zealand is the One News Colman Brunton Poll. Colmar Brunton is a member of the Research Association of New Zealand and abides by the NZ Political Polling Code which is overseen by RANZ.

Yesterday's Colmar Brunton poll included the Advance New Zealand Public Party. See the One News publication of that poll here (https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/1-news-colmar-brunton-poll-labour-and-greens-in-driving-seat-but-act-still-strong) showing Advance at 1%. 

There is always a lot of polling news at election time and news organisations choose what to include in items about those polls. Those choices are out of the hands of the polling companies.

RANZ Board. 29 September 2020.

ESOMAR: FAQs for Opinion and Election Polls

Why do people conduct polls? Why do election polls get it wrong sometimes? Should all polls be vetted by the government?
The ESOMAR Government Affairs and Professional Standards team has compiled a list of FAQs for journalists and opinion leaders on Opinion and Election Polls to give confidence in tackling the latest polls.


Rogue results or Rogue events?

The lead up to any election is always characterised by unscripted moments, own goals and the occasional red card. The 2020 election season has been particularly dramatic, especially for the National Party. The ever-changing political landscape making it hard for the voting public and the pollsters to keep up with what’s coming next.

As shown below in the timeline, in mid to late May, the two public polls ColmarBrunton and Reid Research recorded very similar results for the Simon Bridge’s National Party (29% and 30.6%), which culminated in a leadership challenge and led to Todd Muller taking over as National Party leader. The next ColmarBrunton poll in 20th-24th June recorded a solid recovery for National, up 9 points to 38%. But the period from July 8th to July 21st was an especially turbulent period for the National Party, involving the resignation of a leader, the standing down of an ex Party President and a junior MP, the appointment of a new leader Collins, and then another series of stand downs, demotions and sackings.

Reid Research started polling on the 16th, just as the centre of this turbulence was passing over the National Party. Given these events it’s perhaps not surprising that National polled lower than the pre-Bridges leadership change (25% vs 30.6%). Note that this result was still higher than its worst election night result of 22% (2002).

The CBR poll started 9 days after the Reid Research poll, with relatively clean air. Even so, National’s result with Collins as leader at 32% is only 3 points higher than National’s vote when Bridges was toppled (29%). Collins has to consider as possibilities that she hasn’t made much difference from Bridges' low point and is doing worse than Muller (6 points) or acknowledge that she has brought the party forward from the abyss of the events between July 8th and July 21st. The latter supports the notion that the Reid Research poll was an accurate and fair measure of support for a party dealing with a perfect storm of rogue waves between July 8th and the 21st
Released 31 July 2020

NZ Electoral Polling Results 2002-2017

Results of polls for the last six elections can be found in the tables below.

Please note:

  • There are two tabs for each election - one showing the election results and poll results in the week leading up to the election.
  • Only polls conducted within a week of the election date are included.
  • The averages at the bottom of each differences tab are actual average percentage point differences.
  • The first number in the "AVG PP Diff” row of each table is the average of the absolute values of the PP differences.

'Understanding and Interpreting Polls' - a free AAPOR/ESOMAR/WAPOR course for journalists Download information here

British Polling Council
- an association of polling organisations that publish polls.
Comparison of opinion polls for general elections

RANZ Polling Statement June 2019

Following the release of two conflicting polls in June, the Research Association NZ statement can be downloaded HERE.

Other resources

'Understanding and Interpreting Polls' - a free AAPOR/ESOMAR/WAPOR course for journalists Download information here

British Polling Council - an association of polling organisations that publish polls.

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