Some correspondence available on my recent series (see Part 1 and Part 2) on ACT's poll ratings:
I know you prefaced you comments by saying that you are not a statistician, but I think you should leave the commentary on polling to people who are a little more informed.
"ACT supporters are perhaps actually overrepresented in opinion polls, due to the fact that they are likely to be older and thus more likely to be at home when rung by polling companies"
shows your complete ignorance of polling techniques. Polling firms use quotas to ensure that they obtain a representative sample - once we have enough old people in the sample we stop ringing them, while young people are more difficult to contact due to the prevalence of cell phone only households, we continue to ring until we reach quota, or weight responses.
There is an argument that the green vote is actually over stated, due to the low turn out of younger voters which is not factored into the some of the demographic models that some NZ pollsters use.
As you are student of political science, I would suggest that you take a few undergrad papers in opinion polling before you express an opinion on something you know little about.
It's tempting to fight fire with fire. I welcome genuine feedback, but I don't think it's fair to make patronising comments to me, especially when your own background is hardly an independent one. I am upfront about my research interest in ACT, you should be upfront about your partisan one.
To clarify, Lysander Research is a front for ACT. I found the following information revealing (source: http://groups.google.com/group/nz.general/browse_thread/thread/fc7dff3374919d2f?pli=1)
"There is a website lysanderresearch.com that never seems to work. They seem to have done "polling" for Dick Quax who stood for Parliament as an ACT Party candidate. Now they appear to be doing "polling" for Rodney Hide. The pollster was evasive when I asked if he was connected with a polical party. So if Lysander Research phones anyone, ask if they are polling for ACT. And where's their office and why don't they have a website that works."
"Companies Office records show the involvement of a Stuart Wilson in
Lysander Research Ltd. A whois lookup for lysanderresearch.com shows the registrant as Stuart Wilson, ACT NZ, Suite 5, Level 2, 309 Broadway, Newmarket."
"Thanks, I thought as much. I did ask the interviewer if he was
connected with a political party and he said no. A typical ACT liar."
It sounds like your own polling methods are somewhat questionable. And your criticism of my commentary does not even focus on the key point: ACT has polled better in opinion polls immediately before elections since 1999 than it actually does on election day. I do not need to have taken "a few undergrad papers in opinion polling" before making this observation.
The statement you chose to critcise was merely an attempt at a possible, plausible explanation for this phenomenon. Notice that I caged this with "perhaps", precisely because this was merely a supposition.
As for your explanation of polling company methods - my "completely ignoran[t]" view is this. Ringing landlines to "reach quota" doesn't replace actually ringing mobiles - you are just getting youth who have access to landlines, which is not the same thing. Given overseas pollsters ring mobiles using random dialling techniques, I'm surprised your company doesn't do this.
And seeing you are a professional, please offer some supporting evidence about your "argument" about the Green vote being overstated by "some" polling companies.