18 December 2007

TV3, opinion polls and calculating the seats

> 3News: "Poll: Labour and Greens out, National in" Below is a self-explanatory letter to TV3 about their recent public opinion poll item:
From: Dean Knight Sent: Tue 18/12/2007 7:22 p.m. To: mark.jennings@tv3.co.nz; duncan.garner@tv3.co.nz Subject: Poll: Labour and Greens out, National in Kia ora I am writing about your recent item, "Poll: Labour and Greens out, National in" broadcast on 3 News at 6pm on Sunday 16 December 2007. It reported the results of the most recent TV3 / TNS poll. The party vote figures reported in the item were as follows: - National 51.0% - Labour 36.0% - Green Party 4.8% - NZ First 2.2% - Maori Party 2.8% - ACT 0.9% - United 0.7% The item then translated the above percentages into seats the following seats in Parliament: - National 67 - Labour 47 - Maori Party 4 - United 2 - ACT 2 - Progressive 1 - TOTAL 123. Although the assumptions were not made clear, it is apparent that the computation assumed that, for minor parties, existing electorate seats would be retained (ie Maori Party 4, United 1, Progressive 1, ACT 1). The translation of those figures into seats in Parliament, however, appears inaccurate. When those same figures are inputted in Elections' MMP calculator, the results are as follows: - National 67 - Labour 47 - Maori Party 4 - United 1 - ACT 1 - Progressive 1 - TOTAL 121. Accordingly, this item appears to have an significant error, and is therefore in breach of Standard 5 of the Free-to-air Television Code. I suggest the inaccuracy be corrected at the earliest opportunity. To the extent necessary, please treat this as a complaint under Part 2 of the Broadcasting Act 1989. Regards Dean Knight


G7 said...

I'm guessing they didn't use the Sainte-Lague formula but rather tried to do it with percentages instead.

Rich said...

Isn't the use of self-selecting Internet and text "polls" also a breach of the code, in that case?

Or even the "preferred Prime Minister" question when we don't vote for a PM?

Course Outline

Lord Justice Lawton in Maxwell v Department of Trade and Industry [1974] 2 All ER 122 said:

"From time to time ... lawyers and judges have tried to define what constitutes fairness. Like defining an elephant, it is not easy to do, although fairness in practice has the elephantine quality of being easy to recognise. As a result of these efforts a word in common usage has acquired the trappings of legalism: 'acting fairly' has become 'acting in accordance with the rules of natural justice', and on occasion has been dressed up with Latin tags. This phrase in my opinion serves no useful purpose and in recent years it has encouraged lawyers to try to put those who hold inquiries into legal straitjackets.... For the purposes of my judgment I intend to ask myself this simple question: did the [decision-maker] act fairly towards the plaintiff?"

This course examines the elephantine concept of fairness in the law, along with other contemporary legal issues.

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