I recently conducted a brief survey of politically-minded Facebook and Twitter users to gauge partisanship online. There were 239 respondents in total. I must stress that the poll is unscientific. The sample is too small to be statistically significant and, as with any opt-in survey, there is a self-selection bias. So it is not representative of the voting public. But it does give some insight into the leanings of those who engage in political discussions online.
The two main questions I asked were, “Which party do you feel closest to?” and “If a general election were held tomorrow, which party would you vote for?”. Both of these questions were answered by all 239 respondents. Here are the final results:
Which party do you feel closest to?
|I don’t feel close to any party||18.41%|
If a general election were held tomorrow, which party would you vote for?
|Advance NZ/Public Party||20.09%|
|I don’t know||4.27%|
Yes, you read that right – 20% said they would vote for the new Jami-Lee Ross/Billy Te Kahika-led Advance NZ. That was slightly higher than the number who intend to vote Labour and more than twice the number voting ACT.
Interestingly, 30% answered ‘Other’ to the question about which party they felt closest to. This is also reflected in the level of support for the NewConservatives. Again, I must emphasise that it is not a scientific poll. But it does suggest to me that support for minor parties is remarkably strong online. This appears to come disproportionately from the right.
In my view, that isn’t something to be dismissed out of hand.