Credit where credit’s due, some great work is coming out of the NZ Herald’s Insights data site, like this interactive exploration of how different groups in NZ vote. But there’s a lot more to it than you might think on the surface:
- Best predictors for National voters are places with high proportion of people from European ethnicity.
- In a Labour versus Greens contest, places with higher proportion of educated voters are more likely to vote for Greens.
A comparison between different parties allows readers to see the shift in voting patterns for different population characteristics.
However, it is not possible to infer voting patterns for individuals using this analysis.
Even considering the social patterns, such as higher proportion of European ethnicity, it is useful to consider whether it is the ethnicity or living in a less diverse neighbourhood that has the impact on voting patterns.
[Edited slightly in solidarity with lost subeditors]
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking “Pasifika people all vote Labour” or “small business owners all vote National” or “this person is a middle-aged white male tradie, he’ll be really conservative”. We have to go a lot deeper, and consider each individual’s place in their community, to understand why they vote the way they do.