Vote Compass first results: Economy the top issue

Published: 1:27PM Saturday August 23, 2014 Source: ONE News

Men and women value different policy areas in the New Zealand election campaign, according to early results from the Vote Compass survey.

More than 200,000 people have completed the survey which calculates how the policies of different parties line up with your own personal views.

It's the most sophisticated voter attitude survey ever taken in New Zealand and is being hosted by ONE News, working with a team of New Zealand political scientists and researchers based in Canada.

Vote Compass data suggests there's a difference between what men and women think are the most important issues.

Men rate the economy over and above every other category. But women say inequality, the cost of living, health and education are more important to them than the economy.

"Women think with their heads and their hearts and sometimes men can be a bit more black and white, straight down the line," Dunedin voter Jo Treweek told ONE News.

Mosgiel voter George Evans says: "It's because most of the women run things in the household and they're more affected by that, whereas the men just float around, go and have a few beers."

Overall, the economy is the issue most important to people, based on the responses of about 37,000 people who filled out the Vote Compass survey in the first two days.

The economy is closely followed by inequality and the cost of living. Then comes healthcare, education, taxes, law and order, environment, accountability, and jobs.

"Health and education are up there as we would expect," says Jennifer Lees-Marshment, Associate Professor at Auckland University, an expert in political marketing.

"But there's also something else in terms of the inequality and the taxes, which suggests that maybe that although we're said to have a rock star economy that people aren't feeling the benefit of that as much as the National Government would like us to believe."

There's been a lot of debate about foreign ownership of assets so far during the election campaign. But that issue only just makes the top 10, after jobs at number 9. And immigration is third from the bottom of 19 issues that feature in the Vote Compass results.

Researchers say Vote Compass results also show young people aged between 18 to 34 are very concerned about education.

"That's one of their top priorities," says Ms Lees-Marshment. "And that is really interesting to us because it suggests some of the parties who've talked about education, free tertiary education and access to education, are picking up on an important area in this group that perhaps some of the other parties are neglecting."

Researchers are working to produce more detailed results on the issues Vote Compass respondents say matter the most.

The findings are based on 36,797 respondents to Vote Compass from August 17-18. Though Vote Compass is not a poll, respondent data are weighted using the latest census data to approximate a representative sample of the New Zealand population.

Take part in Vote Compass at

Once you've finished, Vote Compass compares your answers with the policy positions of the parties then displays your position on a grid, showing where you stand in the overall political landscape. If you wish, you can choose to share your results page on social media.

Learn more about Vote Compass here.