Happy new year voters! We’re straight back into it with January’s survey including some questions on how we relate to our community, discussed below, and opinions on Public Transport and the National Party which will be in separate posts.
Top line numbers
1298 people participated in the December surveys, including 933 members of the panel. We unfortunately had to remove a number of participants this month, mainly from the National Party short survey (most for failing to provide a valid email address, and 30 of those responses were from the same IP address. We do check, you’re just wasting your time.) The slightly lower response rate was clearly in the 25-45 year old demographic (both women and men) so we hope all our parents are having a wonderful holiday with the kids :). Of those, 1156 completed the vote intention questions. All following numbers are weighted by age, gender and reported 2016 vote.
The primary vote of both major parties are up again this month, but the gap between Labor and the Coalition in the two party preferred stakes has widened another 1.5 points. The 2PPH6 is performing really well, in that it is very accurately matching the sentiment reflected in the long text answers and comments.
You’ll note the ‘not sure’ number has bounced back up again to 7%, after falling last month. A lot of those people are telling us they are now waiting to see who the candidates are before they commit: this is probably not unexpected due to the number of retirements and new candidacies being announced, and a bit of the ‘Wentworth Effect’, people realising they can vote strategically, or that they may get one of these power house Independents that are popping up rapidly.
My Local Green and ALP candidates haven’t a chance, therefore will vote strategically this time around. We simply can’t afford not to be rid of the climate change denying, water corruption Liberal and National parties as a ‘government’. The rest is peripheral.
I ‘m doing this because I want to get rid of Sukkar who is our MP. I would usually vote Green 1st.
Independents only find fertile ground when neither party hits the mark, and that is a very strong message we’re getting from our panel members. The very significant redistributions are also causing some havoc, with people needing to figure out which electorate they are in now, and if they’re in a new electorate, they literally don’t have the option of voting for the local member they know, and don’t have them to compare to either – so it’s a far more complex decision process.
It’ll be a “least worst option” vote unfortunately rather than an enthusiastic vote for a party as they’re all largely disappointing at this point
My confidence in voting for a party has reduced recently.
I am unhappy with the 3 major parties and there are many smaller parties. I am waiting to see which ones will field candidates in my electorate. Due to changes in the boundaries I am changing from a safe ALP to a safe Lib.
Centre Alliance is the only party above the 1% cut off getting bludgeoned by the shift to the undecided vote; the rest is other minor parties and independents, with a lot of traffic in both directions. However, Centre Alliance is getting much coming back, accounting for their fairly dramatic drop over the last two months. Remember, read the vote retention heat map by looking along the rows to see where votes have been gained from, or down the column to see where votes have been lost to. Percentages shown is the percentage of last month’s vote, so the diagonal shows how much of their own vote the party retained.
We continue to track this really interesting flow of votes cycling (for want of a better word through) from their original party, to Independent or not sure, to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, to Australian Conservatives, to the Liberal National Coalition. Sometimes the other way AC-> PHON -> Ind/not sure -> LNP. This month is no exception, with just over a quarter of the AC vote decamping for the Coalition, 13.5% of the PHON vote heading the same way, and the usual vote swapping between the two. It’s becoming one of the most fascinating things in the study that I’m really looking forward to breaking down in the post-election analysis.
(If you’re curious, yes, the Liberal Democrats vote has virtually evaporated following David Leyonhjelm’s announcement he was leaving federal politics, from 1% in November, 0.5% in December to 0.1%, or two loyal voters. But those numbers are far from reliable being that small, we’d just thought you’d enjoy the tidbit.)
This month’s context questions were about your community and your engagement with your community. This is part of the whole idea that voting is a social act, and the extent to which people are connected with their community or note will make a difference to their voting behaviour. Won’t go through all of it, just a few highlights that show some nice differences.
We asked people whether the rented or owned their home, and how long they had been living in both their current home, and more broadly the area (that town, or part of the city like ‘the eastern suburbs’). Obviously someone who has been living somewhere for more than 20 years is going to have much deeper roots in a community than someone who has just moved in.
So there are some trends here worth noting. In the ‘Vote intent by home ownership’ graph we can see that Greens and other (mainly left leaning) micro party voters, as well as undecided voters, are considerably less likely to own a home – around 20% less likely. Note the ‘other’ on this questions are largely people in employer provided housing, aged care or a similar facility, and we do have a few people who do not currently have a fixed address. (One of our favourites lives on his boat.) Note from this first graph too that ‘Not sure’ voters are the only category more likely to be renters than any other category.
Whether you own your home and how long you’ve been in your home are somewhat linked by age – young people are much less likely to either own or have been in a particular home for very long (unless they’re still with their parents) which in part explains why conservative parties are the bottom of both those graphs. It does not explain the not sure voters, who come from across the age and geographic divides. In the bottom two graphs we can see that ‘not sure’ voters are, on average, a resident of both their home and area for less time than voters who have decided (or at least have some idea of) who they’re voting for.
We also asked a couple of perception questions: how the felt about their area with a specific prompt of whether people thought their area was a good place to live, and how secure they felt in the area.
PHON voters are again at the bottom of both graphs, with the most negative appraisal of their community, while independent voters are at the top with the most positive. Other minor party voters, however, think their community is good, but don’t feel as secure as other voters.
We asked about your conversations with neighbours, both how often people talk to them, and whether they talk about politics.
Independent voters are the most chatty with their neighbours (other minor parties were too but they also weren’t need to disaggregate that, but then the numbers are too small, so just ignore that, or if you like – some micro party voters are very chatty and others never chat to people). PHON voters are also pretty chatty, with 38% talking to their neighbours at least a few times a week. PHON voters are also dramatically more likely to be talking about politics than any other voters. Independent voters aren’t shy to have a political conversation either, while more than half of the Liberal/National, Labor, Green and Australian Conservatives voters don’t discuss politics with their neighbours.
Combine all of these you start to get a picture of stereotypical PHON voters as people who have lived in the same area for a long time, likely own their home, know and talk to their neighbours, and are not backwards in coming forwards, but they’re not very happy and are more worried, probably raise a lot of concerns about ‘things not being right’ with the neighbours. Stereotypical independent voters by contrast are, on average, settled in a place but haven’t been there too long, think the area they live is great and feel very secure, and really like having a chat with the neighbours, which may or may not be about political things. And stereotypical undecided voters are more likely to be renting and new to the area, either not sure yet or ‘so far so good’ on where they live, and they will chat to the neighbours but absolutely not about politics.
Thanks as always to all our fabulous participants. Public Transport and Nationals posts up as soon as we can (hold on to your hats for that one!). Not a member of the panel? You can still sign up but you must do so before the election date is set.