We’re still waiting for a number of our panellists to complete their by-election post-election questionnaires, but while that’s happening, here’s part two of the Wave 2 results.
First, an update on the sample. It’s balanced out quite nicely, although still has a slight male skew. I want you to remember that the panel has a male skew, it’s important for what’s to follow.
We’ll be setting the control panel soon, and there will be a number of people in the by-election seats drop out, so we may re-open the panel for new members after September. But being this nicely balanced, I want to keep it just there, because it is absolutely singing at the moment (despite the low numbers of Liberal voters).
In wave 2 we asked a number of questions about candidates and leaders, and what was important to voters when considering who to vote for.
First, the word cloud of the top 100 terms people used to describe what they want from a local candidate.
Yeah, this is not rocket science.
Asked if they think a candidate should live in the local electorate, the vast majority of voters definitely did. Only 3.5% disagreed with the proposition, and the 4.7% that gave an ‘other’ were mostly a qualified ‘Agree’: for example, they should live in the electorate, but if the AEC does a redistribution and their house gets redistricted out, well then they should still be allowed to represent their seat. Others commented that it wasn’t as important in urban areas but is essential in rural seats, and some used the ‘other’ option to say it should be mandatory or the law that a candidate has to live in the electorate.
The next question we got quite a lot of feedback on the question itself. Some thought it was inappropriate to ask the question, some thought we were pushing an agenda for quotas or something else, and some just commented that they found the question quite confronting: they had to stop and really think, and it bothered them days later.
It’s a fairly innocent little question to do all that, and we didn’t mean to stir you up that much with it. Sorry. The question was:
“Hypothetically, if all other things are equal and two candidates are equally well qualified, would you rather vote for a man or a woman?”
Note, this question may be subject to response bias, of people answering the way they think they *should* answer, rather than the way they really think, although those kinds of response problems are usually greatly mitigated in online research (as you don’t have the direct human confrontation of telling another person your response). But if even close to a quarter of Australia’s voters would rather vote for a woman, it is significant. The ‘other’ responses were also largely in the ‘yes but’ category (excluding the ones objecting to the question being asked), for example, they would lean towards voting for a woman until parity was achieved in the parliament, and then disregard gender; or that they would only consider gender if they knew nothing else about the candidates.
You remember that this panel is male biased right?
Because on top of a quarter of the panel (both weighted and unweighted) preferring to vote for women, the politicians they like most are women.
280 different politicians past and present, local and foreign, were named by the panel as a ‘politician they really liked’. (Not including Jed Bartlett, but thank you to whoever put that one in there to give me a chuckle.) The leader by a country mile was Senator Penny Wong.
For almost all the parties, their highest mentioned sitting politician was a woman: Penny Wong for Labor, Julie Bishop for the Liberal Party, Sarah Hanson-Young for The Greens, Rebekha Sharkie for Centre Alliance and Pauline Hanson (for herself, I guess). The exception was The Nationals, for whom only Barnaby Joyce made the list. Jacinda Ardern also led the foreign leaders, with more mentions than Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau.
We’ve opted to give you the unweighted figures for this question, as the weighting has a smoothing effect, and turned everything from about rank 5 to 35 to be essentially equal. Additionally, the responses to this question were interestingly non-partisan. Those who gave us multiple names often picked across the spectrum – a response like ‘Penny Wong, Christopher Pyne, Tony Windsor and Jacinda Ardern’ was not uncommon. The common factor between Penny Wong, Tanya Plibersek and Scott Ludlam that boosted them to the top of the list was they they all got mentions from across the political spectrum, many accompanied by ‘this doesn’t mean I like their policies but…’. Scott Ludlam’s mentions were often embedded with heartfelt messages about how much he is missed, including from some hardline conservatives.
Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten and Richard di Natale were all just outside the top 20 and within a few mentions of each other.
Which brings us to leadership. What do you want from your leaders? Here’s the word cloud of the top 100 terms mentioned.
Yeah, that’s not rocket science either.
But how important is the leader, the candidate or the party, in your vote decision?
It’s important to see these two figures together, because it looks as though most people balance all the things together, and very few people are putting all their eggs in the candidate, leader or party basket. The leader is somewhat important, and the party and the candidate is equally important for about half of voters. Then there is about a quarter to a third who vote along party lines, and/or for whom the leader is very important.
Ok then, what behaviours of politicians don’t you like?
Really not rocket science. I’m sure you’re sitting there saying ‘you didn’t need to do a whole survey to find out people hate politicians lying’. By the way, that’s ‘questions’ on the right of the cloud is ‘not answering questions’.
Well let’s see if I can finish up with something that’s not bleedingly obvious. These three questions were part of a section asking people to reflect back on how the country has been going since the last election.
The results for these three questions might have a few Liberals crying in their craft beers. That last question ‘in the right direction or on the wrong track’, is a classic poll question which has been used since the 1920s and used to be a solid predictor of vote intent in the US, but has been waning in its predictive power since the 1980s. Setting that aside, it is a stunning trio of poor numbers for the Turnbull Government.
Up next: the Hanson question results.