Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
With two-thirds (65.6%) of Australia’s total population enrolled to vote this Saturday – and a larger number than ever (just over 14 million), the countdown is on to Australia’s biggest democratic process in history. In this August 2010 national survey of voters, social researcher Mark McCrindle looks at Australians’ attitude to voting.

Swinging voters dominate

The focus on swinging voters is growing because as a proportion of the electorate they are growing. This national survey showed that just 1 in 3 voters support the same party every time (33.6%) while the majority (56%) state that they vote for the party with the best policies at the time.

A poll on polls

Pollsters take note: an answer to a poll and one’s actual vote don’t necessarily correlate. When asked whether their answer to an opinion poll would correspond with their final vote, two-thirds of voters said yes, but one-third (32.8%) stated that their final vote could change from their opinion poll answer.

Aussies have always been proudly independent although in a community-minded way. This attitude has shown itself for years in a lack of loyalty to denominations, brands, and now political parties” states Mark McCrindle.

Taking our democratic right seriously

Less than 1 in 10 voters (9.9%) has ever knowingly registered a donkey or informal vote. And less than 1 in 20 voters (4.9%) say that they do not take their vote seriously.

Less than 1 in 5 voters (18%) would be at all influenced in their vote by “underdog” status.

Indeed 45.2% of Australians enjoy (to some extent) the voting opportunity while a minority of 17% state that they do not enjoy it.

And it seems we enjoy the analysis afterwards: 31.4% of voters say that they “always” watch the election night coverage with 50.1% stating that they “sometimes” watch it.

Further, almost 3 in 4 voters (73.1%) support our system of compulsory voting (with 26.9% not in support of it).

While Australians have never had to fight for political freedom or constitutional independence, we still value our democracy and take the voting process surprisingly seriously. Protests movements encouraging Australians to “donkey vote” never get much traction in Australia” continues Mark McCrindle.

Talking politics

Four in five Australians (80.7%) discuss their vote with others- particularly spouse/partner (58%), friends (42.7%), parents (27.2%), siblings (20.2%) and work colleagues (18.3%).

 Big Australia?

Very few Australians support unconditional national population growth. 28.6% of Australians support Australia reaching 36 to 40 million by mid-century but only with the right investment in infrastructure and planning. However the majority (71.4%) currently do not support such growth.

Interestingly when it comes to managing population growth, more Australians believe that the major parties (46.5%) rather than the Greens and other minor parties (7.1%) would do a better job. However 46.4% state that they are not confident with any party’s position on this issue.

Most Australians acknowledge that the richness of our lifestyle comes from the input of so many cultures. We are a nation of migrants and this diversity is literally in our DNA. In this land of the “fair go” a fortress mentality will never resonate. However in the suburbs of our land population growth is a hot issue- not debated but experienced - in longer commute times, hospital waits and rising house prices.” observes Mark McCrindle.

Save the trees

Almost three in four Australians (73.8%) are not at all influenced by political handouts given out at polling places, and less than 1 in 5 (19%) using them for guidance on preferences.

For a snapshot of the emerging generations and insights into the future come to The ABC of XYZ Masterclass:

Source: McCrindle Research, AEC.
Research method: National representative survey of 400 Australian voters conducted in August 2010 – the research panel of McCrindle Research.

For comment or analysis: Mark McCrindle P: 02 8824 3422 M: 0411 5000 90
For general enquiries, please contact Francesca Dalton P: (02) 8824 3422 or E: [email protected]

Contact Profile

McCrindle Research

McCrindle Research: Taking the Pulse of Society
At McCrindle Research we exist to conduct world class research and communicate the insights in innovative ways.

Our reputation as the gold standard in research has led us to be engaged by some of the largest organisations in Australia and the Asia Pacific. We are a full service research agency commissioned to conduct varied research projects by multinational companies, government organisations and the not-for-profit sector. We specialise in analysing social trends, demographic shifts, generational studies, consumer insights and employment behaviour.

The ABC of XYZ Masterclass - 20 August 2010 Melbourne, 27 August 2010 Sydney.

This conference is designed to give insights into best-practice marketing strategies and recruitment and retention tactics that can improve your organisation's engagement with Generations Y & Z.

Francesca Dalton
P: 02 8824 3422
M: 0411 616 240


election, australians, voting, generation y, polls, big australia, demographics



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