[Marxism] Interesting figures from the 2007 Australian Election Study

n.fredman.11 at scu.edu.au n.fredman.11 at scu.edu.au
Wed May 28 08:09:52 MDT 2008


Some may have seen the report in Monday’s Sydney Morning Herald on the recently released results of the 2007 Australian Election Study http://tinyurl.com/4j6q7q. It presented some evidence about the fairly obvious point that opposition to Work Choices were a key determinant of the results particularly among workers. 
 
The survey is part of a series that’s been going since 1987, and consists of a survey of about 1800 people, giving the results a margin of error (for results about the whole sample) of about 3%. These and other academic surveys are available to anyone online from http://assda.anu.edu.au (and probably similarly in other countries), and online you can fairly easily do cross-tabulations and fancier statistical correlation and regression things with lots of variables about demographic factors, votes in this and previous election, attitudes to a range of issues and importance re voting attached to those issues (though I think to actually download the data file you have to be from a paying affiliate institution to the data archive). 
 
To actually statistically “prove” that say Work Choices swung the election is a complicated examination of vote switching, attitude on this issue and the importance attached it, with respect to the effects of other issues, not to mention if you want to factor in class. And a fixed response questionnaire, and any single time-shot study, has inherent limitations and needs to be studied with other forms of evidence. But just gathering a few figures is interesting. 
 
According to the survey, (rounded) first preference votes for the house of reps in 2004 were:
 
Liberal: 46%
National: 4%
Labor: 31%
Greens: 8%
Democrats: 3%
Other: 4%
 
And in 2007:
 
Liberal: 38%
National: 4%
Labor: 45%
Greens: 8%
Other (including Democrats): 3%
 
Re the vote switchers (NB the numbers voters of each party are smaller so the error is higher)
 
The votes of the 2004 Liberal voters were split thus in 2007: 72% Liberal, 19% ALP, 3% National, 2% Greens. 
 
The votes of the 2004 ALP voters were split thus in 2007: 4% Liberal, 89% ALP, 1% National, 4% Greens. 
 
The votes of the 2004 National voters were split thus in 2007: 18% Liberal, 10% ALP, 61% National, 4% Greens. 
 
The votes of the 2004 Democrat voters were split thus in 2007: 10% Liberal, 52% ALP, 4% National, 23% Greens. 
 
The votes of the 2004 Greens voters were split thus in 2007: 5% Liberal, 42% ALP, 0% National, 52% Greens. 
 
The 2007 Labor vote was in terms of who these voters voted for in 2004: 61% Labor, 20%, Liberal, 1% National, 3.5% Democrats, 7.2% Greens. 
 
Re attitudes towards Work Choices and vote switching (NB even smaller numbers):
 
Of those who changed their vote from Liberal to Labor: 4% strongly approved, 14% approved, 54% disapproved, 28% strongly disapproved.
 
Of those who changed their vote from National to Labor: 0% strong approved, 0% approved, 71% disapproved, 29% strongly disapproved.
 
Of those who changed their vote from Labor to Greens: 0% strong approved, 23% approved, 36% disapproved, 41% strongly disapproved.
 
(hmm 23% this switch on a right-wing basis? But this is only 8 people in the sample so the error is about 20%!)
 
Of those who changed their vote from Greens to Labor: 2% strong approved, 4% approved, 49% disapproved, 46% strongly disapproved.
 
Some of the attitude questions are related too, especially in terms of change. For the question "Big business ahas too much power", the following are figures for strongly agree and agree for several surveys I happen to have collated:
 
…strongly agree…agree
 
1984…23%...44% 
1995…19%...46%
2003…14%...45%
2005…25%...36%
2007…25%...44%
 
I.e. Work Choices (mooted a while before the 2005 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes cited from above) has not been great corporate PR. 




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