Marginal seat voters want a change, but a change to prime minister Peter Costello doesn’t count, polling by D&M Research has found.

Worryingly for the Coalition, the mood for a change is stronger in their electorates, by 23 to 15%.

Online polling across seats held by both the Coalition and the ALP by less than 6% identified the main concerns undecided voters have in supporting the major parties.

Voters were concerned about returning the Coalition because of:

  • The “it’s time” factor (18%)
  • Distrust (14%)
  • Peter Costello (14%)
  • WorkChoices (14%)
  • Social policy (12%)

In contrast, voters hesitated supporting Labor because of:

  • The economy (21%)
  • Lack of experience (17%)
  • Distrust (16%)
  • Unions (14%)
  • “All the same” (6%)

Australians appear to be going to the election with a considerable amount of distrust for both the government and the opposition.

There is a strong mood for a change, but the idea of a change to Peter Costello appears to raise significant concerns amongst voters. Indeed, D&M Research found that the idea of PM Costello was twice as big a concern to marginal voters as the Coalition’s management of environmental issues – 14% to 7%.

Voters are worried about aspects of Labor targeted by the Coalition – economic management, a lack of experience and the influence of the trade union movement.

However, Labor’s efforts to minimise difference – its “me-tooism” – appears to be an issue, too, with 6% of people hesitating to vote Labor because the parties are “all the same”.

The study found almost no concern for the prospect of Labor controlling both the Commonwealth and all the state and territory governments.

In contrast, some 7% of marginal seat voters expressed concerned that John Howard and the Coalition have become arrogant and/or out of touch.

Seven per cent of marginal seat voters also expressed concern over Coalition “presumptuousness” and Howard himself.

More details are available from D&M Research.

Surveying was conducted between Thursday 25th and Monday 30th October 2007 among 303 undecided voters in a coverage area representing all marginal seats requiring a swing of 6% or less.