Aug 6, 2012

Polling drives Labor’s push on gay marriage in Tasmania

Tasmanian Labor is in the polling wilderness. Which explains why the the state government will now act on gay marriage, writes political correspondent Bruce Montgomery from Hobart.

Why is the Tasmanian Labor government about to act on gay marriage when, 15 years ago, it was just about the last in the civilised world to decriminalise s-x between consenting male adults?

Why is the Tasmanian Labor government seeking to lead the way nationally on caged hens and ending the use of sow stalls for pregnant pigs?

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7 thoughts on “Polling drives Labor’s push on gay marriage in Tasmania

  1. Charles Richardson

    “Despite Labor’s appalling stocks, the Greens and Labor, in their combined vote, are closer to 50% than the Liberals.” The latest poll, as per the table, shows Labor and the Greens each on 17% and the Liberals on 38%. 17+17 is 34. I would have said 38 is closer to 50 than 34 is. Am I missing something?

  2. Kevin Bonham

    A few comments on Bruce Montgomery’s analysis of Tasmanian state polling and its connection (or not) to state Labor’s support for same-sex marriage. Firstly a party does not usually need “49.8%” of the primary vote in an electorate to win three seats – preferences from other parties and a high exhaust rate mean that quite often something around 46% is sufficient, although in rare cases over 50% might not do it because of leakage. Secondly, the figures Montgomery is using come from a very raw assessment of voter intent (before the unsure voter has even been asked if they have a preference) and even then EMRS records much higher “undecided” rates than other comparable pollsters. Even on the raw rate, the Liberals have exceeded Labor and the Greens combined in the last four polls. EMRS used to use the raw figure as its headline rate and were much criticised for so doing, and have now stopped. The current EMRS headline rate for the Liberals is 49% and in my view that is much more accurate (the headline figure they are now using tends to overstate the Green vote and understate Labor’s). On the May 2012 figures, the Liberals would almost certainly win majority government if an election was held now. (See http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php/article/greenslabor-tie-is-meaningless for a detailed analysis.)

    All that aside, the argument that this is about shoring up the combined Labor/Green vote does not follow anyway since same-sex marriage is an issue on which if Labor was losing votes to anyone by not taking a clear pro-reform stance, it would have been the Greens not the Liberals. A more convincing answer to the question of why Labor is generally governing in what seems to be a Green-ish manner (beyond the specific example of same-sex marriage) is simply that it is in coalition with the Greens.

  3. Matthew Jones

    Bruce, Constitutional Law 101 says that “federal law will prevail” over State law only to the extent of any conflict. As Howard effectively dealt the Feds out of same-sex marriage there is a good chance that any State law covering it will prevail if there is found not to be any conflict with Federal law. Similarly, all the blather from pollies about a “High Court challenge” will probably never amount to anything because of the same principle.

  4. Gavin Moodie

    Thanx for this report, which explained a bit.

  5. Karen

    Interesting analysis.

  6. Karen

    I used two complimentary words, why am I in moderation?

  7. Gavin Moodie

    @ Karen

    You raise 1 of the great Crikey mysteries. Crikey moderation is opaque and Crikey has declined to clarify its policies and processes, despite frequent requests. From experience we infer that posts are automatically referred to moderation if they use naughty words, refer to notoriously naughty people or include urls. Beyond that, I suspect that a Crikey machine refers a random sample of posts to moderation.

    Crikey’s moderation guidelines state that ‘If you wish to complain about our comment moderation, please don’t do it in the comments. You’re welcome to email us with any feedback’.

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