Jun 2, 2015

Essential: two to one in favour of same-sex marriage (but no vote-shifter)

Today's Essential Report shows Tony Abbott recovering in the eyes of voters back to the levels of December last year, when they merely disliked him. But there's still no budget bounce.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Australians support same-sex marriage by a margin of about two to one, today's Essential Report finds, but 40% of voters say it makes no difference to how they'd vote. Fifty-nine per cent of voters support allowing same-sex marriage, the same level as in February, compared to 55% in December and 60% in June 2014; 30% oppose it, compared to 28% in February and 32% in December. Greens voters support it 93%-3%; Labor 70%-21% and Coalition voters 49%-38%. Women are more strongly in favour of same-sex marriage, 64% to 25%, compared to men -- 54%-34%. However, it makes no difference to 40% of voters what the position of a candidate or party is on the issue.

Coalition voters are the ones most unlikely to change their vote for pro-same-sex marriage candidates, while 46% of Labor voters are a little or a lot more likely to vote for a candidate or party supporting same-sex marriage. Just 15% of all voters say they are much less likely to vote for a supporter of same-sex marriage, and 19% of Liberal voters. This appears to discredit the argument put forward by hardline same-sex marriage opponent Cory Bernardi, who has warned that there would be "huge consequences" for the Liberal party if it backed same-sex marriage in opposition to the party base. In fact, barely a fifth of Liberal voters are likely to change their vote, and those opposed to same-sex marriage are unlikely to switch to Labor, the only voting choice where their vote is unlikely to flow back to the Liberals.

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