'; ?> July 2010 | What The People Want
July 2010
Rudd effect: 7.30 Report
Thursday, 29 July 2010 10:26 | Written by Graham Young

7.30_ReportLast night's 7.30 report featured a cameo appearance by yours truly. This election will be lost and won in the Queensland and New South Wales and they were looking at a series of marginal seats in and around Brisbane.

It's not whether you win or lose
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 20:50 | Written by Graham Young

It’s too early to make a call of the election, but if you’re a forecaster why wait until it’s obvious? So here’s my call. Julia Gillard is going to win. But that doesn’t mean that Tony Abbott can’t be a winner too.

Julia Gillard wins debate and worm steals it
Sunday, 25 July 2010 23:36 | Written by Graham Young

45 percent of Australia's largest focus group chose Julia Gillard as the winner of the Leaders Debate, 34 percent chose Tony Abbott and 20 percent called it a draw.

First preference index tips up
Sunday, 25 July 2010 15:03 | Written by Graham Young

Our first preference index has gone down for the Labor Party. This is different from the quantitative polling done by Newspoll, Nielsen and Morgan suggests. I'm betting this means that support for Labor will fall over the course of the election. While our respondents generally come to the same conclusions as the average voter because our respondents think about politics more than average they often come to those conclusions ealier.

Who is polling in Lilley?
Sunday, 25 July 2010 14:48 | Written by Graham Young

Someone has been polling in Lilley (last Sunday) and our informant thinks it is Labor. It could be either, but as telephone polls cost a lot of money, and as the Liberal Party is unlikely to have Lilley as a target seat, then it probably was Labor. So who is worried? If the ALP then things aren't as good as polling suggests. Or it could be Wayne Swan taking out insurance. Afterall, he did lose the seat in 1996.

Australians tell Gillard to abandon Citizens' Assembly
Saturday, 24 July 2010 00:06 | Written by Graham Young

According to 64% of Australia's largest focus group, the What the people want project run by eJournal On Line Opinion, Julia Gillard's Citizens' Assembly should be abandoned.


Growth, but properly planned - LGAQ population polling
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 21:30 | Written by Graham Young

Views on growth in Queensland are diverse within the community. Roughly half are happy with growth in their area and half unhappy, but their perceptions of what sort of growth is occurring impact on this judgement. If they favour low growth and are in an area where low or nor growth is occurring, then they will be happy with their local area.

Local Govt Calls on State to Adopt Population Inquiry Findings
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 21:01 | Written by Graham Young

With community polling confirming the findings of the McDonald Inquiry Report on the need for a state population policy, LGAQ president, Cr Paul Bell, has called on the state government to incorporate the report’s 18 recommendations in its Growth Management Study.


Refugees will be an election issue
Monday, 12 July 2010 10:19 | Written by Graham Young
On the horizon
For most Australians there are many more important issues than asylum seekers, so how is it that the arrival of refugees by boats so dominates today’s news coverage? And is it a sign that voters in entrenched pockets of incipient racism will dictate the result of the next election, or something else?
One reason is that it is an ideal subject for media coverage with good visuals, handy and archetypal story lines, and plenty of colourful talent ready willing and able to front a television crew and argue their side of the case.
This of course forces politicians to address the issue, but doesn’t explain why, when it ceases to be novel, they keep returning to it.
In our most recent survey on the issue only around 10% of people nominated the issue as a top-of-mind “most important issue”. (This is from a weighted sample of 599). Out of these, 7% used a variation of “immigrant” to describe the arrivals, while only 2% called them refugees and 1% asylum seekers.
The choice of words is significant. Supporters of more liberal immigration laws almost always use “refugee” or “asylum seeker” and tend to be Labor or Greens voters, while Liberals, Nationals and others favour “immigrant”. The first group tends to focus on compassion and humanitarian issues, the second on population policy more broadly as well as the legality of informal population movements.
Yet, when we specifically asked respondents how important the issue was to them in determining their vote at the next election it seemed to dramatically increase in significance with 50% saying it was important and only 25% unimportant.
What is its true significance?
Looking at all the data it appears to be as a marker of voting allegiance. The refugee story neatly encapsulates some of the philosophical themes that underlie the two sides of our political debate.
So it typifies a deep cultural debate which can be boiled down to an argument about two different types of equality – outcome and opportunity – mixed in with conceptions of cultural and national identity. You can almost judge a person’s voting intention by what they say when you force them to take a position on asylum seekers.
It is not an issue on which they are consciously voting, but it exemplifies the deep reasons why they vote the way that they do.
And as equality of opportunity is more associated with the coalition, and is more favoured by Australians in general, every time the issue comes up, it promotes a vote for the coalition.
A slight policy advantage turns into a large thematic one.
Supporters of a tougher policy concentrate on the process and whether it is lawful that people “jump the queue”. They rarely argue that Australia should not accept refugees, but they do argue that we should have control over who we accept. It is an argument about what is fair, given the vast number of refugees in the world and limited domestic resources.
Opponents also talk about fairness, but their fairness is modulated by “compassion”, and the immediate problem of people on our door-step with needs. So they are focused on the outcome, not the process, and our common humanity with the new arrivals. They want to see everyone enjoying what we enjoy.
Of course there is some xenophobia and isolated concern that the refugee groups harbour terrorists and criminals, and will refuse to integrate, as well as suspicion of their religion and customs.
There is also a subsidiary theme, and that is one of the competence of the government. When Kevin Rudd was riding high last year Labor and the Coalition were ranked almost evenly in their ability to handle this issue.
Then, when Rudd was imploding, the Coalition suddenly gained a substantial lead. The evidence suggests this was not because of anything the Coalition said, but because each additional refugee arrival became further proof of government incompetence.
Neither Gillard nor Abbott is likely to unilaterally raise the issue in the election contest. But that probably won’t matter. This is the sailing season, and they’ll both have an eye on the horizon.
Unless the people smugglers are extraordinarily sensitive to internal Australian political conditions, it’s odds on that the refugees will inject themselves into the next federal election, and that’s bad for Labor.

For most Australians there are many more important issues than asylum seekers, so how is it that the arrival of refugees by boats so dominates today’s news coverage? And is it a sign that voters in entrenched pockets of incipient racism will dictate the result of the next election, or something else?