Voice Referendum: Risk-Averse Voters Swing Result, Poll shows

Risk Averse Voters Give No Campaign an Edge In Voice Referendum

Risk Averse Voters Are Giving the No Camp A Significant Edge in The Voice Referendum Campaign

New research from DemosAU shows the Voice referendum is being swung by a significant proportion of voters who are concerned about a risk of amending the constitution.

Queensland-based pollster DemosAU has surveyed 7,341 Australians over the past three months, including 2504 in September to produce an MRP model of voter attitudes, and our research shows a 50.5%-34.5% lead for No, with 15% still undecided.

When undecided voters are asked to indicate which way they they are likely to vote, the No vote rises to 54.1%, while Yes rises to 38.2%, with 7.7% still undecided.

To better understand the underlying attitudes motivating yes and no voters, we presented respondents with a list of seven statements (three pro-voice, three anti-voice and one don’t know).

Among the pro-yes statements, 8% of respondents agreed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are disadvantaged and need a Voice to Parliament, 22% agreed Indigenous Australians deserve recognition in the constitution and 4% believed it will help stop racism.

Among the anti-voice statements, 29% agreed with the statement that the voice is separatism, 8% agreed with a statement that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are not disadvantaged and do not need special treatment, while 15% believed putting the Voice into the constitution was risky.

A further 14% believed they did not know enough about the Voice.

While the Voice to Parliament has its supporters and opponents, what is swinging the referendum are those who believe there is risk in amending the constitution.

“The nature of Australian constitutional referenda shows voters are resistant to change – there is a significant cohort of voters that see changing the constitution as risky. For this cohort, voting no is a no-risk proposition because the status quo remains,” DemosAU Head of Research George Hasanakos said.

“The 15% concerned about risk closely matches the current national No lead of 16%” Mr Hasanakos said.

“Since federation, no referendum has succeeded without bipartisan political support, partly because of a general cautiousness about changing the nation’s foundational document,” Mr Hasanakos said.

The Under 45/Over 45 Divide

Mr Hasanakos said another advantage for the No campaign was its strength among voters over 45, who make up 58% of voters.

“There is an obviously cleavage in attitudes towards the referendum between people aged under 45 and those aged over 45, and there are a lot more voters on the older side of that dividing line,” he said.

Voters over 45 are also more staunchly united behind the No campaign than Under 45s are to the Yes campaign, with almost 61% of over 45s intending to vote No, compared to the 46% of Under 45s who intend to vote yes.

The No campaign also has a strong lead in regional and outer metro areas (60-25 and 50-35, respectively) while Yes retains only a slight edge in the inner city (43-42).

A news report based on this data was published in The New Daily.

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