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A Warning to the Government

A warning to the Government as 2 in 3 Australians say they are likely to vote out their local MP if they take an opposing position to them on the same sex marriage debate. Furthermore, even a clear majority decision is unlikely to generate consensus among Australians

At Hunter & Bligh, we conducted a poll which has revealed that despite a clear 3 in 4 majority for the ‘yes’ vote, the plebiscite is far from ‘bringing the nation together’ on the same sex marriage debate.

Our survey suggests the plebiscite is amplifying division in Australian society on many levels – in terms of political support, the role of religious institutions, acceptance of the final majority decision and even exposes diverse positions held between partners.

The nation was polarized on the role of religious groups with just over half  (54%)  believing that Religious groups should not weigh in on the debate, and as many (56%) also believing that religious groups should not be exempt from recognising the right to same sex marriage.

Interestingly religion was not the strongest purported driver for those voting ‘no’ to same sex marriage with the need to maintain traditional values and avoid eroding traditional family units dominating reasoning.

Director of Research, Tai Rotem said “We found that 94 per cent of Australians insist they are unlikely to sway their beliefs at all if the vote doesn’t go their way and over 1 in 2 assert they will not happily accept the majority decision of the plebiscite if it opposes their position (55%).”

Division in opinions operated not only at a national scale but also a little closer to home with nearly 1 in 5 Australians admitting their partner do not share their view on same sex marriage.

However, the wake up call for the Government is that close to 2 in 3 Australians say they would be likely to vote out their local Member for Parliament in a snap election if they took an opposing position in the same sex marriage debate (65%). Given most Australians are likely to vote ‘Yes’, this may represent a disproportionate negative impact on our more conservative politicians in the next election.

The research suggests the plebiscite will have little positive effect on generating consensus among the public as may have been intended.”

Findings Snapshot

75% voted yes to same sex marriage

The vast majority of Australians insist they are unlikely to sway their beliefs at all if the vote doesn’t go their way (94%)

Close to 2 in 3 Australians say they would be likely to vote out their local MP in a snap election if they took an opposing position in the same sex marriage debate (65%)

Over 1 in 2 asserted they will not happily accept the majority decision of the plebiscite if it opposes their position (55%)

The nation was also polarized on the role of religious groups with just over half believing;

Religious groups should not weigh in on the debate (54%)

Religious groups should not be exempt from recognising the right to same sex marriage (56%)

Finally, close to 1 in 5 Australians admit their partner does not share their view on same sex marriage? 18%

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