Research reveals only one electorate opposed to marriage equality

Gay MarriageA study of attitudes towards marriage equality has revealed just one of Australia’s 150 electorates shows a majority of people who are opposed to changing the Marriage Act.

The research mapped popular views on marriage equality across the country, showing a significant divide in opinion between urban and rural areas. While most electorates displayed support for same-sex marriage, a concentration of opposition appeared in rural Queensland peaking at around 50% in the seat of Maranoa held by Liberal National MP David Littleproud.

Inner city seats around Melbourne and Sydney showed the highest rates of approval, with electorates such as Tanya Plibersek’s Sydney, Anthony Albanese’s Grayndler and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s Wentworth showing just 10% or less against marriage equality.

Results of the study published in the Sydney Morning Herald today showed the Queensland seats of Maranoa, Groome and Bob Katter’s seat of Kennedy displayed the strongest opposition, averaging at around 45%. Other rural seats in Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales showed notable numbers of voters opposed to marriage equality.

Researchers Dr Andrea Carson, Shaun Ratcliff and Dr Yannick Dufresne conducted the study using information from the 2011 Census and Vote Compass data collected during the 2016 Federal Election to compile a “national snapshot” and examine how MPs views aligned with those of their electorates.

MPs representing electorates estimated to have higher levels of opposition to marriage equality were more likely to publicly oppose changes to the Marriage Act. The researchers reported that MPs viewed tended to lag behind public opinion.

“The take home message is there was only one state in which any seats had a bare majority opposed to same sex marriage, according to our model, and that was Queensland,” the researchers said in a statement. The proposed plebiscite would require a majority of electorates in a majority of states to vote yes in order for that result to be accepted.

“Further, there is clear evidence that the Coalition has generally represented the preference of interest groups opposed to same-sex marriage, while Labor MPs are becoming increasingly supportive (of change),” the statement continued.

The full results of the study are due to be presented tomorrow at the Australian Political Studies Association (APSA) annual conference at the University of New South Wales.

OIP Staff


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