Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

South Australia lurches towards close election

By Graham Young - posted Saturday, 15 March 2014

A hung parliament is the result that the fewest voters want, but it's become the most likely in light of the lacklustre performances of the two major political parties in South Australia.

Analysis of our polling, conducted early in the campaign shows that while this election is superficially about jobs, the economy, and government's response to both, it is really more of a time for a change election, but this change may be smothered by doubts about the Liberal leader, and the overwhelming expectation that the Libs are going to win the election.

The graph below shows the top six issues, as nominated without prompting by our respondents. These are employment, the economy, government financial management, health, education and the federal government. Note that while Labor has been campaigning hard on trying to link the state liberals to Tony Abbott and the federal liberals, this is very much a minority concern, and restricted to those intending to vote Labor.


However issues aren't necessarily the reason people vote the way that they do. The table below gives the reasons people gave for how they were ultimately intending to preference – Liberal or Labor. This gives a much better idea of what is going on.

This graph demonstrates that Labor's biggest hurdle is the time for a change factor. Of those who responded who had yet to make up their mind, over 70% expressed an intention to protest, and in a state election protest votes generally go against incumbents. It was also a factor with Liberal voters. And while over the whole sample it was just less than 10% of respondents, it could be enough to determine the results in marginal seats.

Next strongest was the time for a change factor, dominated by Liberals. This is an argument that is almost conceded by Labor voters, whose strongest voting reason is the local candidate. This is followed by concerns about social justice and the Liberals.

A worrying factor for the Liberals is that being the "least worst" alternative is given more frequently as a reason for voting Liberal than Labor – their supporters are less enthusiastic.


The only two issues on this list that are specifically policy orientated is "business" – an intention to vote for the party that will be best for business – and "government" – concern about the size of debt and how the government is being run.

All of this suggests that the Liberals have not been successful in giving South Australians a strong reason to change. With the economy and jobs overwhelmingly the big issues, and the economy generally being a strong issue for the Liberals, they should really own this election, but they don't.

This may have something to do with the Liberal history in South Australia, where a number of respondents nominate factional problems as a reason for not voting for them.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

22 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Graham Young is chief editor and the publisher of On Line Opinion. He is executive director of the Australian Institute for Progress, an Australian think tank based in Brisbane, and the publisher of On Line Opinion.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Graham Young

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Graham Young
Article Tools
Comment 22 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy