On the eve of the 2016 Australian federal election, TANYA SHINN uses attitude-related data within the emma survey to contrast two key electorates – the Far North Queensland seat of Kennedy and inner-west Sydney’s Reid.
Two other elements are equally critical to obtaining a full picture of the consumer – what we think, and what we believe. These facets are captured within the attitudinal questions that are an integral part of emma, a rolling monthly survey of 52,000 aged 14+.
Results from this part of the survey have been applied to two marginal electorates where anecdotal assumption might suggest voters have different outlooks on life – inner-west Sydney, and Far North Queensland.
Would the emma survey confirm general prejudices or beliefs about how so-called trendy Sydneysiders in the seat of Reid (Lib: Craig Laundy) might be thinking compared with those in the tropical, rural electorate of Kennedy (Ind: Bob Katter)?
Priorities of the Far North
The attitudinal element of the emma survey shows those in Far North Queensland are more conservative and apply greater importance to issues of national security, immigration and crime.
They were 51 per cent more likely to state crime as consideration than voters in inner-west Sydney. Their focus on this area was 21 per cent above the national norm.
The degree of passion on national security was smaller but still significant. These Queenslanders are 15 per cent more likely to state defence needs to be improved compared with voters in Sydney’s inner-west, whose concern on this topic aligned to the national average.
Respondents in Far North Queensland are also over-represented by those who feel immigration requirements should be stricter. They over-index 21 per cent against the national average and 46 per cent against those in inner-west Sydney.
They are also 20 per cent more likely than the average Australian to say that immigrants should be allowed into Australia only if they can contribute to the economy.
Views between those in the city and tropics also differ on the desire to lower taxes, with 52 per cent of respondents in this region of Queensland wanting a cut, compared with just a third (32%) of those in inner-west Sydney.
Again supporting anecdotal belief, Far North Queenslanders are significantly less likely to think government action on climate change is a priority. They index 12 per cent below the population norm on this topic, and 30 per cent below the average in inner-west Sydney.
They are also less likely to be satisfied with the state of the economy, employment regulations and healthcare.
A higher priority is being placed on climate change and equality in inner-west Sydney, where voters are also exhibiting greater levels of satisfaction with tax rates and healthcare.
Most (69%) think the government should be doing more to combat climate change regardless of current economic or social conditions. This indexes 15 per cent above the national average and 30 per cent above the Far North Queensland norm.
Equality is an even greater issue with 89 per cent believing more effort should be made, indexing 8 per cent above the national average and 10 per cent above those in Far North Queensland.
Data shows these voters are significantly less likely to be concerned about crime levels, indexing 39 per cent below the national average and 51 per cent below the Far North Queensland norm.
Only a third of those in inner-west Sydney (34%) think all immigrants should be required to speak English before entering Australia, indexing 25 per cent below the national average.
Improving security and defence ranks low. Some 36 per cent say these elements should be improved, indexing below both the national average (-15%) and the Far North (-36%).