The Australian Election: Are they listening?

The Australian Election: Are they listening?

Edition 2 of 3

Written By Alice Almeida

Let’s start off with a quick recap of my first election blog.

  • It seems Australian’s are more interested in the US election than the Australian one
  • If traffic to a website means anything, The Greens are a party to watch closely
  • Australian’s don’t seem to take our leaders seriously with many of the search terms revolving around humorous terms such a Malcolm being good looking, Bill having man boobs and funny ‘zingers’ (I had to google what they were). Political policies barely registered.
  • Is it Labor or Labour? Over half of the search for the Labor Party are spelt incorrectly.

If you’ve read the first blog, you would have seen that there were many questions that still need to be answered, with the most important one being do we not care? Answering this precisely will be near impossible but having access to Australian’s online and search behaviour helps paint a stronger picture of what we’re all thinking when it comes to the election.

In order to get to the bottom of whether we care or not, we need to profile those who have shown an interest in the election overall. If you think about the policies and language behind the marketing campaigns for both labor and liberal, they seem heavily skewed towards people 35+. What they aren’t considering is the next generation coming through – the young voters of Australia who ARE interested and are actively seeking out election information online. In fact, of ALL search behaviour around the term ‘election’, people under 35 make up almost 50% of this activity. And before anyone states that this is because they are more ‘digital’, People 55+ are the next biggest age segment on 17.5%! So while the government is zoning in on families, what they are not focusing on is the ‘wing’ ages – under 35 and over 55, which is actually a large chunk of Australian voters. These are the age segments who care about the election and it’s most likely because they are not being heard. Families are a focus of nearly every election so it could be that they know they’ll get looked after, so there’s no need to worry?

So what policies are important to these two very different age groups? I took a handful of the top issues that are being discussed by all ages, and profiled how many of that particular age group (as a percentage) have shown a strong interest in each policy. The results are incredible and showcase just how important it is for the government to be speaking to the younger (and new) generation of voters. In the first blog you would have seen that The Greens are almost doubling the website traffic of the other parties. THIS is why. The Greens are talking and listening to what the younger generation wants (I should flag here that I have no affiliation with The Greens!)

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For People <35, 60% have shown a demonstrated interest in Same Sex Marriage policies. This can no longer be ignored or pushed to the side. This, as well as the treatment of Asylum seekers are two key issues that People <35 want discussed. If Labor or Liberal want to be ‘current’ and remain in power for many years to come, they need to get with the now, not the yesterday.

So what about gender? How does that impact the importance of campaign issues? Our data suggests that females appear more concerned about Marriage Equality, Asylum Seekers and Education, whereas men are more focused on Climate Change and improving the Economy, albeit slightly.

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Another interesting finding is that women seem to be following the US election more than men. Perhaps because of Trumps belief of where women should be kept… In the kitchen. If he comes into power, then it will set back gender equality significantly, but that is a whole blog in itself!

So to answer the question ‘do we care’? Yes, we do – but about very different things and it seems that the parties involved (excluding The Greens) aren’t paying enough attention to this diversity. They are focusing on the same old areas that they have for years. The problem is that voters, and what matters to them, is changing, so if they want to remain in power, then they need to change too.

The third and final edition of this blog series on the election will be released on Friday where I will predict a winner, and summarise the findings over this whole project.

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