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Who voted for equal marriage in Australia?

Who voted for equal marriage in Australia?

Australia celebrates marriage equality (Photo: Twitter)

Analysis of the way 12.7 million Australians voted in 2017’s Equal Marriage Law Postal Survey has revealed how people voted.

An investigation of the demographics of voters by Ben Raue at the Tally Room found that communities with lower levels of religiosity and higher levels of wealth and education were more likely to vote in favor of equal marriage.

Raue collected data from the 150 electorates from the 2016 federal election which formed the basis of the postal survey. He compared this to 2016 censorship data of the same areas.

He found that it was religious voters, of whatever ethnic origin, who formed the bulk of the ‘no’ vote for equal marriage.

Socially progressive communities with relatively low levels of marriage were also likely to vote in favor of allowing same-sex unions, he found.

Interestingly, Raue found that multicultural communities were not more likely to vote ’no’ in the survey, except in Western Sydney.

Australia’s controversial equal marriage postal survey took place in Autumn 2017.

After a period of ugly campaigning, Almost 80% of eligible voters – about 12.6 million people – submitted their opinion in the non-compulsory, non-binding postal survey.

More than 61% of people voted in favor of changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry. Parliament then legislated to allow same-sex marriages in December.

Let’s have a look at the demographics:

How religiosity in a region correlated to a yes vote in Australia's equal marriage poll (Photo: The Tally Room)
How religiosity in a region correlated to a yes vote in Australia’s equal marriage poll (Photo: The Tally Room)

The Tally Room’s strongest findings were that those with no religion were likely to vote yes. ‘The no vote was clearly higher in more religious areas’ said Raue.

‘Almost every major religion in Australia had a correlation with the no vote, with Christianity, Buddhism and some major Christian denominations having a negative correlation around 0.3. The religious group with the highest negative correlation was Islam (-0.56).’

Socially progressive people were more likely to vote yes. ‘There is a correlation of approximately 0.5 between the yes vote and the proportion of couples who are same-sex couples, and the proportion of people who have never married’.

It was also highly likely that someone who voted for the Greens in the 2016 federal elections voted yes.

Areas with higher median incomes also produced a higher yes vote, Raue found

There was also evidence that people with bachelors degrees or higher were more likely to vote yes. Places with better internet access also yielded more yes votes.

Older people were less likely to vote yes, Raue found. And, women were more likely to vote yes and men were relatively more likely to vote no.

Raue also addressed reports that the no vote was concentrated among multicultural western suburbs of Sydney and some areas in Melbourne.

Raue said the numbers suggest this was a much less significant factor than religion in affecting votes.

‘There was some correlation with people who speak English in the home (0.39 correlation with yes vote). But there’s pretty much no correlation with the proportion born in Australia’, Raue found.

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