A majority of “blue-green” independent voters were not disenfranchised Liberal voters but rather had a history of supporting Labor – according to a new study.
Be that as it may, the Liberals are in the midst of a serious “existential crisis” which they urgently need to address before Australians next go to the polls.
The Australian Election Study – the Australian National University’s longest-running measure of voter sentiment – has found that 31 per cent of people who voted for ‘blue-green’ independents in May actually supported Labor in 2019.
Another 24 percent had previously supported the Greens, while just 18 percent had voted for the coalition.
The study shows that less than one in five people who voted for a blue-green independent were “disaffected liberals” protesting against their party.
Instead, the study’s authors say the Blue-Greens won their seats thanks to “tactical” voters who were willing to use the electoral system in a targeted manner.
Six blue-green independents took seats in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth during the election (pictured left to right Allegraspender, Sophie Scamps, Zali Steggall, Kylea Tink, Zoe Daniel, Kate Chaney and Dr Monique Ryan).
Support for the two major parties fell to historic lows in May’s election, and while Labor won the House by a one-seat majority, it suffered a 0.8 percent drop against them.
Six blue-green independents have won seats in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, but the study’s authors say they will face a battle in the 2025 election.
“If the majority of voters were Labor Greens supporters, they could return to the party they really support,” said co-author Labor McAllister.
“Labour’s victory was more about drawing attention to the coalition’s poor performance than presenting a political agenda that would attract voters.”
The study found that the main reason voters had penalized the coalition government was its poor economic management, with voters having the most pessimistic assessment of a government’s performance since the study began in 1987.
Voters say Scott Morrison (pictured) was the least popular leader in the study’s 35-year history
“Tonight the Australian people voted for change. I am humbled by this victory and honored to have the opportunity to serve as Australia’s 31st Prime Minister,” said Anthony Albanese (pictured) after his victory
Faced with rising inflation and a cost of living crisis, the opposition is now urging Labor to remedy the situation. Two-thirds of voters said the coalition government had deteriorated the national economy in the year leading up to the election.
While previously the coalition was consistently favored over Labor on economic issues, in 2022 voters switched to favoring Labor on the cost of living.
The study’s authors said the Liberal Party’s election loss was a highlight “of the economy, the pandemic and the leadership of Scott Morrison.”
Mr. Morrison was also the least popular leader since the study began, with voters ranking him extremely low on honesty and trustworthiness.
Study co-author Sarah Cameron said these were the two traits most closely associated with overall executive favor.
“Public dislike for Morrison originated with his Hawaiian vacation during the 2019-20 bushfires and was compounded by perceptions of poor performance in the second year of the pandemic,” said Dr. Cameron.
The study’s authors said the Liberal Party’s election loss was a highlight “of the economy, the pandemic and the leadership of Scott Morrison” (pictured, a 2022 voter).
If the coalition were to clamor for its support back, it would have to take into account the large generational shift noted in that election.
The study found that gender was the other key demographic shift that eroded the major parties’ voter bases.
In 2022, just 32 percent of women voted for the coalition — the lowest percentage ever.
“This decline in female support for the coalition can be attributed to the treatment of women within the Liberal Party,” said Professor Simon Jackman.
“The gap in matching between younger and older generations of Australians is even more pronounced than the gender gap. Younger generations have very different voting patterns than previous generations at the same stage of life and are much more to the left in their party preferences.’
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