Climate change an election decider, and still up for grabs in marginal seats Media Release

Aug 26, 2007 - 4:12pm

Setting targets to reduce greenhouse pollution and increase clean or renewable energy before the next federal election would influence which party a majority of swinging voters in marginal electorates would support, a new national poll has found.

The poll of almost 1700 voters in marginal electorates* in NSW, Qld and SA found that climate change would influence the vote of almost two-thirds (62%) of voters.  It found 86% support a five year target to reduce Australia’s greenhouse pollution and 79% support policies for all new electricity to come from clean energy like solar, wind or geothermal.

But the poll for The Climate Institute, conducted on August 11 and 12, also found that 68% of swinging voters think both parties at the moment are the same when it comes to responding to climate change.  Those with an opinion only marginally favour Labor 19% v. 13%.

“The fact that those people who will decide the outcome of the election – swinging voters in marginal seats – see little difference between the two major parties is a wake up call to both the Labor Party and the Coalition,” says Climate Institute Chief Executive John Connor

57% of swinging voters say that they will vote to support action on climate change at this election with 58% saying their vote would be influenced by a policy to ensure rising greenhouse pollution is reduced within the next five years and 55% saying they would be influenced by a policy to ensure all new electricity comes from clean energy generation.

“The Labor Party seems to have assumed that because there is a perception that the Coalition Government is not as strong on environmental issues it has the lead on climate change by default.  That appears to be true amongst locked on Labor voters, but it isn’t the case for swinging voters and the Labor Party will need to commit to more serious policies if it is to cement leadership on climate change.”

“Likewise, the Coalition has an opportunity to take the lead especially at the upcoming APEC meeting, by endorsing binding targets to reduce pollution in the next five years rather than focusing on long term aspirational targets. While Coalition supporters back the Government’s cautious rhetoric, undecided voters are looking for a more decisive stance. 

Other findings include:

  • There is an increase in people who say they will consider environment/climate issues when they vote this year compared to previous elections (up from 48% to 62% of all voters, 54% to 70% amongst Labor voters and 43% to 59% amongst men)
  • 50% of swinging voters believe we should move quickly to address climate change, only 31% favour a slow cautious approach.  55% of Coalition voters believe we should move slowly while 61% of Labor voters back decisive action.
“Previous polling shows that climate change is a top tier issue for voters this election, but now we know that concern cuts through to swinging voters in marginal seats. It’s now up to both parties to take the lead on dealing with climate change by committing to switching Australia to clean energy, turning around rising greenhouse pollution with the next five years and ratifying the Kyoto Protocol,” said Mr Connor. 

Read our the full summary of our Marginal Seat Polling  

Read Queensland Marginal Seats Polling 

Read NSW Marginal Seat Polling 

Read South Australian Marginal Seat Polling  

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