Media Release: Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Issues of morality and compassion will be among those to influence the casting of the Christian vote in the next Federal election as Christians look to see Australia going in a direction that is governed by concern for ‘values’ and ‘people’ along with attention to the economy and climate change.
That’s the view of the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) based on the detailed results of a survey of 1,882 Christians carried out by On Line Opinion as a sub-set of a wider Federal Election 2007 Benchmark Poll.
“The poll results reveal some interesting trends, such as Christians being slightly more likely to be swinging voters than the general electorate, and a strengthening in the vote for some of the minor parties among more frequent churchgoers,” ACL National Chief of Staff David Yates said today.
“It confirms that, although there are some key differences in the way various denominations vote, there tend to be common concerns of caring for people and upholding family values which underlie much of the Christian vote.
“It will be a challenge for all political parties to take on board and address these concerns in the lead-up to the Federal Election. As the recent ABS Census figures showed, 64% of Australians identify themselves as Christians – meaning the broader constituency which shares these values is a very significant one.”
Mr Yates said that, particularly since the 2004 Federal election, politicians have been showing an increased awareness of the importance of the Christian vote.
“While many Christians are weighing up how the major parties address their concerns, at the time the poll was taken between April 20 and May 22, there were also key segments of the Christian vote which were headed for the minor parties – including 12% for Family First, 11% for Christian Democrats and 11% for Greens.
“On the other hand the Christian vote for the Democrats appears to have dropped dramatically to only 2% - with only three denominations recording any votes at all in this direction.
“The strengthening in votes for some of the minor parties points to preference arrangements being particularly important at the next election.”
Mr Yates said it was pleasing to see that not only Christians, but the biggest proportion of all those surveyed in the full On Line Opinion poll, felt that Christian values have had a positive impact on Australian culture (45% said positive compared to 27% negative).
“Many people don’t stop and think about how important a Christian influence in the political sphere has been to our past and will be to our future,” Mr Yates said.
“It seemed contradictory that the majority of the full survey felt that religious values should be separated from political discussion (52% for to 39% against). The majority of Christians knew better, indicating that this should not be the case (28% for to 68% against).
“With Census figures showing the clear majority of Australians identifying with Christian values, it is completely fitting for the Christian voice to influence our government and our society. Anything less would be undemocratic, and remove a major voice for good.”
The full On Line Opinion analysis of their Benchmark Poll can be found at www.whatthepeoplewant.net. In all, 3189 people provided valid responses to the opt-in survey, with Christians making up 59% of respondents (or 1,882). On Line Opinion states that the poll was not properly randomised but is one of the largest straw polls in Australia. As well as analysing the views of the total sample, the poll included separate analyses the views of two sub-groups – one of which was Christians.
Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan