February 05, 2008 | Graham

Australia speaks – it’s Obama v McCain

We can’t vote in US elections, but that didn’t stop On Line Opinion from running a primary for the Democratic and Republican parties involving Australians.
This is the release that I put out to publicise the results. You can read a longer and more entertaining version in the article that I wrote for OLO.
Australian “online primary” chooses Obama and McCain for Super Tuesday.
The winners of an “online primary” conducted by On Line Opinion, the first for Super Tuesday, are Barack Obama and John McCain.
Obama scored 54% to beat rival Hilary Clinton (33%), while the closest Republican to McCain (48%) was Giuliani (11%) who has withdrawn. Huckabee, Romney and Paul were all tied on 6%.
Graham Young, Chief Editor and founder of On Line Opinion said that the “primary” had attracted over 2000 responses from around Australia.
Major findings were:

  • Obama and McCain would have easily won their respective nominations.
  • If Australia were the US, the Democrats would be heading for an “ultra-landslide” and are even further ahead
    than Kevin Rudd was at a comparable stage of the federal election.
  • An overwhelming number of Labor, Australian Democrat and Greens voters identify with the US Democrats, but so do substantial minorities of Liberals (37%) and Nationals (30%).
  • Obama is almost equally popular between genders, and more popular with younger voters.
  • McCain is favoured by men and older voters.
  • Australian voters see the choices in largely symbolic terms, rather than relation to specific policies – they are reacting to personalities more than platforms.
  • While Climate Change was the number one issue for voters in the last Australian election it is only mentioned by 3% in terms of the US election, similar in magnitude to the number who mention the Iraq war.
  • Perceptions of the candidates seem to follow the US media narratives. The Obama/Clinton contest is seen as experience versus change, man versus woman, black versus white, with “experience” and “change” the top ranked issues in the Democrat primary.
  • McCain is viewed favourably because of his Vietnam war record, and to a lesser extent because of his record on the Iraq war. He is seen as having integrity, and representing change as well as experience. Unfortunately for him he is also “the best of a bad bunch”. McCain is the least worst Republican candidate.
  • The Christian fundamentalist influence on the Republicans is a major concern for voters.
  • Most respondents appeared supportive of a significant role for the USA in global affairs. When thinking of the candidate that is best for Australia, most respondents are concerned to see US prestige restored, viewing this as the best way of dealing with Islamic terrorism, which appears to be the major international issue of concern. Obama is their pick to do this, partly because of his multi-cultural background.

Mr Young said that if the US election were left up to Australian voters it would be similar to a re-run of the last Australian election – the new, young, slightly nerdy, inexperienced but eloquent guy versus the old conviction politician – with a similar result.
For more in-depth analysis go to http://onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=6962

Posted by Graham at 9:31 pm | Comments Off on Australia speaks – it’s Obama v McCain |

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