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Only 14% Voters Influenced by Belief

An August 2015 IPSOS survey, has shown only 14 per cent of Australian voters say their religion influenced them, the last time they voted. Of that 14 per cent, only 5 per cent said they were ‘very much’ influenced by their religion.

MEDIA RELEASE 9 SEPTEMBER 2015

RATIONALIST ASSN OF NSW INC.

HUMANIST SOCIETY OF QLD INC.

An August 2015 IPSOS survey, funded by the Rationalist Assn of NSW and the Humanist Society of Queensland, the first of its kind to connect personal religious commitment, and those with no religion, to their voting behaviour,  has shown that only 14 per cent of Australian voters say their religion influenced them, the last time they voted. Of that 14 per cent, only 5 per cent said they were ‘very much’ influenced by their religion.
Of that 14 per cent, only 5 per cent said they were ‘very much’ influenced by their religion.  The other 9 per cent said they were ‘somewhat influenced’ by their religion (see pie chart attached).
 26 per cent of voters said the question was ‘not applicable’ to them. These were mostly non-religious but also included some religious voters
Of Catholics, only 4 per cent said they were ‘very much’ influenced by their religion. 11 per cent said they were ‘somewhat influenced’. 84 per cent said they were not influenced at all.
Anglicans and Uniting Church members also showed similar indifference to their belief when it came to voting.
Those most influenced by their religion were in the general category of ‘Christian’ (a term that Pentecostals, evangelicals and fundamentalists tend to use, only 3 per cent of the sample)  and Baptists, who only made up 2 per cent of the voters surveyed.
Of those ‘Christians’ 29 per cent were ‘very much’ influenced, 17 per cent were ‘somewhat influenced’, with over half, 54 per cent, saying they were not influenced at all by their religion.
14 per cent of Baptists said they were ‘very much’ influenced by their religion, 35 per cent ‘somewhat influenced’, and 51 per cent not influenced at all.
Muslim voters were also 2 per cent of the sample. 12 per cent of Muslims said they were ‘very much’ influenced by their religion, 35 per cent said they were ‘somewhat influenced’.
The vice-president of the Rationalist Assn of NSW, Max Wallace, said the results cast doubt on the notion that there is, in 2015, an influential, across-the-board Christian, or Catholic, first preference vote in Australia.
He said ‘It does not automatically follow that a majority of Catholics, say, in various electorates, will vote as one for political parties whose policies echo those of the church.’
Noting Queensland was the most religious state, the president of the Humanist Society of Queensland, Ron Williams, said there may be electorates in Queensland that have a statistically significant cohort of evangelicals and Pentecostal voters that could make a second preference difference in a marginal seat, but that was ‘by no means certain’. It would depend on how marginal it was.
Max Wallace added the survey results suggested that, given this widespread indifference to churches’ opinions, politicians ‘don’t have to live in fear of the religious vote.
‘I suggest the widespread indifference to religion when voting, squares with what we know about Australians’ support for voluntary euthanasia, gay marriage, and their very low, regular church attendance.’

Voting survey


Next article: Separation of Church and State?

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