Non-voters could decide same-sex marriage poll

September 29, 2017 by David Singer
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The YES vote in the same-sex marriage survey (“Survey”) is home and hosed if a recent Fairfax/Ipsos poll (“Poll) translates into reality…writes David Singer.

The Poll indicates that:

  1. 65% of eligible voters will vote and
  2. 70% of those voting will vote YES and 30% will vote NO.

Table 1 shows the likely result of the Survey based on 15,676,659 voters eligible to vote at the 2016 Federal Election for the House of Representatives (“2016 Election”):

Table 1.

YES (70%)

NO (30%) 3056948
TOTAL VOTERS (65%) 10189829
TOTAL NON-VOTERS (35%)   5486831

5486831 voters (35%) according to the Poll won’t be voting in the non-compulsory Survey. This percentage is considerably higher than the 9.59% of voters who voted informal or did not vote at the compulsory 2016 Federal Election.

For the NO vote to have any chance of winning in the Survey:

  1. the non-voter turnout must be reduced from 35% to 15% or less and
  2. the YES vote must not exceed 60%.

How would those predicted 5486831 non-voters actually vote if voting was compulsory?

One could reasonably assume most would vote NO rather than YES for the following reasons:

  1. The YES campaigners are more passionate, better organised and use social media more effectively than the NO campaigners
  2. The YES campaign has so far been endorsed by at least 2061 organisations including 795 Corporations, 52 councils, 22 Unions, 260 Non-profit and 52 academic institutions.

YES voters certainly won’t be sitting on the sidelines and not voting.

Non-voters therefore could comprise a fertile field for NO campaigners.

Getting those non-voters to fill in and return their voting forms could make a huge difference to the result especially if:

  1. The predicted non-voters are reduced from 35% (5486831) to 15% (2351499)
  2. 90% of the captured non-voters (3135332) vote NO (2821799) and 10% vote YES (313533)
  3. The YES vote is only 60 % – not 70% – as a later Newspoll is now suggesting.

Given this scenario the result would be:

Table 2

YES 6427430
NO 6897730
NOT VOTING (15%) 2351499
TOTAL 15676659

Confident predictions of a majority YES vote therefore need to be treated with some caution.

A former Justice of the High Court of Australia – Michael Kirby – has aptly summed up the survey:

 “It’s a completely novel, voluntary, non-binding, non-compulsory vote of a few citizens and it’s just something we’ve never done in our constitutional arrangements of Australia.”

Key to the final result will be determined by how many of those citizens do not vote.

It seems inconceivable that only 65% will vote – but that is what the Fairfax/Ipsos poll tells us will happen.

Hopefully other polls will ask this specific question when surveying voters.

The NO campaign needs to make sure there is a better turnout than 65% of eligible voters.

If the threshold of non-voters exceeds 15% – then the YES campaign seems more likely to succeed. If that threshold of 15% is not reached then the NO campaign is in with a very good chance of winning.

Voters who have damaged, lost or not received their Survey papers can request a replacement survey voting form – but will need to provide a driver’s licence or Australian passport details to verify their identity – following which:

  • They will be emailed within 48 hours if their identity has been verified.
  • They will be sent a new survey form in 7–10 working days.
  • Any previous forms will be invalidated.

NO campaign advertisements and NO doorknockers should certainly concentrate on getting those 5486831 predicted non-voters to vote.

Retaining the ancient tradition and understanding of marriage is the prize.

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network


5 Responses to “Non-voters could decide same-sex marriage poll”
  1. Michael Barnett says:

    “Retaining the ancient tradition and understanding of marriage is the prize.”

    David, did you ever read Devarim 22:28-29?

    28 If a man finds a virgin girl who was not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found,

    כח כִּֽי־יִמְצָ֣א אִ֗ישׁ נַֽעֲרָ֤ה (כתיב נער) בְתוּלָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר לֹֽא־אֹרָ֔שָׂה וּתְפָשָׂ֖הּ וְשָׁכַ֣ב עִמָּ֑הּ וְנִמְצָֽאוּ:

    29 the man who lay with her shall give fifty [shekels of] silver to the girl’s father, and she shall become his wife, because he violated her. He shall not send her away all the days of his life.

    כט וְנָתַ֠ן הָאִ֨ישׁ הַשֹּׁכֵ֥ב עִמָּ֛הּ לַֽאֲבִ֥י הַנַּֽעֲרָ֖ה (כתיב הנער) חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים כָּ֑סֶף וְלוֹ־תִֽהְיֶ֣ה לְאִשָּׁ֗ה תַּ֚חַת אֲשֶׁ֣ר עִנָּ֔הּ לֹֽא־יוּכַ֥ל שַׁלְּחָ֖הּ כָּל־יָמָֽיו:

    If you are so keen to uphold ancient traditions and definitions of marriage, why would you not want to uphold this one?

    • david singer says:

      Your comment is false and misleading:

      The rapist is required to marry his victim, and is not permitted to divorce her without her consent. The Talmud explains that this obligation rests on the rapist, not the victim. She is under no obligation to marry him.

      Seems you have no comments to make on anything else in my article. Does this mean you accept the analysis?

  2. Adrian Jackson says:

    As the last batch of ballots were distributed to Australians on 25 Sep 17 I think those that are going to vote would have done so already.

    For those not voting the ballots is probably in the recycle bin.

    • david singer says:


      As I explained in my article those who have placed their votes in the recycle bin or have not received them because they were not delivered by the posties but left out on the street can apply for fresh ballot papers.

      NO campaigners should help those who have thrown out or not received their ballot papers apply for fresh forms, since those doing so are more than likely to vote NO than YES.

      If you read my article again you will understand that capturing 90% of those tossing out or not getting those ballot papers to vote NO can make a huge difference to the final result.

      • david singer says:


        How very wrong you turned out to be in saying that most of those voting would have done so by 29 September.

        Figures released by the ABS show that 9.2 million people (57.5%) had voted by 3 October.

        However that number has jumped to 12.3 million (77%) by 31 October.

        You can take comfort in being so wrong because the Fairfax/Ipsos poll referred in my article also got it badly wrong (not as far out as you) by predicting the turnout would be 65%. Their prediction has well and truly been consigned to the dustbin with 10 days still to go.

        My argued analysis of why the turnout could reach 85% seems to be gaining real traction with voting open until 7 November.

        Beware the polls!!!

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