Two-party preferred YouGov-Fifty Acres poll shows most Australians want plebiscite on same-sex marriage

The majority of Australians support changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry and think the decision should be made by a plebiscite, according to the latest YouGov-Fifty Acres poll. It comes as the Liberal party resolved on Monday night to push ahead with its original plebiscite proposal to gauge public opinion on marriage equality.

  • 60% supported changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry, compared to just 28% who said they would oppose such a change.
  • A majority of voters (51%) think the decision should be made by a plebiscite, while just 29% think Parliament should decide.

 Voters also think Malcolm Turnbull’s position will be threatened if Coalition MPs vote in favour of legalising same-sex marriage, against the wishes of the party leadership.

  • Over a third (36%) say this would be a threat to Turnbull’s position, compared to 29% who said it would not be a threat.
  • Even amongst Coalition voters, 36% say it would be a threat, as opposed to 35% who say it would not be.
  • When it comes to the parliamentary vote, 62% think MPs should vote according to how they personally feel on the issue, compared to 22% who think they should vote in line with their party leadership.

The poll found younger Australians are the strongest supporters of marriage equality.

  • Among 18-24 year olds, 83% support and just 11% oppose changing the law to allow same-sex marriage.
  • In the 55+ age group, 50% support and 39% oppose the move.

Generally, voters are divided on the use of plebiscites.

  • Around a third (33%) think that not enough issues are being proposed for plebiscites and referendums, and people should be allowed to vote directly on more issues.
  • Around a quarter (26%) think too many issues are being proposed by plebiscites and referendums, and parliament should make more decisions itself.

Voting Intention And Preferred Prime Minister

 The two party preference numbers are unchanged at 50/50.

  • On the primary vote, the coalition are on 34% (down two), Labor are on 32% (down one), the Greens are on 11% (up one) and One Nation are on 9% (up one).
  • On the preferred Prime Minister question, Malcolm Turnbull was on 34%, with Bill Shorten on 27% and 38% responding “not sure”.

Methodology Overview

 The YouGov-Fifty Acres poll takes a very different approach to ascertain how Australians think and feel.

 All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov. Total sample size was 1,005 adults aged 18+ years. Fieldwork was undertaken between 3 - 7 August 2017. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Australian adults (aged 18+). The survey was carried out online.

YouGov has a proven record of accuracy in both US and UK politics. In the most recent UK election they were the first polling agency to correctly call the result, showing the country was heading for a hung parliament despite most other organisations showing a large lead for the Conservatives. All polling is subject to a margin of error so it is natural to see some variations from poll to poll.