Our research, Think pieces

Going postal with THAT marriage survey

Trends, norms and the power of others

Liam Smith, Director of BehaviourWorks Australia, recently spoke to Adam Stephen on the ABC Far North Queensland Drive show.

The topic? Australia’s impending postal survey on same-sex marriage equality, and how we may or may not influence the opinions of those around us.

Many Australians already have strongly held view on marriage equality. These views are often formed through direct experience or through giving the issue some consideration.  For these people, we know that challenging them directly about their views can (and often does) backfire and changing their voting preference will be difficult.  But for those who haven’t got strong view, a number of other factors may come into play, like what we percieve is ‘normal’ for Australia or ‘normal’ in their network of friends.  They will also be influenced by their perception of what’s trending. For this reason (much as you’ll never admit it) opinion polls telling us that 70% of Australians will vote yes, are likely to encourage more people to vote yes.  But if we perceive a downward trend on the yes vote, either at the national or local scale, this will likely influence those without strong views to jump on the bandwagon.

While we don’t yet know the outcome, it’s certain to spark some serious discussions about the way Australians see themselves and how we behave when it comes to making the big changes.

You can listen to the interview here.


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