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If there was a vote amongst people who are under 30 in Australia, there’d possibly be a Greens prime minister. – Greens leader Richard Di Natale, speaking on Q&A, May 30, 2016.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale told Q&A that if there was a vote among people aged under 30 in Australia, there would possibly be a Greens prime minister.
Is he right?
Checking the poll data
Asked for a source to back up Di Natale’s statement on Q&A, a spokeswoman said
Published Ipsos polling regularly shows our vote matching it with the other parties amongst young voters.
(You can view the Greens' spokeswoman’s full response to The Conversation here.)
Those April and February poll results are shown below in tweets from poll-watcher Ghost Who Votes.
The April poll did show the Greens doing well among 18-24 year olds, scoring 32% of the vote in this age group. Labor, in this poll, had 33%.
However, these polls have a total sample of about 1,400, and the 18-24 subset is very small. In any case, Di Natale’s claim was about those under 30, not under 25.
In the 25-39 year old range in the April poll cited by Di Natale’s spokeswoman, the Greens vote is 17%.
However, subsequent poll data from both Fairfax-Ipsos and Newspoll (some of which was released before and some just after this episode of Q&A aired) indicates that Di Natale has exaggerated the level of support for the Greens among younger voters.
The May 17-19 Fairfax-Ipsos poll has a high Greens vote (14%) relative to other polls, but Labor is clearly in first place among young voters, with the Coalition second and the Greens a distant third.
Even among 18-24 year olds, the Greens have only 25% in the May 17-19 Fairfax-Ipsos poll (below), with Labor on 36% and the Coalition 32%.
April-May Newspoll breakdowns show the same thing; the Greens in Newspoll are at only 16% among 18-34 year olds, with Labor on 38% and the Coalition 33%.
A June poll by Fairfax Ipsos (released after Di Natale made the statement on Q&A) puts support for the Greens among 18-24 year olds at 27%.
For the Greens to be in an election-winning position among the under 30s, they would need to be ahead of Labor. But both Ipsos and Newspoll have Labor ahead of the Greens among young voters.
Using Newspoll data to calculate Greens support among under 30s
The Ipsos breakdowns are for only one poll, with a total sample of 1,500. The Newspoll breakdowns have a much larger total sample of over 6,800. Newspoll has the Greens at 16% for the 18–34 age group.
However, Di Natale’s claim relates to those below 30 (that is, the 18–29 group). We cannot directly calculate the Greens percentage for 18–29 year olds, but we can assume a Greens percentage for 30–34 year olds, and calculate the 18–29 vote from that assumption.
There are 17 total years in the 18–34 range. I have assumed that any age is as likely to be interviewed as any other within that group. There are then 12 years in the 18–29 group, and 5 in the 30–34 group.
Let x be the Greens percent among 18–29 year olds, and y be the Greens percent among 30–34 year olds. We know that the overall figure must sum to 16%.
x is multiplied by (12/17), and y by (5/17) to get the correct weights of these percentages.
Authors: The Conversation Contributor