Labor can expect a swing in its favour of almost 5% if it supports marriage equality, a new national poll has found.
The poll by Galaxy Research found almost half of Greens voters and a third of young voters would be more likely to vote for the ALP if it adopted a new policy allowing same-sex couples to marry.
It also found almost a quarter of voters who already support Labor will be stronger supporters if the Party backs marriage equality.
Australian Marriage Equality national convener Alex Greenwich said the poll shows Labor will experience a net gain in votes by supporting marriage equality.
“By doing the right thing on marriage equality Labor can expect to be rewarded by voters, largely at the expense of the Greens,” Greenwich said.
“For Labor, marriage equality is an electoral winner because it is a reform that will cost nothing, attract votes from other parties, and promote loyalty among existing voters.
“With polls consistently showing support for marriage equality is almost twice that of the Labor Party, the ALP could do worse than to allow the popularity of marriage equality to rub off on it.”
According to the Galaxy poll, the overwhelming majority of Coalition voters will not be turned off Labor if it supports marriage equality.
“[There] is a small minority of Coalition voters who will look more dimly on Labor if it supports marriage equality but they are hard-core opponents of the issue who Labor can never hope to win over,” Greenwich said.
“Support for marriage equality will enable the ALP to reach out to large numbers of winnable voters, while not alienating those who are largely indifferent to the issue.”
Greenwich said Labor cannot expect to pick up nearly as many Greens or young voters if, as flagged in recent reports, it only allows a conscience vote on the issue instead of changing its policy to fully support reform.
“If reports are correct and the Prime Minister is about to announce her support for a conscience vote on marriage equality, it shows the campaign for equality is working,” Greenwich said.
“Like many members of the Labor Party we want the Party to go further than a conscience vote and adopt a binding policy in favour of marriage equality at its national conference in December.
“If the ALP settles for a conscience vote it will limit the ALP’s ability to deliver this historic reform, and will have much more limited appeal to Green and young voters than a binding party policy.”
The national Galaxy research poll of 1009 registered voters was commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality and conducted this month.
It asked: “If the Labor Party officially supported same-sex marriage, would you be more likely to vote Labor, less likely to vote Labor, or would your vote not be affected?”
Influential union leader Joe de Bruyn has previously claimed that allowing same-sex marriage would be politically disastrous for the Gillard Government and that a change to Labor’s current position would lose seats for the party, especially in Queensland.