Climate key issue in marginal rural seats: exit polling

Farmers for Climate Action

Tuesday, 24 May 2022. Climate and environment policy was the number one issue in the key rural NSW seats of Gilmore, Page and Eden Monaro, exit polling conducted exclusively for Farmers for Climate Action has revealed.

Across the three electorates, more than 70% of voters said “effective climate change policies” were important to their vote.

Farmers for Climate Action CEO Fiona Davis said the results proved country voters supported strong climate policy to reduce emissions this decade and protect the farmers who grow our food.

In the bushfire-affected seat of Gilmore on the NSW south coast, which is currently too close to call:

  • 72% of voters said “effective climate change policies” were important to their vote – the #1 response
  • 44% of voters said climate change and environment was in the top three issues informing their vote; again the #1 response; well above economic management on 31% and health and hospitals on 24%
  • 22% of voters surveyed named climate and environment as the key issue on which they voted, again the #1 response
  • 15% of the voters surveyed said they or their family worked in agriculture.

In the marginal, diverse and bushfire-affected seat of Eden-Monaro stretching from Queanbeyan near Canberra to the NSW south coast:

  • 76% of voters said “effective climate change policies” were important to their vote – the #1 response
  • 42% of voters said climate change and environment was in the top three issues informing their vote; again the #1 response; well above economic management on 32% and health and hospitals on 29%
  • 20% of voters surveyed named climate and environment as the key issue on which they voted, again the #1 response
  • 21% of those voters surveyed said they or their family worked in agriculture.

In the NSW north coast seat of Page, which includes Lismore and other areas impacted by devastating floods:

  • 72% of voters said “effective climate change policies” were important to their vote – the #1 response
  • 44% of voters said climate change and environment was in the top three issues informing their vote; again the #1 response; well above economic management on 31%, cost of living on 26% and health and hospitals on 19%
  • 24% of voters surveyed named climate and environment as the key issue on which they voted, again the #1 response
  • 31% of those voters surveyed said they or their family worked in agriculture.

Dr Davis said it was now “irrefutable” that country voters had voted for strong climate policy and deep emissions reductions this decade.

“Rural and regional voters understand the opportunities strong climate policy brings them,” Dr Davis said.

“Rural people are starting to see the really big renewables and hydrogen projects rolling out now, bringing thousands of sustainable jobs to their regions. These jobs are no longer a dream; they’re the reality on the ground.

“Farmers understand that carbon and biodiversity crops can become a vital part of farm income, diversifying the income stream and delivering payment even during drought.

“Farmers also know they can host both a renewable energy project and a farm on their land – sheep can graze under and alongside solar panels and wind turbines, for example. Renewable energy can provide farmers with substantial extra income and also reduce energy bills for farmers and city folk alike.”

Dr Davis said it was clear country Coalition MPs who backed strong climate policy were rewarded, with Nationals MP Kevin Hogan receiving a 5% swing to him on 2PP, Liberal candidate for Gilmore Andrew Constance insulating himself against a big anti-Coalition swing, and Nationals MP for Gippsland Darren Chester extending his 2PP by another 4%, to name just three.

“We need strong climate policy to drive deep emissions reductions this decade to protect the farmers who grow our food.

“Country people have seen the opportunity. Our 7000 farmer members see the opportunity. We hope country politicians do too.”

The sample size was 300+ in each electorate. Polling was conducted by YouGov.

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