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Careful what you wish for

12 Sep 2017
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The 'Yes' campaign needs to be wary of its most enthusiastic supporters, writes Peter Brent.

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The postal marriage survey starts popping into letterboxes today, and if the deadline to return it were this Friday, or next, we know exactly what the result would be: an easy win for Yes.

Opinion polls tell us so. Polls can be wrong, but not by this amount. True, the marriage survey won’t be scientific; although the sample size will be massive (perhaps around ten million), the sampling error will be large and the result won’t be weighted.

But forget the surprisingly widespread meme that the huge Yes majorities showing up in poll after poll — at least a 40 per cent lead in the Ipsos survey in today’s Fairfax papers — could be undone by higher turnout among No than Yes voters. That’s all but a physical impossibility. What is needed for No to win is for millions of Australians to change their minds about legalising same-sex marriage, or favour it in principle but vote No to this “model” (because there is no legislation yet and much remains unanswered).

Read the full article on Inside Story.

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