The Australian Election Study (AES) is the leading study of political attitudes and behaviour in Australia. The study has surveyed voters for over thirty years, since 1987, providing an unparalleled source of evidence on voter attitudes towards politics in Australia. The AES provides insights into what explains voters’ choices in elections as well as public opinion on a range of policy issues. In addition to providing a long-term perspective on stability and change in the Australian electorate, the AES examines the issues and personalities in each election and evaluates their importance in shaping election results.
This report presents findings from the 2019 Australian Election Study (AES). The AES surveyed a nationally representative sample of 2,179 voters after the 2019 Australian federal election to find out what shaped their choices in the election. The AES has fielded representative surveys after every federal election since 1987, which allows these results to be placed in a long-term context. This report provides insights into what informed voting behaviour in the election and voters’ attitudes towards policy issues, the political leaders, and the functioning of Australian democracy generally. The main findings are as follows:
- A majority of voters (66%) cast their ballots based on policy issues.
- The most important issues in the election identified by voters include management of the economy (24%), health (22%) and environmental issues (21%).
- Voters preferred the Coalition’s policies on management of the economy, taxation, and immigration.
- Voters preferred Labor’s policies on education, health, and the environment.
- Scott Morrison is the most popular political leader since Kevin Rudd in 2007, scoring 5.1 on a zero to 10 popularity scale.
- Bill Shorten is the least popular leader of a major political party since 1990.
- A majority of voters (74%) disapproved of the way the Liberal Party handled the leadership change in 2018, when Scott Morrison replaced Malcolm Turnbull.
- Satisfaction with democracy is at its lowest level (59%) since the constitutional crisis of the 1970s.
- Trust in government has reached its lowest level on record, with just 25% believing people in government can be trusted.
- 56% of Australians believe that the government is run for ‘a few big interests’, while just 12% believe the government is run for ‘all the people’.
This report highlights just a few of the main findings from the 2019 Australian Election Study. Further information on the long-term trends is available in an accompanying report Trends in Australian Political Opinion: Results from the Australian Election Study 1987-2019.