This monograph presents trends in Australian public opinion on politics over an extended period of time. In most cases, our trends run from 1987 until 2016; in some cases, the same questions have been asked in surveys conducted in 1967, 1969 and 1979, allowing us to extend the time series back another two decades. The 1987 to 2016 trends are based on the Australian Election Study (AES) surveys, comprehensive post-election surveys of political opinion that have asked the same questions and used the same methodology. The 1967, 1969 and 1979 surveys are also comprehensive academic surveys of political opinion; all three surveys were conducted by Don Aitkin, who pioneered the use of the mass public opinion survey in the academic study of politics in Australia.
In this monograph, we draw on the main recurring themes of the AES to trace long-term changes in the political opinion of the electorate. The appendix provides a detailed overview of the methodology used in each survey. The exact question wordings and response categories, and the complete sets of responses to the questions, appear in a full online appendix at australianelectionstudy.org.