Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Mapping Australia's Support for Gay Marriage


This month Australia is holding a non-binding national postal survey into the issue of same-sex marriage. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has released a really interesting story map which looks at the results of a poll which asked Australians the same question last year. How Australians think about same-sex marriage, mapped shows the level of support for gay marriage across the whole of the country.

The problem with a choropleth view of the survey results in each electorate is that it presents a slightly distorted picture of the situation. Larger, less populated rural areas show the least support for gay marriage. These larger more rural areas dominate the map when you are zoomed out and therefore could lead the user to underestimate the support for gay marriage in Australia.

ABC get around this distorted picture by exploring the results in different areas. As you progress through the story map ABC zoom in on Sydney to show how support in more populated inner-city areas is far higher than in outer suburban and rural areas. ABC proceed to show how this geographic tendency in the vote is true for other cities. In fact the geography of a voter appears to be a far bigger guide to their likelihood to support gay marriage than party support.

It will be interesting to see if this geographical tendency is repeated in this month's postal survey.
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