Hi again, election tragics. We’re currently sifting through the statistical entrails of Saturday’s election, looking for key demographic characteristics of the ALP and Coalition votes and swings.
Peeling back the layers to find the underlying linkages between demographics and votes is time consuming and we’re also a bit busy working in the real world at the moment, running Education Geographics.
To keep you entertained, while we rummage around columns of stats, here’s a cute little Excel file which shows correlations going back to the election in 1966 for some key occupational indicators, male Tradies, female Clerks and Professional women.
Female clerks and male Tradies have traditionally been huge groups in the workforce, and they still dominate our Working Family Stereotype across urban marginal seats, but the proportion of Working Families in the labour market has been steadily eroded over recent decades by technological change, now known as digital disruption. Meanwhile, the workplace share of female Professionals is still growing fast and has already overtaken female Clerks, but these professionals are more clustered in the inner-cities and now dominate our Goat Cheese Circle Stereotype.
As Labor’s profile among Tradies declined during the 1980s, it increased among white collar working women, firstly among Clerks, then among Professionals, retaining a broad basis of support for Labor candidates across a majority of seats, while nudging it towards the inner cities, until Kevin Rudd’s Religious Activist profile in 2007 lifted Labor’s votes in the outer suburbs of our major capitals.
This professional support for Labor was lost in 2016, when Malcolm Turnbull led the Liberals, attracting inner urban professionals but at the expense of suburban Working Families. In 2019, under the folksy Scott Morrison as Liberal Leader, professional women turned back to Labor in droves, especially in Goat Cheese Circle seats. While this strategy held up Labor’s vote in higher SES seats, it didn’t work out quite so well with Labor’s traditional Working Families, especially in LNP seats in Queensland.
To sum up: It’s always good for a Party to win a majority of the 2PP national vote, but it’s even better to win a majority of seats. In 2019, Scott Morrison won both by attracting support from marginal seats containing traditional Labor heartland voters and skipping the Goat Cheese Circle set.
As Morrison would say: How good is that?