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“Homosexuality is immoral,” say almost 3 in 10 Coalition voters

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, October 2013 – March 2016, sample n = 104,745 Australian electors. A small proportion of respondents neither Agree nor Disagree.

Here’s one reason the PM and Ministers are walking on eggshells about their post-plebiscite free votes on same-sex marriage legislation: three million Australian voters believe homosexuality is immoral—and the Coalition would find it hard to win Government without them.   

In Roy Morgan’s research undertaken since the last Federal Election in September 2013, just over one in five Australian voters nationally agreed that “homosexuality is immoral” (21%). W-hile not explicitly a question about legislating same-sex marriage, it would be reasonable to assume these people are among those most resolved to vote ‘no’ in any plebiscite on the issue. Incidentally, this is a voting bloc almost seven times bigger than the only one actually affected by the outcome.

28% of Liberal voters and 32% of National voters (which, when combined, still equals 28% of Coalition voters overall) believe homosexuality is immoral, compared with 15% of ALP voters and 4% of Greens voters. 31% of Independent/Other voters agree.

Overall, Australians who vote for the Coalition parties as a first preference are around 70% more likely than others to believe homosexuality is immoral.

% of First Preference Voters who agree, “I believe homosexuality is immoral”

ource: Roy Morgan Single Source, October 2013 – March 2016, sample n = 104,745 Australian electors. A small proportion of respondents neither Agree nor Disagree. 

Eight of the Top 10 electorates in which voters are most likely to believe that homosexuality is immoral are held by the Coalition Government – although number two and three are held by the ALP.

Maranoa (LNP) in Queensland is the second-safest Coalition seat in the country – and also where the most voters believe it’s wrong to be gay (40%). In number two and three respectively are the ALP-held seats of Blaxland (36%) and Werriwa (35%) in western Sydney. Other Top 10 seats, where around a third of voters believe homosexuality is immoral, include Grey in South Australia, Parkes and Reid in NSW, O’Connor in WA, another four from the Sunshine State—Forde, Hinkler, Groom and Wright.   

The seat where voters are most likely to disagree that homosexuality is immoral is Melbourne, the only Greens-held seat in Federal Parliament, where 95% of voters don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Four of the 10 are held by the ALP (Grayndler, Batman, Melbourne Ports and Canberra) and five by the Coalition—with two in particular standing out: 89% of voters in Warringah (home of former PM and ongoing same-sex marriage opponent, Tony Abbott), and 86% of voters in Wentworth (home of the current PM and proponent Malcolm Turnbull) disagree that homosexuality is immoral.

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, October 2013 – March 2016, sample n = 104,745 Australian electors. A small proportion of respondents neither Agree nor Disagree.

Although only the Prime Minister’s seat appears in either Top 10, there is also variation in the prevalence of the attitude across the electorates of other Cabinet MPs – which may help at least explain some of the recent equivocation on their post-plebiscite votes. 28% of voters in Scott Morrison’s seat of Cook and 26% of those in Steven Ciobo’s seat of Moncrieff believe homosexuality is immoral. 

Seven of these 12 Ministers represent voters who are more likely than average to believe homosexuality is immoral, however only two (Morrison and Sussan Ley) hold seats at or above the 28% norm among Coalition voters.

% of Voters in Electorate who agree “I believe homosexuality is immoral”

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, October 2013 – March 2016, sample n = 104,745 Australian electors. A small proportion of respondents neither Agree nor Disagree.

Michele Levine – CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Australians who believe that homosexuality is immoral outnumber gay people by almost seven to one (although as we’ve previously reported, it remains difficult to get a final, true estimate of how many people are gay).

“For many, a plebiscite that gives both camps and everyone in between an equal say on an issue that directly affects only the minority group lies somewhere between odd and offensive.

“A little over three million voters still believe homosexuality is immoral—and the majority of them give their first preference votes to the Coalition, and another fifth vote for Other parties whose preferences would mostly flow to them. So on a two-party preferred basis, the Coalition has a 40-point lead on the issue.

“The political reality is that the Coalition would find it very difficult to win Government without these voters.

“Interestingly, almost the same proportion of voters believe that ‘homosexuality is immoral’ as that ‘managing the economy’ is a top issue of concern. Votes flow to the Coalition at a very similar rate from each (not mutually exclusive) group. Of course, the Coalition can only outright court voters, create ads, and campaign on one of these issues even though they ‘own’ both equally.

“In the final week of the campaign, the tightrope-walking equivocation from Ministers Scott Morrison, Steve Ciobo and Julie Bishop, as well as the Prime Minister, partly serves as a wink to anti-marriage equality voters—most of whom Vote 1 for the Coalition—that there are many ways to cut a plebiscite result and impose simple, double- or triple-majority rules as required, while still assuring the majority of voters who disagree that there’s anything wrong with homosexuality, that the outcome of the whole exercise will become law.

“Of course, all the wriggle-room may cause difficulties down the track when they may all indeed have to vote on an issue, freely, that they just spent six months encouraging Australians to pick a side on.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2