Wednesday, 21 July 2010 23:25

The filter survey is closed. Here are the results

By

38,427 people can't be wrong, can they?

Seventeen well-known organisations, ranging from major news outlets to niche-focussed sites, promoted a web-poll with a very simple question: "Would you vote for a political party that supports the internet filter?

After a week of voting, the poll has closed and the results are in.

Interestingly, the question was posed on the Tuesday before the election was called, and closed the Tuesday after.  Casual observation of the aggregating results suggested that the calling of the election had no significant effect on the relative proportion of the voting, but it may have increased the level of interest.

So, what were the results?

Of the 38,427 who voted, 809 (a little over 2%) agreed that they would vote for a political party that supported the internet filter.

390 people (almost exactly 1%) claimed to not care one way or the other, although why they made the effort to vote is an intriguing side-issue.

This leaves 37,228 (slightly under 97%) who claimed they would not support a political party that supported the filter.

On the face of it, this would seem like a significant refusal of the filter, but it is important to place the numbers in some kind of context.


Firstly, we must categorise the voters in this poll as people who have a strong interest in the outcome of the filter debate.

Are there less than 40,000 such people in Australia?  This represents a very tiny fraction (around a quarter of one percent) of the nearly 14,000,000 people currently enrolled to vote in Australia.  Of course we also have no idea how many of the 38,427 are enrolled to vote in Australia; hopefully most of them.

Secondly, we might want to put some opposite context on the numbers.  It would be reasonably safe to assume that in the vast majority, these represent voters from major urban areas - places where there are a good number of seats where the sitting member could be deposed for a small proportion of the number of poll contributors.  Maybe.

Thirdly, one might also argue that it is easy to proclaim via an anonymous poll that the Labor Party is anathema because of their stand on the filter, but when it comes to standing in the booth with the voting paper before us, old loyalties die hard.

Until the main-stream media bring this to the fore as an election issue and force the major parties "on the record," the other 99.75% of voters will have no opinion on the matter and will not be voting with the issue of internet filtering foremost in their minds.


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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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