Workers and climate change

Do working-class voters support action on climate change? The National Party hopes not, it is vehemently opposed to the Rudd government’s Emissions trading Scheme (ETS). Does this reflect doubts about the scheme in regional Australia? Could Labor lose votes, particularly among working-class voters, in regional areas? Some have suggested that recent polls support this and similar suggestions made in the US. I have looked at the 2007 Australian Election Survey (available from ASSDA) . it asked several questions about the greenhouse effect but I have focused on whether voters were extremely concerned, quite concerned or not very concerned about the greenhouse effect. First of all there is little evidence of a class divide on the question, perhaps because of female service workers:

Extremely Concerned

Quite concerned

Not very concerned

Managers (includes farmers & farm managers)

40

44

16

Professionals

53

37

10

Other

53

36

11

Farmers & farm managers

22

46

32

So much for Green hopes about farmers and climate change. ‘Other’ is mostly manual and clerical/service workers. Attitudes to the greenhouse effect are strongly linked to party support (here for the Reps):

Labor

Liberals

Nationals

Green

Extremely concerned

62

34

23

82

Not very concerned

8

16

26

3

It is clear that the Nationals are the stronghold of doubters about climate change. The impact of region is significant it makes little difference for the Liberals but is significant for Labor (here I have combined all the non-major city respondents into one category and ignored the tiny number of alleged major city National voters, who presumably misread the survey). Regional Labor (and Green) voters are  less concerned about climate change, 69% of major city Labor voters are extremely concerned about climate change but only 60% in the regions.  However there is not a huge split, perhaps there is enough to raise National hopes but not enough to make a major difference. Extremely concerned about the greenhouse effect:

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Labor

Liberal

Nationals

Greens

Non-major cities

10

15

28

6

Major cities

6

17

1

Not very concerned:

Labor

Liberal

Nationals

Greens

Non-major cities

60

34

22

74

Major cities

69

34

87

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