Die Hard: How grey Australia keeps the Libs competitive
Old people never die – in fact they are feeling good and just want to keep voting conservative way into their second century.
Like the kids from Fame, Coalition voters want to live forever, long after they can remember their own name, laying down a unique challenge to policy makers on the Left.
These are the alarming findings from the Punch’s inaugural Death Survey, where we link attitudes to death with voting behaviour in an effort to drag the national political debate down to a new low.
The questions were simple: in this week’s Essential Report we asked voters two questions.
How are you feeling? And how long do you want to live?
In terms of well-being, 17 per cent describe their health as excellent, 69 per cent say they are generally good, with just 12 per cent self-diagnosing ‘not so good;’.
But when it comes to Liberal voters, they feel just that little bit better, with 20 per cent saying they are excellent - compared to 15 per cent of Labor voters.
When it comes to life expectancy, a scary 25 per cent of Australians want to live past 100, with only 13 per cent seeing 80 as a good innings.
Again, when it comes to Liberal voters, the aspirations are even higher with 28 per cent wanting to raise the bat for the ton, compared to just 21 per cent of Labor voters.
So it is with the backing of hard data that we can argue for the first time that Liberal voters feel healthier and want to live longer than Labor voters.
Taken on its own this may just be point of cheap trivia, but in light of long-term polling on Party identification these findings actually have serious political implications.
That is because of a simple fact of Australian politics – the older you are, the more likely you are to identify with the Coalition.
Having monitored this trend through the last federal election campaign, EMC has come up with the following age break-down for party identification:
The Coalition is the dominant party for older Australians and while they may be expected to thin in numbers over time, The Punch Death Survey shows this may not be happening any time soon.
Which leaves a number of policy options for our major parties as they try to extract maximum demographic advantage.
For Labor, I see three options to cap the influence of aging voters:
- first, stop investing in the machines that go bing
- secondly, embrace voluntary euthanasia and back it with a vigorous marketing campaign
- finally, introduce age caps on voting – if we can’t vote for the first 18 years of our life, why should we vote for the last 18 years? And with DNA profiling becoming more specific it won’t be long before we will be able to pinpoint or expected date of departure at least to the accuracy of a Qantas service.
For the Liberals the response is far simpler – compulsory water aerobics for all retirees.
Next week: Taboo-Busters #3 Sex and Politics
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