In an exit poll of voters at Australia House in London on Saturday, conducted by Australian Times, Labor holds a commanding lead over the Coalition on a two party preferred basis. However, the primary vote of the two major parties and the Greens was split by just 2%.
Following the casting of their ballots, 116 people agreed to share with Australian Times how they had voted in the election for the House of Representatives.
Two party preferred
Both Liberal and Labor parties historically consider votes cast at Australia House in London to strongly favour Labor, reflecting the progressive mindsets of travellers and expatriates.
As such, the results of the Australian Times exit poll indicate migration of Labor’s core left primary vote over to The Greens, evidence of a dissatisfaction with Julia Gillard and her government that translates to a swing of the middle-ground vote towards Tony Abbott and the Coalition. This trend may be borne out in the wider election next Saturday.
The results of the exit poll were described as “very encouraging” by Liberal spokesman in the UK, Jason Groves.
“This is a Labor booth,” said Mr Groves.
“We normally poll about 30% here (two party preferred). This is good news to report to HQ.”
With approximately 20,000 people expected to cast their vote at the Australian High Commission in London by the time the polls close there next Friday, Australia House is the largest polling station in the election.
It is also unique from polling stations in Australia in that it is truly a national polling booth, hosting voters representing all parts of Australia as opposed to just a locality.
While conventionally considered a ‘backpackers’ booth’, representing the youth vote, this is a too simplistic notion. The voters encountered by Australian Times during the exit poll represented a broader cross-section of Australian society than the dated London Aussie backpacker stereotype would suggest.
Those polled included stroller pushing mums, working professional couples in their 30s and 40s and travelling empty nesters in their 50s and 60s as well as the young working holiday makers who occasionally even had a visiting parent in tow.
Polling officials at Australia House reported that 700 to 800 Australians cast ballots in person there each on Thursday and Friday with a similar turn-out on Saturday. Many more thousands are expected by Friday this week when polls in London close ahead of election day in Australia on Saturday August 21.
With many London based Australians away in Europe for the summer holidays it is also expected that the proportion of postal votes cast via the High Commission in London for this election to be higher than usual.
More Election 2010 on Australian Times:
How and when to vote at Australia House
Message from Julia Gillard to Australian Times readers
Tony Abbott’s message to overseas voters
Interview with Greens’ Bob Brown
Will the real Julia Gillard please step up?
More can vote after GetUp! wins High Court election case