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Assange will struggle to win Senate seat: poll

WikiLeaks Party founder Julian Assange is running for the Australian Senate from inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

WikiLeaks Party founder Julian Assange is running for the Australian Senate from inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Photo: PA

Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks Party has generated considerable interest among voters but probably not enough for him to be elected to the Senate, a new poll shows.

Support for Assange and the WikiLeaks Party was highest in Victoria, where 22 per cent of those knowing about him said they would consider voting for him.

This equates to 15 per cent of all Victorians, according to the Fairfax-Nielsen poll.

In a half-Senate election, a candidate needs just over 14 per cent of the vote to be elected, so Assange would win a Senate seat in Victoria without preferences only if every voter considering voting for him actually did.

Assange is running for a Victorian Senate seat in this year’s election but will be unable to campaign here because he is confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The WikiLeaks founder has been granted political asylum after losing court challenges to prevent him being sent to Sweden to answer sexual assault allegations.

Two polling experts rated the WikiLeaks Party's electoral chances as ‘‘highly unlikely’’.

‘‘I think his candidacy looks credible from these numbers but I still think on those numbers it would be a very big ask to win,’’ said Nielsen pollster John Stirton.

‘‘He’s in the ballpark of the support he needs but he’s got to convert every single one ... and I think that’s highly unlikely.’’

The ABC’s election analyst, Antony Green, said Assange was ‘‘in the mix’’ but only if ‘‘lots of other minor parties’’ gave him their preferences. Assange’s chances on first preferences were ‘‘about nil’’.

Mr Green expects the WikiLeaks Party to win about 3 per cent of the vote nationally and perhaps 4 per cent in Victoria.The WikiLeaks Party stands for ‘‘truthfulness and the free flow of information’’, according to its website. Its 11-person national council includes a mathematician, a scientist, a digital archivist and a social media consultant with the Sea Shepherd anti-whaling group.

To win a Senate seat, Assange needs to steal votes from left-leaning parties but the state he is running in – Victoria – is also the state with the most resilient support for Labor and the Greens.

‘‘It’s the one state where Assange doesn’t put a left seat at risk,’’ Mr Green said.

Nationally, 69 per cent of voters say they know ‘‘a lot’’ or ‘‘a little’’ about Assange and WikiLeaks, and of these 19 per cent would consider voting for the party.

This equates to about 13 per cent support across the whole population. So even if every voter that considered voting for WikiLeaks actually did, the party would still need to rely on preferences.

Support for Assange and WikiLeaks was second highest in NSW, with about 14 per cent of the population saying they would consider voting for the party, and lowest in the ACT, with only 5 per cent of the population.

The national poll has a margin of error of 2.6 per cent and the state figures have a margin of error of about 5 per cent.

 

 

 

79 comments

  • Shame he is not able to get into the senate. I would hate for him to knock out some Greens in the process too?

    Commenter
    Daniel
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    April 16, 2013, 2:09PM
    • A delicious irony if Green prefernces got him in at the expense of one of there's. There should be no Green complaints however. That's how they got their person into the lower house with Liberal 2nd tier votes.

      Commenter
      wennicks
      Date and time
      April 16, 2013, 2:19PM
    • @wennicks - a quick bit of electoral knowledge - a party's preference cannot be used against them. If the Greens and Wikileaks party were going after one seat, no Greens preference would flow to Wikileaks, and vice versa.

      As for the Lib preferences helping the Greens, that is how our preferential system works. When the last two standing in the seat of Melbourne (ALP and Greens), then all the preferences from every voter who didn't vote ALP or Greens gets counted. In this case, some Lib voters preferenced ALP over Greens, others Greens over ALP.

      Commenter
      ST
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      April 16, 2013, 3:07PM
    • An interesting thoughtwennicks, but it is of course impossible for greens preferences to elect Assange instead of 'one of there's' (sic). If it comes down to Wikileaks vs Greens for the final seat, Greens preferences will presumably go to the Greens candidate... They'd only go to Wikileaks once the Green vote is exhausted.

      Commenter
      AlexED
      Date and time
      April 16, 2013, 3:08PM
    • OK OK...........I stand corrected
      I just liked the thought without spending more than 15 seconds analysing the practicalities.

      Commenter
      wennicks
      Date and time
      April 16, 2013, 4:44PM
    • "@wennicks - a quick bit of electoral knowledge - a party's preference cannot be used against them. If the Greens and Wikileaks party were going after one seat, no Greens preference would flow to Wikileaks, and vice versa."

      The question of greens preferences flowing to wikileaks, would only arise if the greens got less votes than wikileaks.

      Commenter
      enno
      Location
      sydney
      Date and time
      April 16, 2013, 5:19PM
  • Oh come on pollsters. A guy in a bunker in London has 22% primary support already and his chances of winning are about nil? I'll bet the other minor parties give him preferences and he wins, or even that he wins on primaries. Julian Assange is just the sort of slap in the face to major parties that Australian voters are looking for right now. He will snowball.

    Commenter
    Butch
    Date and time
    April 16, 2013, 2:11PM
    • Yes.

      Commenter
      SB
      Location
      Mentone
      Date and time
      April 16, 2013, 2:17PM
    • Julian Assange is a self-proclaimed anarchist who was ordered by the UK courts to be extradited to Sweden for questioning in relation to alleged sexual offences; who failed to answer bail in London; and who has now spent the best part of one year camping out in Ecuador's embassy. Yes -- Ecuador! That friend of free speech! Assange is EXACTLY what Australian voters are looking for! Good grief.

      Commenter
      liberaldemocrat
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 16, 2013, 2:33PM
    • @liberaldemocrat. When you can adequately explain why Swedich police cannot travel to London to interview him when they can travel to Mexico to conduct interviews then I will look at this matter in a different light. There is something smelly about this whole affair. It could have been over years ago as he has said from day one he will meet with Swedish police in London. So at the end of the day, when all done and dusted, that is THE question the remains to be answered.

      Commenter
      Cisco Kid
      Date and time
      April 16, 2013, 2:52PM

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