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The VICE Guide to the Postal Plebiscite

75 Percent of Postal Surveys Are In

But don’t relax yet. The Yes campaign isn’t going as well as expected.

by Wendy Syfret
24 October 2017, 11:56pm

Photography Ben Thomson

After months of discussion, debate, and disillusionment, we're coming to the tail end of the marriage equality postal plebiscite. In fact, the Australian Bureau of Statistics recommends your vote be in the mail by October 27—that's this Friday dummy! If you miss that deadline, your vote might not arrive in time to be counted.

So far the ABS estimates they've received 11.9 million survey forms, which means roughly 74.5 per cent of eligible Australians have voted. Honestly, it's a bit of a downer compared to early expectations from the Yes campaign that predicted 80 per cent of forms would be returned within two days of being received.

On the up side, reports look good for the Yes campaign. A Sky News Reachtel poll of nearly 5,000 people claimed 64 percent of them had voted for equal marriage. Special Minister of State Scott Ryan predicted to Sky, "we could get very comfortably to two-thirds, which is an extraordinary response and a testament to the conduct of the debate and Australians' willingness to participate in the survey."

Hell, earlier this month even Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, one of the leading forces behind the plebiscite, admitted that he predicts the outcome will be Yes. Speaking at an event in Sydney he noted: "My judgment is the 'yes' vote will get up and it will be in the order of... whatever it is... but it will be a win for the 'yes' vote and that is my judgment of where the outcome will be." He was the first senior conservative cabinet minister to make a call for the Yes team.

But this is no time to get complacent. Newspoll reported this week that the No campaign's aggressive approach at the end of the campaign has shown results. They found in the two weeks after the surveys were sent out, support for same-sex marriage has fallen from 62 per cent to 57 per cent, while opposition swelled from 30 to 34 percent.

These results were mirrored in a Guardian poll, which reported 60 percent of the 1,859 voters they surveyed went with Yes. But that was a four percent drop from when they asked three weeks earlier. Another bummer to come out of the Guardian poll is that despite very visible engagement among younger voters, older voters are still shown to have a higher participation rate. They reported that 91 percent of people aged over 55 had already voted, compared to only 60 percent of people under 35.

Of course polls are tricky, and only deal with a fraction of the population. So you know what? Just fucking vote. Drag your ballot from the bottom of that pile of shit on your kitchen bench and fill it in.

The final results will be released November 15.

For more on the postal survey, check out:

Sydney Promises to Give Same-Sex Couples Free Weddings

Research Suggests "Yes" Voters Are Smarter Than "No" Voters

It's Time to Listen to Your LGBTQ+ Elders