How does your demographic theory work with the “battlers” phenomenon? Was it merely transitory?
- asks commenter Leon Di Stefano.
I don’t think anyone has quite worked out how to define ‘battler’ in an easily defensible way. Peter Brent wrote a paper (pdf) a few years ago showing that Labor had always held on to its traditional seats in low income areas. But people much further up the income scale may still think of themselves as ‘battling’. Even in the top 20% of income earners, the General Social Survey finds a small percentage of people who have been unable to pay bills on time.
But claims that blue collar workers have swung to the Coalition have been easier to test. In the Australian Election Survey, data collated (pdf) by Murray Goot and Ian Watson shows that the Liberals did do better among blue collar voters 1996-2004 than they did 1987-1993, picking up 5% on average (Labor lost twice that, with blue collar voters going to minor parties as well as the Liberals). But except for 1996 Labor still had more blue collar voters than the Liberals.
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