Labor's 1943 landslide

political market research, Evatt, and the public opinion polls

Murray Goot*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines market research commissioned by or on behalf of candidates in the early 1940s, a period that long pre-dates the introduction of market research identified in earlier accounts; its particular focus is on a 1943 opinion survey conducted by Sylvia Ashby in H. V. Evatt's electorate of Barton, the earliest piece of political market research for which there remains a full report. In the light of the Barton survey it offers a critical re-analysis of the national and state-based opinion polls conducted ahead of the 1943 federal election, the first for which Australian newspapers commissioned polls. And it argues that since Labor's sweeping victory was anticipated long before the election not only by the Barton survey but also by a proper reading of the newspaper polls, it is unlikely the election campaign itself was decisive in securing Labor its record result - the unexpected nature of its historic victory notwithstanding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-166
Number of pages18
JournalLabour History
Issue number107
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

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