I keep dreaming about the election. Literally. This can’t be a good thing.
At the same time, given that it’s pretty much my job to follow this thing at the moment, and given the difficulty I’m having in keeping up to date with the sheer volume of information out there, I can’t help but wonder how difficult it must be for anyone who isn’t getting paid to do this… or who isn’t interested at all.
Update: And on this very issue of disengagement, see this piece by Mark Davis in today’s SMH, which supports my theory that the reason the young voters on Insight a couple of weeks back were so disproportionately uninterested in politics was because they were undecided about who they were going to vote for six weeks out from an election.
Davis refers to American political scientist, Russell Dalton, who divides voters into four categories:
"ritual partisans (those who identify themselves with a major party but do not follow politics with a great deal of interest); cognitive partisans (who identify with a party and follow politics with great interest); engaged apartisans (who follow politics closely but are not aligned with a major party); and disengaged apoliticals (with little interest in politics and no partisan identification)."
"The 2004 Australian Election Study also shows that 70 per cent of these apoliticals did not decide how to vote until some time during the election campaign itself. By contrast, three-quarters of ritual and cognitive partisans and half of the apartisans had made up their minds before the election was announced.
This means it’s the people with the least interest in politics who are likely to have the biggest impact on the result.”
As I’ve been arguing, lack of affiliation to a political party doesn’t necessarily signal disengagement (nor does partisanship mean you give a crap about politics), but if you’ve paid attention to politics at all over the past three years, you must have some idea by now which way you’re going vote, whatever way that is.