NBN named as most important issue for 6 percent of voters

Out of a choice of seven topics, the National Broadband Network was the least selected option in a poll of 1,003 voters.

The National Broadband Network (NBN), although widely supported by the electorate, is far from the most important issue at the election, an exclusive ZDNet survey undertaken by Metapoll has revealed.

The poll showed that overall, voters rate the economy as the most important issue, chosen by 23 percent of respondents. It was followed by health, climate change, education, asylum seekers, leadership, and, in last place, the NBN.

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Overall order of importance on seven issues from respondents.

(Image: Chris Duckett/ZDNet)

Conducted from May 31 to June 6, the online survey had 1,003 respondents who were asked the question: "Which issue is the most important to you personally in this election campaign? Please pick one out of the following."

The NBN was backed by a higher percentage of male respondents, who chose it 9 percent of the time, but it still languished in last place.

For men, the economy remained the most important issue, picked by 28 percent, followed by climate change on 15 percent, asylum seekers and political leadership at 13 percent, and education and health tied as the most important issue for 11 percent of voters.

Health was the most important issue for female respondents, with 24 percent choosing it, followed by the economy, at 19 percent; education, on 17 percent; climate change, at 15 percent of respondents; asylum seekers, on 14 percent; and political leadership at the top for 9 percent of respondents.

The NBN was also the least preferred option by female respondents, garnering only 4 percent of respondents who considered it the most important issue.

The results show that while the NBN is well thought of in the electorate, it lags substantially in importance for voters.

A Metapoll survey conducted exclusively for ZDNet last month showed that the NBN enjoyed support from 86 percent of respondents, with only 15 percent against the project once those who responded with "don't know" were excluded.

By voting intention, the results from May showed that 50 percent of respondents back the NBN and were more likely to vote for the Labor party at the upcoming election, and 36 percent of respondents said they were more likely to vote for the Liberal party and supported the NBN, while 9 percent of respondents said they were more likely to go with Labor but were against the NBN, and 6 percent said they were opposed to the NBN and more likely to vote Liberal.

Broken down by gender, 87 percent of female supported the NBN, with 84 percent of males backing it.

During the election campaign, the NBN found itself in the spotlight following Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids on the office of former Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy, and the home of a Labor staffer.

The AFP is currently investigating the leaking of confidential documents out of the company responsible for deploying the NBN around Australia, however the documents seized in the raids are currently with the Senate clerk, and await the next sitting of the upper house to determine whether Labor's claim of parliamentary privilege on the documents applies. That sitting will occur after the July 2 election.

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