May 19, 2012
WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange has received encouragement for his Senate bid from a poll in which a quarter of voters said they would be likely to vote for him.
Mr Assange has said he plans to run for the Senate, campaigning for greater openness in government.
UMR found 43 per cent had a positive opinion of him, with only 27 per cent feeling negative towards him. Green voters were most likely to be positive about him (66 per cent of them had a positive opinion compared with 45 per cent of Labor supporters and 40 per cent of Coalition voters). The poll of 1000 was taken in late April.
Asked about Mr Assange’s Senate bid, men were more likely than women to suggest they would vote for him and people under 30. He received more potential support for the Senate from Greens than from Labor or Coalition voters. His support was relatively evenly spread across the country.
UMR managing director John Utting said that on the numbers, Mr Assange – whose support crossed party lines but was more concentrated among Green voters – would stand a real chance of being elected, prevailing over the Greens for a spot in a half Senate election.
But attitudes could become more negative in an election, when he would be vulnerable ”to a strong campaign emphasising his absentee status, should he of course still be held by authorities in the UK or Sweden”. At present Mr Assange is still under house arrest in Britain, waiting for a Supreme Court decision on his appeal against being extradited to Sweden where he faces allegations of sexual assault