As election day approaches on 21st May, research released today by Flash - a first of its kind news streaming service - has revealed the nation’s awareness of politics and recall of political news relative to pop culture stories.

Key insights from The Flash Report, based on research conducted via YouGov have been emblazoned on billboards across Sydney to highlight some of these unique perceptions and call on Aussies to get informed before they go to the polls.

One billboard, appearing in social media mecca Bondi Beach, calls out the admission by 1.3 million Aussies who believe the political term “Pork Barrelling” refers to a type of social media trend.

Image matters

Luckily, or perhaps unluckily for the running party leaders, most Aussies (70%) value

image-related qualities when forming an opinion on political leaders.

Almost six in ten (57%) say they form an opinion on political leaders based on whether they appear trustworthy, while a third (35%) say it is important that they haven't been involved in any scandals, and a quarter (24%) value political leaders who are charismatic with a strong personality.

What’s the bigger slap in the face - Will Smith or political scandals?

The Flash Report also revealed that political stories are playing second fiddle to pop culture moments when it comes to what’s resonating with the nation.

Aussies are more likely to recall news about Djokovic's deportation (52%), Ash Barty retiring from tennis (47%) and Will Smith's slap at the Oscars (46%), than the government's response to floods (38%) and latest vaccine rollout (20%).

Surprisingly, 2022’s political scandals didn’t rank as memorable for many Australians, with only a quarter (25%) recalling NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian’s leaked text exchange as a significant story.

Wiggles win with young Aussies

For Millennial and Gen Z Aussies, pop culture news from 2022 is much more memorable to them (81%) than political news (62%).

The Flash Report also revealed two fifths of Millennials and Gen Z (39%) are more likely to say they can name more members of The Wiggles than State Premiers (26%).

For Aussies more broadly, 42% are more confident in their abilities to name members of the national cricket team and tennis players than the Premiers of Australian states (27%).

House Lannister or Parliament House?

Millennials and Gen Z are more likely to know how many seasons of Game of Thrones have aired than how many Australian PMs there have been in the last 10 years (27% compared to 17%).

Almost half (49%) of Australians could not recall that John Gorton, Frank Forde and William McMahon were previous Australian PMs, with almost a third (31%) admitting that they do not know who they are at all.

‘Pork Barrelling’ - political jargon or social media trend?

Political jargon has the majority of Aussies confused, with 60% incorrectly guessing, or admitting they had no idea, what ‘Pork Barrelling’ is. The equivalent of 1.3 million Aussies believe it refers to some sort of social media trend.

The Flash Report revealed that party leaders have work on their hands in the lead up to the election, as just 11% of Aussies say they completely understand the policies of the main Australian political parties. Moreover, the equivalent of 2.3 million Aussies say they have “no clue” when it comes to knowledge on the main Australian political party's policies.

Interestingly, Aussies who claim they “completely understand” the policies of the main Australian political parties are the most likely to say it is important that political leaders are the most attractive or hottest (26%), and possess a memorable nickname (20%), when forming an opinion.

Kate de Brito, Executive Director of Flash commented: “Our Flash report has revealed a huge diversity of political knowledge and perspectives among Australians. It’s clear that pop culture and entertainment has eclipsed recall of recent political moments. However, Australian politics is proving to be the nation’s juiciest reality show and as we gear up for the election on 21 May, there’s never been more reason to stay informed.”

Ms de Brito continued, “From confusing jargon to unfolding domestic and international events influencing policy, the political landscape can often be confusing. Flash brings all of your news together from the world's most trusted global and local news channels, to present a diverse range of opinions and perspectives - streamed live and on demand, on your favourite device.”

About the research

The research was conducted by YouGov online between 31st March – 4th April 2022 based on a survey comprising of a nationally representative sample of 1,092 Australian citizens aged 18 years and older. 



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