Leaders, the economy or Iraq? Explaining voting in the 2004 Australian election

Ian Mcallister*, Clive Bean

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    Following the 2001 "border security" election, it was assumed that the 2004 federal election would revert to the traditional campaign battleground of socio-economic issues. This prediction proved to be only partly true, and while economic and social issues did figure in the election campaign, much more important were popular perceptions of the leaders. Indirectly, the Iraq War also had some impact, mediated through evaluations of John Howard. Analysis of leader effects suggests that Mark Latham was not the electoral liability for Labor that many have subsequently claimed. Ultimately, the Coalition won the election because they had a highly popular leader who had presided over a period of sustained economic growth. The election emphasizes the central role that the party leaders play in modern election campaigns.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)604-620
    Number of pages17
    JournalAustralian Journal of Politics and History
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


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