TICK OF APPROVAL: It will be a
TICK OF APPROVAL: It will be a "yes'' at the gay marriage plebiscite, a poll and bookmakers say. Renee Pilcher

'Yes' on same sex marriage, but we want a plebiscite too

AUSTRALIANS support same sex marriage as a human right and will back a change in the marriage law, according to two significant but very different polls.

Both polls predict a call for legalisation of gay marriage at the postal vote, which the Federal Government promises to hold before November.

But the announced plebiscite will be only one more hoop for reform, according to the government's announcement yesterday.

If approved at the plebiscite, the proposed reform will then go to a free vote of parliament, but only if the plebiscite says yes first.

MPs will be saved that discomfort, however, if the plebiscite says no.

But that will not happen, according to polls based on widely varying methods with good records in each case for predicting political results.

But despite this predicted vote for change, one poll says Australians will still manage to infuriate almost everyone with a strong view, including those who will welcome the prediction of change.

A YouGov poll published yesterday by the Fifty Acres Communications Agency has shown survey results which could reflect an easygoing, almost "who cares?" approval of same sex marriage.

But, contrary to the position of almost everyone speaking out in favour of gay marriage, it seems a slim majority of us say the decision should still be made by plebiscite.

A vast proportion of 18 to 24-year-olds support the change and 11% oppose it, leaving only 6% apathetic.

But in the 55-plus age group, the result is much closer, but still in favour of a change, with 50% in favour and 39% against.

Overall, the results are 60% supporting a change in the law to allow same sex marriage and 51% in favour of a plebiscite.

About one-third say we should have more plebiscites and referendums and want people to be able to vote directly on more issues.

Around a quarter say we have too many and parliament should make more decisions itself.

The survey methods involved have a proven record of accuracy in US and UK politics, the Fifty Acres organisation claims.

It says the YouGov methods have been in the lead in predicting the close Conservative win at the recent British election, in contrast with the large Conservative lead predicted by most other organisations.

Yesterday, another polling method with an excellent though not perfect record for predicting election results showed a clear win for same sex marriage.

That poll, bookmakers' odds, has beaten the more conventional polling companies on accuracy many times, despite its apparently frivolous nature.

Bookmakers say there is nothing frivolous about the opinions of people putting their money where their predictions are.

The betting markets published by online bookmaker sportsbet.com.au showed the change was a clear favourite with a market offering a $1.35 payout for every dollar wagered in favour of the change and a big $3 for a $1 bet against the change going through.

The plebiscite was announced yesterday by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann.