Expert Casts Doubt on ‘Framed’ Native Forestry Polling Results

The majority of Australian's are completely indifferent to native forestry.

Wed 23 Aug 23


Wood Central can reveal that the research company behind a survey commissioned by the Australia Insitute used a marketing technique known as ‘framing.’

Framing is a popular technique used by political campaign marketers where responders decide based on how the information is presented.

The most crucial part of the frame is how the information is presented, not the substance of the information itself. 

In many ways, it’s a game of perception and appeal.

The survey found that 75% of Labor and 57% of Coalition voters supported extending bans on native harvesting to include NSW and Tasmania.

Wood Central spoke to a market research firm with experience conducting surveys like the one released last week.

The firm, which spoke to Wood Central on the condition of anonymity, said the market research company probably used an online omnibus survey method – where multiple organisations share the cost of the research. 

The method’s advantages include quick and cost-effective results, but its limitations include limited population targeting. 

“For example, looking at the polling methodology, it’s clear that the sample size in Tasmania was not significant enough to draw a result.” 

But the question and consistency in the results across states and age brackets drew the firms’ attention .

“It’s highly unusual to have effectively blanket results across states and age demographics.”

“When we conduct surveys, we expect a significantly higher ‘Don’t Know / Not Sure’ result. In most instances, this result could be as high as 30% with the correct question framing.”

This brings up the question itself…

“Without question, the choice used raises many red flags.”

The Australia Institute surveyed 1,501 Australians about their attitudes towards the logging of native forests in Australia using the question:

The governments of Victoria and Western Australia will end native forest logging this year. Would you support or oppose an end to native forest logging in New South Wales and Tasmania as well?

“The first sentence alone heavily skews the results, making the result predetermined,” the firm said.

“Remove the first sentence and just ask, ‘Would you support or oppose an end to native forest logging in New South Wales and Tasmania’ and it’s likely that the results are completely reversed.”

Wood Central understands that similar polling was conducted last year with the reverse result.

“And then you have the problem where the question does not explicitly state whether a substitute or alternative to native forestry exists.”

Framing has been a well-worn political tactic. Footage courtesy of @BBCComedyGreats.

Forestry’s problem is that the majority of the community is completely indifferent to the industry’s very existence.

“All our research indicates that the Australian population simply do not care enough about the industry to make an informed decision one way or another.”

“The vast majority of Australians are concerned with cost of living pressures, and forestry’s job is to educate the community of its importance and value.”

And that, in a nutshell, is forestry’s ultimate challenge!


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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