On a Thursday evening at the Angle Vale Tavern in Adelaide’s north, patrons are saying “yes” to beers, but a resounding “no” to the Voice referendum.

Key points:

  • Polling suggests voters in Australia’s outer suburbs are more likely to vote No in the upcoming referendum
  • Economic issues and failure to get bipartisan support for a Yes vote are to blame, a demographer says
  • He said the No campaign resonated strongly with voters in lower income households

No-one in the pub expressed support for the Voice, with some saying they don’t know what it is.

“I’ve heard basically nothing about it. I hear all the time on the news voting Yes but what are we voting Yes for?” one patron, a young bricklayer who didn’t want to give his name, said.

Others expressed a range of reservations, including fears Aboriginal people will get special treatment or lodge a new land claims, to wishes that the government had legislated the Voice first, before trying to include it in the constitution.

“They’re confused about the whole matter,” pub regular Wayne Meaker, appointed spokesman by his friends, told the ABC.

“They’ll probably be voting No for that reason because they’re not sure.

“(They should have) probably started earlier and given more clarity about the whole situation.”

Wayne Meaker (centre) says many people are still confused about what the Voice to Parliament is.(ABC News)

Others, like Hayden Coleman, feel the Voice demonises them and that Aboriginal disadvantage is a problem of the past.

“We’ve always been made to feel like we’re the bad ones, being the younger generation, and we feel like we’ve done something wrong, so I don’t feel like we should vote Yes,” he said.

“It’ll be No all the way.”

The No sentiment reflects the expectations of pollsters, who predict — based on demographic data like income, education and employment — that support for the referendum is significantly lower in outer suburban and regional Australia than in the inner cities.

That runs counter to general election voting patterns, where Labor’s vote is strongest in areas with lower household income.

Polling suggests voters in outer suburban and regional Australia are more likely to vote No.(ABC News)

Demographer John Black blamed economic issues and the failure to secure bipartisan support for a Yes vote.

“Inflation, interest rates, they’re the things that interest them (voters) and the No campaign has resonated strongly with that,” he said.

Mr Black said polling suggested outer suburban voters were not currently receptive to proposals for social change.

“It’s the wrong time to take a position on a social issue such as this when people are focused on their own needs. It’s just simply not resonating with them and they’re coming to resent it.”

Australia’s rapidly expanding outer suburbs house 20 per cent of the country’s population, making voters there critical to any successful referendum.

Julie says no one she knows will be voting Yes in the upcoming referendum.(ABC News: Victoria Pengilley)

In the city of Ipswich, on Brisbane’s outskirts, some voters are expressing support.

“Most of my friends around me are Yes voters,” Pat, from Woodend, told the ABC.

But she feared many people misunderstood the Voice proposal.

“I think people are uninformed, I think they didn’t have enough early information to understand the basics so they’ve got worried that it’s going to take our properties, but it’s not,” she said.

John and Liz in Brisbane’s outskirts are voting No in the referendum.(ABC News: Victoria Pengilley)

Many other people were an emphatic No.

“I find it a degree of apartheid, I find it discriminatory and I find it appalling that the government has created a massive split in society,” John told the ABC.

“All of my friends, most of them which are older, I have nobody that I know voting Yes,” said Julie.