An analysis of a week's worth of media coverage of the postal survey debate reveals the "no" side is getting much more attention than the "yes" side.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday it has now sent approximately 10 million of the 16 million postal survey forms, which ask whether the law should be changed to allow two people of the same sex to marry. Campaigns for and against are in full flight.
Both sides are seeking the underdog status, with the "no" side often claiming it can't get an airing in the media. But that claim is not borne out by data.
Data provided to BuzzFeed News by media monitoring and analysis company Streem found that across 4,334 news stories in print, online and on TV and radio from September 10 to 17, the "no" campaign was mentioned in the media almost four times as much as the "yes" campaign.
In that period, the "no" side held its campaign launch in Sydney, and had a speech at the National Press Club, however just days prior, there was a large "yes" rally in Sydney, attended by opposition leader Bill Shorten, and a Liberal and Nationals for Yes event attended by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The sentiment in news articles, Streem found, was overwhelmingly neutral (about nine in every 10 stories), with the remainder evenly split between positive and negative in tone towards same-sex marriage.
Using data collected from its Vote Compass project during the federal election last year, the ABC reported that Queensland was most opposed to same-sex marriage, with five of its electorates recording the lowest support for same-sex marriage in Australia.
That analysis appears to be confirmed by Streem's own data.
Streem can analyse postcode-by-postcode viewing of articles online. According to its data Queenslanders are the least engaged in the debate, making up just 6.1% of the viewing audience, while making up close to 20% of the Australian population.
When Queenslanders read about the same-sex marriage postal survey, 63% of the articles were considered negative in tone, as being opposed to same-sex marriage. The areas of Queensland that were reading the most negative articles were postcodes including Logan, Calamvale, Runcorn, Beenleigh and Meadowbrook.
The suburbs most engaging with positive stories about same-sex marriage are all based in New South Wales and Victoria, including Newtown, the Sydney CBD, St Kilda, Southbank and Double Bay.
New South Wales residents are most engaged on the topic, making up 53.79% of all readers, followed by Victoria on 27.99%.
Fairfax and the ABC are publishing the most about same-sex marriage, and ABC News Breakfast talks the most about the issue, according to Streem.
The story that got the most attention was Shorten's call for Turnbull to take responsibility for mental health issues emanating from the postal survey process.
The highest days of audience engagement with the issue were on September 15 and 16, when former prime minister Tony Abbott's daughter Frances came out in support of same-sex marriage, in contrast to her father's hardline position against it.
Josh Taylor is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Josh Taylor at email@example.com.
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