Six-Point Lead for Yes Campaign in AV Referendum

John Rentoul

av 300x225 Six Point Lead for Yes Campaign in AV ReferendumComRes for the The Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror tomorrow asked the official question drafted by the Electoral Commission (the Government’s earlier version, right) for the referendum in May:

At present, the UK uses the “first past the post” system to elect MPs to the House of Commons.  Should the “alternative vote” system be used instead?

Yes 36%

No 30%

Don’t know 34%

(Answers weighted by likelihood to vote.)

This compares with recent leads for Yes of 17 points (Angus Reid) and 6 points (ICM), using the official wording; and for No of 9 points (YouGov), using a question that tries to explain the difference between the two systems.

A further question suggests that the Yes vote could increase:

I could be persuaded to support changing the voting system in the forthcoming referendum in May when I have heard more about the arguments for and against.

Agree 61%

Disagree 18%

Don’t know 21%

Among people who don’t know how they would vote in the referendum question above, 60% agree that they could be persuaded to vote Yes and only 7% disagree. If we add these potential supporters of AV to those who already do agree, the Yes vote climbs to 58%, assuming the No vote remains at 27%, and don’t knows decline to 15%.

Voting intention figures for a general election show the Labour lead strengthening and the lowest Lib Dem figure recorded by ComRes since it started polling in 2004:

Con       36% (-1)

Lab        40% (+1)

LD          10% (-1)

Others   14% (+1)

(Change since last online ComRes poll for IoS/SM 19 December.)

Electoral Calculus shows a Labour majority of 40 and the Lib Dems reduced to just 14 seats.

Additional Questions:

At a time of major public spending cuts the Government should be much tougher in clawing back bankers’ bonuses through the tax system.

Agree 81%

Disagree 9%

A Labour government under Ed Miliband would be better at protecting people’s jobs.

Agree 30%

Disagree 38%

Don’t know 32%

Only 13% of Lib Dem voters agree.

Ed Miliband is turning out to be a good leader of the Labour Party.

—————–Now                  Dec

Agree            22%                  17%

Disagree       35%                  32%

Don’t know  43%                  50%

Andrew Hawkins, Chairman of ComRes, commented: “Ed Miliband is not effectively reaching across party divides either: 20% of people who voted Lib Dem in 2010 agree, 30% disagree.  When we compare this with the fact that 35% of 2010 Lib Dem voters would now switch to Labour, it appears that this support for Labour is despite Ed Miliband’s leadership, not because of it.”

Nick Clegg is turning out to be a good leader of the Liberal Democrats.

—————–Now                  Dec

Agree            28%                  26%

Disagree       49%                  49%

Don’t know  23%                  25%

David Cameron is turning out to be a good Prime Minister.

—————–Now                  Dec

Agree            38%                  38%

Disagree       43%                  41%

Don’t know  19%                  21%

Hawkins: “Current Lib Dem voters are fairly positive, on 50% agreement compared to 30% who disagree. Perhaps this offers comfort to those arguing for Coalition candidates in some seats?”

Methodology note: ComRes interviewed 2,006 GB adults online 12th-13th January 2011. Data were weighted by past vote recall. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.  Full tables at ComRes.

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  • James Farrar

    “A further question suggests that the Yes vote could increase:”

    It’s a dreadful question because it’s only half the story. There are many don’t knows, who by definition are more likely to vote Yes when they know more. But they’re also more likely to vote No.

  • richardedwards

    I don’t understand AV voting at all. It appears that you can pick a favourite candidate, and then put the rest in order of preference, so some voters get two bites of the cherry? If you can select a favourite, why can’t you cast a negative vote, for a candidate you detest?

  • fishbase

    Place a “1″ against your preferred candidate, a “2″ against your second preference, and so on. You may choose to vote for all, some, one or indeed none of the candidates. It really couldn’t be much simpler.

  • Richard Dodd

    if you want to vote against a party, you just have to put all other parties above them

  • mundomeister

    If it goes to more than one round, everyone gets a second vote, but those who voted for the popular candidates vote for the same candidate again (in the US it’s called instant run-off voting because it’s like having run-off elections but with only one ballot). Everyone gets one vote, but one that counts.

  • greggf

    How does the AV vote compare with other quasi-proportional systems used in the european, scottish, welsh, NI elections?
    It seems sensible to adopt a system for Westminster already in use elsewhere in the UK. Does AV do this?

  • Mark Wilson

    You do not have to vote for second or more preferences if you do not want to. For those that do want to they get the choice to do this. In no Election do you have the ability to express your displeasure with a particular candidate but in a lot of Election systems you have the chance to express “none of the above”

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