Public prefer AV+…..just….
Political Betting has an interesting poll on voting reform. Firstly, it finds that overwhelmingly prefer ‘First Past the Post’ with 62% either satisfied with it or very satisfied compared to 38% who are not. However, people overwhelmingly support the idea of a referendum on it or alternative vote and a majority of 41% would vote for AV+ in a straight run-off.
This is may not be as straight-forward as it looks though because the 23% who ‘Dont Know’ could easily swing a poll against AV+. This poll leaves us a bit in the dark regarding the publics attitude to STV and more purely proportional systems however, it may be tentatively assumed that the high levels of satisfaction with FPTP mean appetite for a radical switch to STV is likely to be limited. This, however, is impossible to say with confidence by purely consulting this poll.
What it does suggest that there is not widespread enthusiasm for change but a general feeling some might be a good idea (perhaps in response to the expenses scandal?). Support for a referendum might sound good but Anthony Wells points out;
as I’ve often said before, people normally say yes when asked if they’d like a referendum about almost anything.
Mike Smithson wonders if there maybe some cynicism about Gordon Browns conversion to the cause of electoral reform however, its pretty impossible to tell either whether this is true or whether it would effect how people would vote in a referendum from the poll. It is to be hoped that a rebellion from Labour MPs will not damage progress towards change next week. The size of the rebellion would have to be significant as it seems the Liberal Democrats will depart from the fence to vote with the government. The one certainity with electoral reform is that it has no chance under a Conservative government proving, once again, as the New Statesman points out that they are hardly the party to make 2010 a ‘year for change’.