New Reuters/ Ipsos MORI poll shows higher public support for changing the voting system to Alternative Vote, although many people are still to make up their minds
The Reuters/ Ipsos MORI Political Monitor, shows that among those who are certain to vote, half support adopting the Alternative Vote system (49%) while a third are against (37%). The remaining 13% are not sure which way they would vote.
At this stage, just under half of the public say they are absolutely certain to vote at the referendum on 5th May (46%) – compared to 59% who say they are certain to vote at an immediate general election.
Among the population as a whole, two in five (42%) support the change to AV while a third (35%) are against it. However, two and a half months before the referendum, one in five (21%) of the population do not know which way they would vote.
The question was based on the referendum wording and read as follows:
“As you may know, there will be a referendum on 5th May on whether to change the system used to elect Members of Parliament to the House of Commons or keep the current system. 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?”
Party support is a key differentiator of attitudes towards AV. Support for AV is strongest among Liberal Democrats (60%) and Labour supporters (53%), while just 22% of Conservatives support the change of electoral system.
Young people are most in favour of electoral reform, with 49% of those aged 18-24 saying they would vote ‘Yes’. Older people are the most opposed, with half (48%) of those aged 65+ preferring to keep first-past-the-post.
People in social grades DE are most likely to vote ‘No’ (39%).
“There are still plenty of votes to be won for both the Yes and No campaigns,” said Helen Cleary, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI. “Even among those who are certain to vote, one in ten are undecided. People don’t yet know much about the referendum and we could well see public opinion shift during the campaign”
The February Political Monitor also looked at voting intention, views of the leaders, and views on the economy and spending cuts.
Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,002 adults across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 18-20 February 2011. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.