ippr has today published the results of a poll specially commissioned from YouGov on support for the Alternative Vote. The headline results are encouraging for supporters of AV: 45 per cent say they will vote Yes in the forthcoming referendum, with 33 per cent voting No. This high level of support is probably due to the fact that participants in the poll were asked to take part in a mock AV ballot, thus getting them accustomed to the system. The ‘Don’t Knows’ fell in our poll to 17 per cent, down from an average of 29 per cent in previous polls.
Contrary to the Prime Minister’s claim that only elites can understand how AV works, 59 per cent of participants said they found AV either ‘fairly’ or ‘very easy’ to understand. But 31 per cent said they would find AV either ‘very difficult’ (13 per cent) or ‘fairly difficult’ (18 per cent).
There is something for all the mainstream political parties in the poll. The findings from the mock AV ballot showed that the Liberal Democrats are likely to pick up most second preferences (23 per cent). More than a third of Conservatives (34 per cent) would pick the Liberal Democrats as their second preference, with a similar percentage of Liberal Democrats (37 per cent) reciprocating.
Other parties like the Greens (17 per cent) and UKIP (13 per cent) would attract significant second preference support as well. Unlike UKIP and the Greens – whose second preferences will change the outcome in some seats – the BNP only pick up 3 per cent of second preferences. Their voters cannot single-handedly change the result of any seats under AV.
On Monday, ippr will publish the full research report on the Alternative Vote, authored by Guy Lodge and Glenn Gottfried.