Following the big shift towards the NO in yesterday’s ICM poll, the weekly YouGov AV question for the Sun shows an identical picture – adjusted for likelihood to vote and excluding don’t knows, the NO campaign leads by 58% to 42%.

This pretty much confirms that there has indeed been a sharp shift towards NO over the last few days. There are just over two weeks left till the referendum day, but part of that is the Easter weekend, followed by several days when the news agenda will be swamped by the Royal Wedding. There is increasingly little time for the trend towards NO to reverse.


123 Responses to “Now YouGov show a 16 point NO lead”

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  1. The page showing results from all the polls on referendum voting intention hasn’t been updated for a week or so.

    Anthony – no doubt you’re busy, but I’m sure many of your readers would appreciate it if you can keep it updated so we can compare all the latest polls in one place.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

  2. For fans of the oxymoron (“increasingly little”):

    “We have to believe in free will. We have no choice.”

  3. @AW
    Well, it’s looks like it’s all over, doesn’t it?

    The real interesting question is whether the Cons will be boosted by this surge in the VI polls. ICM’s poll yesterday suggested not. However, it surely must (unless most recent No converts are Labour supporters?)

    A quick note on marketing/propaganda. No is winning this battle by a country mile in my area. Yesterday, I received the No 2 AV pamplet. And a quality piece of work it is too. Clear, precise and well directed. OK, the bit with the map showing only three countries using AV, is misleading in that it implied the rest use FPTP, when most use PR. But it wasn’t actually wrong as such.

    Very clever indeed.

  4. When the referendum is finished it should stop all talk of changing the voting system for at least 4 parliaments IMO. Lets not keep bringing it back every 4-8 years.

  5. @Liam
    I fear that will be what happens in any event. Referenda are so rare in the UK (involving England) that we may have to wait another 20 years for the next one.

    Hopefully, this hasn’t quite killed off moves towards PR.

  6. I’m amazed that the no campaign has resonated with people. Frankly the ads I saw for it were terribly informed and patronising, and I have no idea how an endorsement by John Reid or the rest of those paranoid blairites can possibly help. But I suppose the yes campaign has been rather lacking in drive and having squabbles between the two main leaders supporting it didn’t help. Incidentally, I haven’t had any literature about the referendum at all, presumably because we’ve got more important elections to worry about in Scotland, but you’d think with the higher turnout here the yes side would try to motivate people to vote yes and perhaps steal a narrow victory.

  7. Well i’m afraid I will be leaving Britain if it fails to modernise its electoral system.

  8. @Calum,

    Noone ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the electorate…

  9. @RAF

    Hopefully, this hasn’t quite killed off moves towards PR.

    I honestly think a No on AV is the best thing that could happen for anyone who wants PR. Rejecting AV is not necessarily about rejecting a move to a more proportional system, it’s simply a rejection of the only choice we are being given. The pressure for change will still be there and stronger than it would be if we change to AV.

    And the result of a No shouldn’t benefit the Conservatives in the polls. The majority of people who intend to vote seem to be voting No either because they specifically don’t want AV or because they want to hurt Clegg. Neither of those translates into increased support for Cameron and his party.

  10. Problem with the Yes campaign is that although both sides have been shrill, they have been almost hysterical.

    Firstly we have the claims that AV will fix all ills. AV will remove lazy MPs, will force all to get elected with a majority, will remove safe seats, will remove tactical voting. None are true, yet whenever anyone from the yes camp appears on the media (and Huhne on Newsnight yesterday was a classic) they shriek about lies told by the other side.

    Secondly we have the “vote yes or we never get reform” argument. When their argument for AV is that its a step towards PR in a few years its not a ringing endorsement for AV as a system.

    Its not that the yes camp are much more coherent – their vote no or the BNP get in argument is also stupid. But their argument is much simpler – “one person one vote” is clear enough for anyone to understand. I just think that inertia and a low turnout was always carrying this for no.

  11. @Calum W

    I’m amazed that the no campaign has resonated with people.

    I think it’s more the case that the Yes campaign has failed to resonate. Not surprising really when one of the most often repeated arguments is that it’s a stepping stone to PR. Why should people support a system that the Yes campaign doesn’t really support themselves?

  12. Not only an AV referendum, but the introduction of PR (without a referendum) is part of the Coalition deal (for electing the reformed House of Lords).

    So which Chamber will look more representative and rightly claim to be so? Even if AV is carried, which looks less and less likely, we may well be on the verge of a very odd constitutional evolution indeed.

  13. Stuck in medieval Britain by the dinosaurs. The results of referenda mean nothing if one side just tells a series of expensively packaged lies. If my vote isn’t ever going to count I won’t bother. General election turnouts will plummet in all excxept the 30 or so seats which actually matter.

  14. RAF- to answer your question, I think of generally Labour/left leaning voters like us have moved decidedly over to the no camp. In fact we voted today – NO – postal vote. Also parents in law and several friends have also voted no already. All of us would have been inclined to support PR in the past . But not AV. General disgust with Clegg and the libdems quite a strong part of decision to vote no.

  15. Martin

    “If my vote isn’t ever going to count I won’t bother”

    If I (and people likle me) had taken that approach, then the SNP would still be in the position of the English Democrats.

    Even under rotten systems like FPTP (or AV) politics can change if the people will it.

  16. Was it Balls who said the LD negotiators were demanding legislation on PR (without a referendum)? The LD manifesto was PR with no mention of consulting the electorate.

    So no great enthusiasm for AV except as a stepping stone: PR is to be the price of a post-2015(?) coaltition.

    While there are some good arguments on both sides, there is no overwhelming clincher for changing the system to AV (which would then stick), and the public have to some extent been persuaded(?) that compared to everything else happening atm this is a side issue to semi-placate Clegg and co.

    Had a bit of the Cleggmania made a reappearance, things could have been different.

  17. OK, if AV loses, what are the odds that we will have a UK general election this year?

    I just cannot see Clegg surviving and whoever is the next LD leader will only have two options: get out with as much dignity as possible (which is very little) or see the party split.

  18. I have always been in the NO camp, wanting to give Clegg a good kicking but recently (as everyone else it seems is moving in the opposite direction) I moved to the YES camp. I felt that I could put Clegg to one side and vote for the side I thought had the best arguments, the YES side.
    I also thought that I was in a win/win situation, if YES lost then I could gloat over Cleggs pain but instead I feel rather sad that the NO camps “arguments” seem to be winning.

  19. AV is certain to lose now, although I’m amazed at how many people who want PR and are voting against it – it seems so utterly obvious to me that your far less likely to get PR if you reject electoral reform at the first opportunity.

    In fact I think ‘no’ will kill off the argument about electoral reform for at least a generation, which is exactly what many in both the two main parties want.

    I doubt also, that a no vote will trigger a general election in a year or less. Why would Lib Dem MPs sanction that given that they’re on 10% in the polls, and under FPTP they’d all be certain to lose their seats? (Ironically, Clegg is the only one under FPTP who might keep his seat, which he’d lose under AV!)

  20. @ Billy Bob

    “PR is to be the price of a post-2015(?) coaltition”

    Important point (oh, by the way, I really liked your points about skill formation in the UK a few days ago, but had no time to write). Though reading AC’s diaries, it seems that Ashdown overplayed it already in 1997-98.

    @ Yes advocates

    The Yes campaign can really thank themselves for this poll. It was truely awful, amateurish. Suggesting to move to four in one dishwasher tablet from three in one… They absolutely had no idea what “free standing” argument (ie. not in comparison with FPTP) they could have put up (maybe there is none). Yes, there were misleading statements in the No campaign (though it’s a bit rich coming from the LibDems after the mild discrepancy between their campaign and entering the coalition) – but simply there was no argument for the public for AV (correct me, please, if I wrong – I’m quite happy to change my opinion and hence my vote).

  21. Calum W

    ” I have no idea how an endorsement by John Reid or the rest of those paranoid blairites can possibly help.”

    Which rather marks you out as part of the minority in this debateit would seem.

    Maybe you just can’t see properly through those anti-blairite specs-there are an increasingly shrill bunch with similar optical difficulties.

    Perhaps you therefore miss the essential point about John Reid-the one which put the fear of god into most Tories when he was a Minister-uncompromising, combative , conviction.

    Can you point to anyone on the Yes side with a tenth of Reid’s earthy , in your face conviction ?

    Indeed, as has been pointed out on another forum, the extraordinary sight of DC & JR on the same platform transmits a message of cross politics belief which is unmatched on the strangely Left wing , and not quite convincing look of the Yes side .

  22. Graeme Hancocks,
    There are also many who share my views on the issue. As it happens AV has long been my favoured system , and has enabled me to support electoral reform whilst also being strongly opposed to PR. I shall vote Yes this time , but if it ever comes down to a choice between FPTP and PR it will be FPTP every time.

  23. @Laszlo – Thanks… the skills formation stuff was posted by someone else… but hey, I make good points sometimes. :)

  24. Billy Bob

    “Was it Balls who said the LD negotiators were demanding legislation on PR (without a referendum)? The LD manifesto was PR with no mention of consulting the electorate.”

    The provisional arrangement with Labour was for a referendum where the choices were to be AV (Lab manifesto) or STV (Lib Dem manifesto).

  25. @ Colin
    John Reid is “uncompromising, combative , conviction”
    Well those are certainly qualities that are useful when you’re part of the Lanarkshire West Coast Labour mafia.

  26. I have no time for the tribalists in the labour party – I actually think the Scottish ones are worse because I can understand the polarisation in England to an extent.

  27. moraylooninbrussels

    John Reid – Neil Lennon’s role model in anger management.

  28. Difficult to understand the debate that is going on in the UK over AV from a number of perspectives. AV is possibly not the best option but it is certainly better than first past the post. John Reid (to pick up the debate more seriously) is no doubt in favour of FPTP because it is part of the system he grew up with, where Labour had 95% of Glasgow councillors with half the votes. It’s very reassuring but it isn’t democratic.

    The SNP in Scotland have shown that minority government can work, so coalitions are not the only outcome of AV or any proportional system. And coalitions avoid excesses, whatever people may think of the LibDems a Tory majority government would have gone off to even more extreme tangents.

    I’d be happy with AV and being able to give a second vote (probably not more than that to a second choice) and having voted in a proportional system for the past decade or more can say, yes it is frustrating sometimes to be forced to make compromises but in the end it doesn’t stop good government. That’s down to the quality of the people we choose to elect as much as the party.

  29. “AV is certain to lose now, although I’m amazed at how many people who want PR and are voting against it ”

    I have to agree. It seems bizarre that anyone could think further electoral reform becomes more likely by voting to keep FPTP now. The right-wing press must be surprised at how easy it’s been.

  30. @Martin

    “Stuck in medieval Britain by the dinosaurs. The results of referenda mean nothing if one side just tells a series of expensively packaged lies. If my vote isn’t ever going to count I won’t bother. General election turnouts will plummet in all excxept the 30 or so seats which actually matter.”

    I have to say that I share your sense of despair about the quality of debate and the likely triumph of, essentially, a deeply conservative cause. My instinct is always to favour the forces of change and renewal, but I fear that the Hobson’s Choice presented in the forthcoming referendum was always going to favour the argument to stick rather than twist. AV is a slightly better voting system than FPTP, but only marginally so and it does not address the real issue of a lack of proportionality inherent in both systems.

    I’ve never bought the argument that AV is a staging post to real PR; it may well be a cul-de-sac for genuine change. For those committed to a genuinely proportionate voting system, like me, then I think a tactical No vote is the best way forward. We then need to form an irresistible single issue pressure group that would ensure that the progressive political parties commit to a referendum on genuine PR as and when they gain power. I think, when explained, it’s a vote winner. AV is neither fish nor foul, I fear.

  31. YouGov 19th April: Con 36%, Lab 43%, LD 9% (-26).

  32. YouGov/Sun results 19th April CON 36%, LAB 43%, LD 9%; APPROVAL -26

  33. For any SNPers… Jeremy Paxman is about to ask A Salmond if he is a Tory patsie.

  34. I’m staggered that some people are prepared to vote in a certain way in a referendum that could change our voting system for hundreds of years for the sake of spiting a minor politician who will be almost forgotten in twenty years.

    FWIW I can’t see what Clegg has done wrong. He has earned his party a share of power for the first time in 70 years, and has got a few policies agreed by the Tories – e.g. this referendum and increase in tax allowance towards £10000. OK, some or even a lot of the Libdem manifesto has been jettisoned, but so have some Tory policies.

    I think that most people disgruntled with Clegg are actually Labour supporters who voted Lib to keep the Tories out, and now fell betrayed, quite illogically.

  35. I am definitely pro-PR (in my case have been a proponent of STV for a good 15 years now) and anti-AV.

    For me its simple. The Yes camp are selling a pack of lies about what AV will do. In reality AV is little better, and when voters see an AV referendum and realise nothing much has changed, are they really going to be whipped up to vote yes to full PR? Which I have to presume the yes camp will sell as fixing all the problems with AV.

    Or we leave FPTP in. This referendum is personally associated with Clegg and the LibDems neither of whom are popular. After their demise we can then have a sensible fact-based debate about PR. I think electoral reform without constitutional reform is unlikely – we’d get PR alongside a written constitution, elected second chamber etc etc.

    So vote no now and get a yes later? Risk-laden yes, but a better gamble for me than lies to sell a move to a system that noone in the yes camp wants.

  36. @Crossbat11 – very dangerous argument, IMHO. If this modest change can be defeated so easily then there really is no chance for PR ever.

    Suggest you rethink your tactical no – like others, I find the No voting PR purists brigade completely baffling. What on earth makes you think suddenly people will wake up and decide they want PR if they aren’t prepared to concede AV?

    Besides – I’m not certain that these polls are very accurate, at least as to the final result. This could well shake up a few not very bothered yes supporters and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a close result – possibly even a yes win.

  37. Alec,
    Yes, especially as there’s likely to be a low turnout. It’s not over yet.

  38. @Colin

    On what basis do you say anti-Blairites are the minority? Also, I do not share your amazement that David Cameron and John Reid could share a platform – indeed, as a Tory you’ve nothing but praise for the man.

  39. Billy Bob

    Did you get a different version of Newsnight London? Was it broadcast earlier than here? Did your Paxman question to Salmond get magically edited out?

    Or were you just spouting rubbish?

  40. Even ‘a little better’ is still better. It’s odd, though, that Labour voters say they’re voting ‘no’ because they want PR but LibDem voters, who also want PR, are voting ‘yes’. I suspect it’s really the old tribal Labourism that sees the LibDems as the real enemy. Who are they kidding? Perhaps themselves. Undoubtedly a ‘yes’ vote is what the Tories hope for, and with good reason.

  41. “Undoubtedly a ‘yes’ vote is what the Tories hope for, and with good reason.”

    Sorry, that should have been “a ‘no’ vote”!

  42. The pro AV (or even Pro-PR) camp often cite that a winner in FPTP doesn’t have more than 50% of the vote and that affects their legitimacy.

    Does anyone agree with me about the following possibility?

    If you decide that any abstainers, by definition and default, are happy with the winner created by those who vote then probably every MP currently was “approved” by more than 50% of the electorate in their constituency.

  43. Old Nat – I can only assume AS threatened to walk out… did you see the opening sequence (“right wing plot/The Scottish Sun/Lochinvar”; Paxman specifically asked “is the first minister a Tory patsie”)?

    PS. I am not Mr Paxman so you can tone down the abusive language when you address me.

  44. @ Billy Bob

    I’m sure you wrote about training and alike in the UK (and UK firms). If not, apologies.

  45. I think even people who don’t like Salmond would acknowledge that was not a good interview from Paxman, he could of scritinised Salmond on a few more things in proper detail.

  46. Billy Bob
    Carefull. You can’t question The Leader They will get angry.
    Craig/Moray person
    Colin can surely find things to respect in an opponent without agreeing with him.

  47. Billy Bob

    Walk out? You have the wrong Scottish politician. it was Iain Grey that ran away from a few grannies waving placards and hid in a sandwich shop!

    However, Paxman may well have chickened out of asking such a stupid question, \when he realised that his patronising metropolitan crap was being easily swatted away.

    You are not to blame for the fact that Paxman isn’t capable of dealing with a good communicator.

  48. @Alec, OldNat
    Agree that a No vote will harm moves towards PR. That’s what I was alluding to at the top of the thread.

    It’s unfortunate, really, but Yes has really fought a desperate campaign so far. And I speak as one who believes AV could in practice have some significant benefits over the current system.

    @OldNat
    I believe your incremental moves point is pertinent here. Revolurions in UK politics are rare. If PR is ever to take root, it will only be at the end of a long process of gradual development. We already have forms of PR in Scotland and NI, and for the EP elections. We may in the future have PR for HL elections (if they ever happen). AV would have hastened this development.

  49. Barney

    Don’t be silly.

  50. @Barney Crockett
    I’m not convinced. He could’ve argued his defence in a far less combative and partisan manner, but I think “Moray person” touched a nerve.

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