Angus Reid have just released a new AV poll. It echoes the last YouGov and ICM polls in showing a NO lead of 16% once don’t knows and won’t votes are excluded – YES 42%, NO 58%. The poll was conducted prior to the bank holiday weekend on Wednesday and Thursday.

Note that while in recent days we’ve appeared to see contradictory polls on AV, with some showing big NO leads and some showing the campaign neck and neck, this is almost wholly down to some polls being published a long term after their fieldwork has finished. The three most recent polls (from, in chronological order, ICM, YouGov and Angus Reid) have all shown identical results of YES 42%, NO 58%. The TNS and Harris polls, while being published more recently than some of these, were actually conducted at the same time as or before that ICM poll.


103 Responses to “Angus Reid show 16 point lead for NO”

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  1. Is the point of this debate and vote, to choose the best method of selecting a future government, or as Lord Mandelson states, “to hurt Cameron”. What a contribution.

  2. I shall be voting yes but can understand these results. The No campaign has been very good, in the sense that it has converted the don’t knows into NOs. The YES campaign has been rubbish.

  3. Ann Miles,

    Funnily enough, I actually have a pecuniary interest in a ‘No’ vote, as that is the result i have staked a modest sum on.

    So, if ‘Yes’ wins by one Scottish vote, I will be kicking myself :)

  4. “Is the point of this debate and vote, to choose the best method of selecting a future government, or as Lord Mandelson states, ‘to hurt Cameron’. What a contribution.”

    If your targets are the Labour Party members who see it as an opportunity ‘to hurt Clegg’ then it might be an effective contribution.

  5. It looks to me like the electorate is in the mood for punishing Nick Clegg and hence the large majority for the no vote

  6. Having heard the tired arguments for both sides of the AV argument umpteen times on these threads I am now more interested in whether the “yes” camp has any way of turning this around (and why they have done so badly so far).

    In this context, Mandleson’s contribution (and Cable before him) seem to be one of the few shots they’ve got left, knowing that Labour voters might respond to that kind of reasoning (as a left-leaning, sceptic of AV it might work on me … I was leaning “no” but every time Cameron argues for it, using such poor arguments, I get nudged closer to voting yes).

    I wonder whether soon it might even be worth trying the “we think we’re going to lose so let’s send a message” tactic. If “No” think they are so far ahead they may not come to the polls in such large numbers … however with the vote being on the same day as the council elections (what WAS Clegg thinking) that scenario is probably unlikely.

  7. It’d be interesting if there weer tp be another poll about attititudes to the royal wedding.

    The last poll showed 35% of respondents wanted to get away from event completely and I suspect that percentage might be creeping up this week with the media coverage that has now started.

    How those of fellow citizens who are facing hard times or about to lose their jobs will take the grotesque images I have just seen on News 24 of 20 foot high trees being hauled nto Westminster Abbey I’ve no idea but I could make one or two guesses. May be it doesn’t really matter, the costs will be a drop in the ocean for this lot given their wealth. Does anyone know whether the Royals and /or Middletons are also chucking in a few millions to help with the policing bill?

  8. That is a real shame, it now looks as if Scotland will be lumbered with more Labour deadwood MPs for decades to come despite 60% of us continuously voting against them. Real shame. ):

  9. ‘I bet I am not alone in not having a clue how to vote on this one. The first time in my life I was undecided when I had the actual ballot paper in front of me.’

    Well if it causes constitutional reform to be discussed properly in English and Scotland then it’s not a bad thing.

    In response to Allan Christie if AV was adopted it would be still be interesting to see where the preferences go in rural constituencies like Argyll and Bute etc even if it didn’t shift many seats.

  10. @DavidB,

    Well in a straw poll of our street, everyone who isn’t away from the weekend is enthusiastically looking forward to our street party, so I guess those 35% aren’t in Plymouth…

  11. @Adrian B
    “In this context, Mandleson’s contribution (and Cable before him) seem to be one of the few shots they’ve got left, knowing that Labour voters might respond to that kind of reasoning”

    Not this one. I’ve less time for Mandleson than just about anyone else they could have put up. I can’t take anything he says at face value, his political values would have his grandfather turning in his grave, he thinks nothing of hobnobbing with the filthy rich on yachts in the Med, and even his reputation for competance was shot by the mess he made of the 2010 campaign. Put up someone I respect and I’ll take note.

  12. Is there a YouGov poll tonight?

  13. NEIL A

    Well it takes all sorts but i’m mighty relieved there’s no street party in my area of Wokingham. My wife, myself and both our adult off spring studiously avoid having anthing to do with the royals if we can help it. The only one I have ever had any time for is Diana – I was very touched one day in 1994 when this car pulled up across the road from where i was working in Battersea and out popped Diana all alone on one of her private visits to rehabiltation units – this was a drugs settlement which I hadn’t realised was there until she turned up – and I did go out when she was leaving to say a brief and no doubt inconsequential word!

    Anyway, my wife and I will not be watching the event on TV or listening to it on the radio, but we may take the opportunity to have a look at a ‘new’ used car I have my eye on and as i expect it to be quiet on the roads in on Friday morning and a trip out could be very pleasant.

  14. Of course adopting AV would lead to different voting patterns in all parts of the UK.

    ‘ Put up someone I respect and I’ll take note.’

    They could put Alan Johnson up, that might shift some labour waverers into the YES camp.

  15. Scott – there is indeed.

  16. Following up on Mike N’s pointer to articles on Political Betting, there is also peice on “2PP” (published figures in AUS which convert election results into a straight two-party preference split)… worth reading because the inference is that AV can actually depress votes for smaller parties; this is contained within a broader argument that keeping FPTP will not derail the ‘inevitability’ of a move to PR.

  17. Thanks Anthony.

  18. Eric

    “Finally can any anti-AV person please explain to me why it is unreasonable to require an MP to obtain an outright majority of 50% of the electorate? That is what AV delivers, by an easy and low cost elimination ballot. AV does not deliver PR”

    This is where the Yes campaign keep spouting nonsense. AV makes it even more likely that MPs will be elected with an even smaller percentage of total votes/preferences (delete as preferred). See my 4.46 post. They can win with 25% or less.

  19. @ Stuart Dickson

    You’re quite the gambler when it comes to politics.

    You know, I never really have agreed with people about the morbid fears of betting on sports but I’m surprised that sports betting attracts a lot more attention, debate, and opposition than betting on political races. :)

  20. “This is where the Yes campaign keep spouting nonsense. AV makes it even more likely that MPs will be elected with an even smaller percentage of total votes/preferences (delete as preferred). See my 4.46 post. They can win with 25% or less.”

    Sorry but it was your post that was complete nonsense. See my own post at 5.46.

  21. Of all the polling for the May elections I had thought the most accurate and likely to be on the money and consistent was the AV referndum polling.

    Simply because the polling can use the exact wording from the question and the answer is a simple yes or no.

    That was perhaps naive on my part, and though I think the trend is clear for No I still find that a huge lead to have opened up in such a seemingly short space of time.

    Both campaigns have been dire so I would be interested in what has presuaded the public either for or against. It would be nice to get some polling on that as it would extremely informative for any future referenda. I’m sure Lib Dems would love to know as they aren’t going to give up on electoral reform if it is a No. Delayed perhaps for a decade, but they won’t give up.

  22. @ BT

    Sorry, BT, you are going to have to explain that one to me … I’ve heard some strange arguments from boths sides in this debate but that is a completely new one to me.

    To Eric

    I guess the question is what sort of support that 50% consists of. Each MP would have SOME sort of support of 50% of the elecorate, but alot of that could be 2nd or 3rd pref votes.

    And I do get tired of people saying with FPTP, “60% of us voted against the candidate who won”. No they didn’t. There is not an “anti-Con/Lab/LD” box on a ballot paper. Everyone puts one positive choice on their paper (or else it doesn’t get counted).

  23. I think the problem is the lukewarm enthusiasm for AV. It’s not strong enough to override any desire to vote against Clegg or to bring all the supporters of reform on board. I think we need the two-stage approach used in New Zealand. First, do you want to change from FPTP. If yes then a later, second referendum offering a choice of systems.

  24. @ BT

    “Even if one agrees with your over-simplified analysis that 60% of the electorate is centre-left (wrong anyway, as it includes some centre-right Labour voters and some harder-left voters):
    the point is that this 60% comes from lots of different parties – if their ‘progressive’ agendas are really so similar (rather than merely a hatred of all things Conservative, who they think, rightly or wrongly, will be unable to get a majority under AV) then they should merge or make a formalm, legal pact.”

    I took the test as to which Party I should vote for in the Scottish election (if I was Scottish). Not surprisingly, I didn’t match up closely to any of the parties. But it seemed that consistently (cause’ I took the test repeatedly) Labour and the Lib Dems were the top two parties to which I came closest. But when I looked at why I came close (which parties matched me on which questions), I found that the issues that drew me closest to Labour and the issues that drew me closest to the Lib Dems were in fact issues where the two parties have a great deal of disagreement.

    What is suggests to me is that while neither party may like the Tories and may like each other more (and may vote tactically for each other’s candidates), they’re ideologically distinct parties with different ideas about the role of government in society. Therefore, the idea of a “progressive alliance” may be kinda hollow. One’s reasons for voting for Labour or for the Lib Dems might preclude you from voting for one of the parties. Also, I am not sure that it’s progressive to enact a voting system simply because that voting system will favor or disfavor a political party. That strikes me more Machiavellian than progressive.

    Also, I agree with you as to FPTP. It’s not perfect but it is the best available system to reflect what the voters want. And maybe it’s not entirely fair but at the end of an election, someone has got to be in charge and answerable to the electorate.

  25. @All

    I have carefully waded through many of your examples of ficticious FPTP v AV polls and claims/counterclaims. So to pass the time of night until the next set of polls here’s an AV example for you all perhaps to ponder:

    Three parties Con, Lab and LD. 1st prefs are:
    Con 40%
    Lab 31%
    LD 29%

    LD 2nd prefs for their 29% would be Lab 20% and Con 9%
    Lab 2nd prefs for their 31% would be LD 28% and Con 3%
    Con 2nd prefs for their 40% would be LD 33% and Lab 7%

    Under FPTP – Con is elected with 40% 1st prefs.

    Under AV – LD would be eliminated. Lab would be elected with 31% of 1st prefs and the 20% 2nd prefs of LDs only.

    AV supporters claim that FPTP is unrepresentative because only 40% gave Con their support. Yet Con also would have got 12% of 2nd prefs. So if AVers are considering 2nd prefs are of the same value as 1st prefs, then Con would have achieved 52%.

    There is a tendancy for AVers to claim total support of their party and to ignore that a small number of their supporters may actually have had Con as 2nd pref. Although this is never tested in FPTP, yet polling shows us that can be the case. Similarly under AV the 2nd prefs of the two ‘lead’ parties are never tested or taken into account in the final result.

    AVers claim that AV gives a more representive result , but does it? Suppose Con 2nd prefs were taken into account – they would much prefer to have a LD winner rather than a Lab. Similarly Lab would have much prefered to have LD as a winner rather than Con

    If ALL 1st and 2nd prefs are counted then:

    Con has 40% 1st prefs and 12% 2nd prefs.
    Lab has 31% 1st prefs and 27% 2nd prefs.
    LD has 29% 1st prefs and 61% 2nd prefs.

    Clearly on the score of 1st prefs only Con is the winner.

    Equally clearly on ‘overall representation’ LD is overwhelmingly ‘acceptable’ to more of the constituency. But that is NOT a result the proposed AV system would produce, because It looks only at the preferences of those voters who have not been successful enough in 1st prefs. AV is a system of rewarding those voters whose candidates have been eliminated with an EXTRA chance of influenzing the result, something denied to those voters whose candidates have not been eliminated.

    AV is claimed to come up with a result more representative of the wishes of voters – as my example clearly shows, it does not! 60% did not want Con, but 69% did not want Lab and 71% did not want LD. In the ‘did not want’ stakes, Con is the least disliked and the most popular.

    It seems to me that AVers are more concerned with getting a system that would either stop one particular party or would favour their own party best, rather than trying for an electoral system that is equally fair to all parties without political bias.

    There again you could all settle back down with a beer and watch the snooker!

  26. Of all the things we could have had a referendum, (death penalty, Europe, English parliament to name a few) this has to be one of THE most meaningless & boring ones.

    There is absolutely no need to change FPTP, as the following example makes clear.

    Assume 50,000 registered voters for the constituency. Assume 70% voting turnout
    Assume 35% vote for party A, so party A gets 12,250 votes (Party B, C & D get fewer votes)

    Add in the 30% who didn’t bother to vote because they were happy with any of the candidates winning ( 15,000 people).
    This gives a total of 27,250 people (more than 50% of registered voters,) who either voted for candidate A or who are happy with candidate A to have won.

    If by chance any of those who didn’t vote are not happy with candidate A winning, well, they will make sure that they vote next time.

    So the whole AV thing is a total irrelevance and will only ensure that in some cases the candidate who came 2nd or 3rd, is declared the winner because some peoples votes are re-distributed and re-distributed again.

    Finally AV does not guarantee that an eventual winner will have over 50% of the vote. That would not happen if most voters did not indicate a 2nd & 3rd choice.

  27. @ BT

    Ah … found your original post. Yes, your point does not make sense. You are mixing up voters (as in “any MP will need a 50% majority of voters supporting them” which is completely true) with preferences.

    I think it has been these nonsense arguments that have worn me down in this referendum.

    So many myths peddled by both sides.

    But far more interesting is why has the yes campaign done so badly??

    Is it because they simply failed to set out their agenda clearly? Did they fail to see the attack lines of their opponents? Or were they always onto a loser because they were having to fight both defenders of the status quo, those who are not that bothered, AND those who want proportional representation.

    I wonder if a sustained push by the yes camp could make it close and thus ensure that the debate remains open.

  28. Mick Park,
    IMO the false posturing of a rift between the two Coalition partners has put people off. This has also entrenched the punish Clegg voters even more towards a NO vote as they see that the LibDems are still involved in duping the electorate.

  29. I mean the punish Clegg voters who were wavering.

  30. “So to pass the time of night until the next set of polls here’s an AV example for you all perhaps to ponder…”

    How many attempts did it take to get the example to fit the theory? Any why did 7% of Tories pick Labour as second preference while only 3% did it the other way around?

    That aside, the point of an AV election is to eliminate candidates until one of the field can get majority support. In this case voters choose between Labour and Tory and Labour wins with a 51% share of the vote.

    “Clearly on the score of 1st prefs only Con is the winner. ”

    A meaningless statement. It’d be like stopping a race halfway and saying the one in front is the winner.

  31. Frank G

    Your example is compelling for waverers at least, if not for misguided ‘Yes to AV’-ers.

    It’s funny – I don’t really care about the outcome either way but I think it’s a waste of time – although if it makes everyone shut up about electoral reform for a while and concentrates on good, accountable government that will be good.
    It’s just funny watching the exasperated ‘Yes-to-AV-ers’ tying themselves up in complicated knots. You have just demolished several of their arguments with your thoughtful example.

    Incidentally, in spite of their panic I do think that the ‘YES’ camp’s big efforts over the weekend etc will have reduced the lead of ‘NO’ to single digits, although once people perceive this as panic/become indifferent again I think the revival will stall without ‘YES’ taking a lead – although I still wouldn’t be sure that ‘YES’ won’t sneak it on the day. No-one knows the dedication level of the fors and against although it looks like even some of the Yes’s aren’t really sure they want AV and, on partisan lines, the Tories are pretty united whilst Labour supporters will potentially be pretty confused as to what their party wants and therefore demotivated

  32. @ Frank G

    Interesting post – I have wondered why we can’t opt for a system where all 2nd prefs are counted but I guess the point for AV is that you try to make sure that there is some element of the 1st prefs deciding the two or three who “run off” with the 2nd prefs. I think there are systems where all 2nd prefs are counted but I haven’t found out what it’s called.

    @ Robert Newark.

    Very silly post – we can’t possibly say anything about what the views are of those who don’t vote. Blimey – this is a democracy!!! Your view is expressed by bothering to vote in the election. You can’t talk about those who don’t vote being “happy with whoever”.

    I’m beginning to think I may decide how to vote in the referendum simply by choosing the side who’s used the most sensible arguments (in this respect along the Yes campaign is ahead, although I’m still not that keen on AV).

  33. ROGERH “A meaningless statement. It’d be like stopping a race halfway and saying the one in front is the winner.

    or, finishing the race and declaring the one who came 3rd as the winner!!lol

  34. VI prediction:

    CON 34
    LAB 43
    LD 10

    Any downward shift on this in LD will probably favour Lab.

    Anyone got the real poll yet?

  35. “Finally AV does not guarantee that an eventual winner will have over 50% of the vote. That would not happen if most voters did not indicate a 2nd & 3rd choice.”

    AV guarantees that a majority of those who express a preference at the final stage will have backed the winner. If you include those who choose not to vote at that stage then you can, of course, make it with under 50%.

  36. Exactly ADRIABNB, this is a democracy and voters are entitled to vote or not. Most people who don’t don’t vote, don’t because they can’t be bothered/all politicians are the same, etc etc. In other words they don’t care who wins because they don’t think it will make any difference, by implication they are happy whoever wins, so it is not unreasonable to add them in, to get to this magical 50%.

    It is a far more honest situation than counting some votes several times.

  37. “I have wondered why we can’t opt for a system where all 2nd prefs are counted ”

    Would you really want to have your vote for another candidate counted while your first choice remains in the running? You could end up helping your favourite to be defeated.

    AV is ‘One Person, One Vote’ (to coin a phrase). You can only use your vote for one candidate at a time.

  38. Too many don’ts, must be time for bed!

  39. BT SAYS…
    All this nonsense from the ‘YES’ camp that votes aren’t counted twice is nonsense. They are, as shown above.
    ….
    If in fact it was done in several rounds like you dishonestly imply (:)), as per the French presidential election, that would be an entirely different scenario. You would know exactly who’s left at each round and make an informed judgement, rather than blindly putting down your choices for rounds 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 …all at once!
    ….
    This is where the Yes campaign keep spouting nonsense. AV makes it even more likely that MPs will be elected with an even smaller percentage of total votes/preferences (delete as preferred). See my 4.46 post. They can win with 25% or less.

    Whatever else you are demonstrating, it’s certainly clear that the decision to call it AV rather than the US term – Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) – was a big mistake by the bill’s drafters followed by a direly disappointing Yes2AV campaign which failed to explain how simple and effective IRV is. It’s perhaps also unfortunate that they have explained counts in terms of rounds when they should have explained that, if necessary, it is a series of elections.

    First, since the NO campaign is clearly wedded to horse racing analogies, they should have explained that, unlike the plurality system, AV really is “First Past the Post” because there is a genuine winning post set at 50% of the electorate.

    So, in the first election, if nobody reaches the winning post the person placed last is eliminated from the field. AND WE HAVE ANOTHER ELECTION.

    In the second election, if nobody reaches the winning post the person placed last is eliminated from the field. AND WE HAVE ANOTHER ELECTION.

    And so on. If necessary until we have a FINAL election with only the top two candidates.

    What’s so hard to understand about that? And if the elections are only minutes apart, why would you wish to change your “informed judgement” on “the field”?

    In any event are you seriously suggesting that, before the event someone might consider the Greens their leastworst second choice but once their first choice candidate has been eliminated they would change their second choice to UKIP? If you really believe such a scenario exists, please explain it.

    And, BTW, IRV is used for a number of US mayoral and other elections and is supported by figures across their political spectrum from Obama to McCain, but perhaps not Ms Palin.

  40. “it’s certainly clear that the decision to call it AV rather than the US term – Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) – was a big mistake”

    Agreed. Or maybe they could have called it the Single Transferable Vote.

  41. FRANKG
    AV supporters claim that FPTP is unrepresentative because only 40% gave Con their support. Yet Con also would have got 12% of 2nd prefs. So if AVers are considering 2nd prefs are of the same value as 1st prefs, then Con would have achieved 52%.

    Perhaps it’s the word “preference” that’s confusing you and which is deliberately being used by the NO campaign to spread misinformation about multiple votes.

    The word is used simply to describe what happens to an elector’s ONE vote in a run-off election WHERE HIS OR HER TOP CHOICE IS NOT STANDING.

    Take your example in a seat with 100,000 electors voting.

    FIRST ELECTION RESULT: Con 40,000 Lab 31,000 L-D 29,000. Valid votes 100,000. Nobody reaches the winning post so the L-D is eliminated.

    SECOND COUNT:
    The piles of Con and Lab ballot papers stay exactly as they were. The pile of L-D ballot papers is re-counted and the 9,000 marked with a 2nd preference for Con are separated and placed on the Con pile. The 20,000 marked with a 2nd preference for Lab are separated and placed on the Lab pile. Any with NO 2nd preference are technically “exhausted” and will stay on the L-D pile.

    Your example has no “diehard” L-Ds, so there will be NO ballot papers at all left in the L-D pile.

    SECOND ELECTION RESULT: Con 49,000 Lab 51,000. Valid votes 100,000. Lab passes the winning post and is elected.

    The pile of Con papers contains 49,000 papers preferring Con. The pile of Lab papers contains 51,000 papers preferring Lab.

    Why on earth would anyone count the 2nd preferences of Con and Lab electors when their candidates both took part in the run-off?

  42. ROGERH
    Or maybe they could have called it the Single Transferable Vote.

    That would certainly be true, and it is precisely how Scottish Council by-elections operate. Its association with multi-member constituencies was presumably why the Cons wouldn’t wear it in the coalition agreement.

  43. Liz,
    The posturing between all the Parties brings up an interesting question.

    Was this really the best time to have the AV referendum ?

    We know it was favoured by Clegg to increase the turnout but the inevitable by-product of being in the middle of important elections is that the AV referendum was always going to be embroiled in partisan mudslinging instead of the relative merits of AV and FPTP.

    As for pointing out the weaknesses of AV, yes it has some but so does FPTP that disenfranchises a huge amount of voters and could have seen Labour come third in the popular vote and stilll win the most seats last year.

  44. @RogerH

    ‘How many attempts did it take to get the example to fit the theory?’
    If you look at the GE2010 situation then what I have quoted does occur in those seats where there is no obvious majority winner.

    ‘ And why did 7% of Tories pick Labour as second preference while only 3% did it the other way around?’

    The %s are quite similar to the situation of tactical voting in GE 2010.

    ‘That aside, the point of an AV election is to eliminate candidates until one of the field can get majority support. In this case voters choose between Labour and Tory and Labour wins with a 51% share of the vote.’

    And I thought that the purpose of AV was to find a candidate that best represented the approval of those who had voted. Unless you make voting compulsory and also invalidate any ballots not making a full selection, then the system of AV may not achieve 50% plus 1 votes. Under my example Labour did not get 51% of the votes, it only surpassed that barrier by including the 2nd prefs of LD and ignoring its own 2nd prefs and those of the Con. LD by any full count of approval by all 1st and 2nd prefs would have won the approval by many lengths.

    “Clearly on the score of 1st prefs only Con is the winner. ” Depends upon your definition of what constitutes the winning line. For FPTP it is getting more 1st Prefs that any other candidate. For AV it is getting the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc prefs from eliminated candidates whilst ignoring the same prefs of those candidates that are left, until a target of 50% plus 1 vote is achieved. Even though by taking into account ALL preferences from ALL voters, another candidate with a greater overall approval may have resulted.

  45. @Adrian B

    It is called Bucklin voting. I’m with ROGERH in disliking it for the same reasons.

    Giving a second pref under Bucklin can harm your first vote. That means that this with a strongly preferred candidate will only give one pref and get one vote whilst those who are are less enthusiastic and don’t mind the possibility of harming their first choice get two.

    We used a version of Borda count at uni/college and it was deeply unpopular for similar reasons. If everyone listed all candidates it might produce a good result but people didnt like the idea that it could be their later prefs that denied their first choice. less likely not happen with thousands of votes at stake but still.

    For those that say second prefs should not count as much as firsts or that the 50% is not real because it was not based on people’s first choice – I would say you can’t choose the candidates, you can only vote for what’s on offer and you can’t gauge people’s strength of support based on any voting.

    In the last round of AV there are only two candidates – people vote for one of them and so the winner has over 50%. That they didn’t have over 50% a in different round full of different candidates is irrelevant.

    I would give my first vote to a centre left party leaded by D Milliband if I could. I can’t since one isn’t on offer and will have to go for second best instead (not sure who). Whether it’s FPTP or AV I don’t see what my vote should count for less because I’m voting for my second choice and of course nobody could know anyway.

    To take a less abstract example. Under AV two friends equally like the Greens but are happy for Labour to get in instead of any of the other maundering parties. One lives in a town with no Green candidate so votes Labour and one lives in a town with a Green candidate so votes Green 1st pref, Labour second. In both cases Labour wins and Cons are second. Why should the first pref vote for Labour be considered more worthy than the second when both voters had identical views?

    Lastly regarding the idea that FPTP elects the most popular candidate. Imagine that Bob the Tory candidate was set to get 60% of the vote and Jim of Labour 40%. In a moment of madness the Tories decide to put up two candidates and put Bobs identical twin brother Bill with identical views into the mix. Bob and Bill get 30% each and Jim gets 40% and wins under FPTP. Which candidate was most popular? How can the presence of Bill be said to have made Jim more popular or Bob less so?

  46. “The %s are quite similar to the situation of tactical voting in GE 2010.”

    I’d be interested to know how you worked out second preferences from the 2010 GE results. It’s clear, though, that you simply picked your figures to support your own argument.

    “And I thought that the purpose of AV was to find a candidate that best represented the approval of those who had voted.”

    Which is what it does.

    “Unless you make voting compulsory and also invalidate any ballots not making a full selection, then the system of AV may not achieve 50% plus 1 votes.”

    Only if you include those who haven’t expressed a preference at the final stage. It’s not normal to include non-voters as voters.

    “Labour did not get 51% of the votes, it only surpassed that barrier by including the 2nd prefs of LD and ignoring its own 2nd prefs and those of the Con”

    Including the 2nd prefs of candidates that remain in the running would mean their supporters were casting more than one vote at a time.

    If you still feel their second preferences should be included alongside the same voters’ first preferences then you still don’t understand how preferential voting works. Your vote is transferred; you don’t get extra ones.

  47. “If the preferences under AV were weighted it might make some sense, e.g. score 1 for 1st choice, 0.5 for 2nd, 0.3, 0.1, 0.05 etc (jolly complicated counts though!).”

    —————-
    It would make no sense at all. Consider the Conservative leadership election. The first round result was

    David Davis 62
    David Cameron 56
    Liam Fox 42
    Ken Clarke 38

    The 38 people who supported Ken Clarke didn’t become half an MP or whatever nonsense when they voted in the second round, neither would they in AV which is the same as the system above. Such a system of arbitrary values for lower preferences would automatically result in tactical voting which would totally defeat the purpose of making such a switch.

    ======================
    “If in fact it was done in several rounds like you dishonestly imply (:)), as per the French presidential election, that would be an entirely different scenario. You would know exactly who’s left at each round and make an informed judgement, rather than blindly putting down your choices for rounds 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 …all at once! (as in AV)”
    ======================

    But you already do make an informed judgement. In the Conservative leadership election above, let’s say I vote Fox 1, Clarke 2, Davis 3, Cameron 4.

    By ranking Davis above Cameron I’m already saying that I prefer him to Cameron. If Clarke and Davis end up in the final round I’ve already said that I prefer Clarke etc.

    Having multiple rounds simply lengthens the process. Fine if it’s a small election with a limited electorate but totally impractical if it’s an election to run the country. Besides the time and expense, voter fatigue would quickly set in.

    AV is far from perfect and it’s a shame the choice wasn’t a straight STV versus FPTP one but if I were voting I’d go for AV as a better option than what we have.

  48. “AV guarantees that a majority of those who express a preference at the final stage will have backed the winner”

    But marking as your third or fourth preference the candidate who wins is hardly backing the winner, is it?

  49. “Having multiple rounds simply lengthens the process. Fine if it’s a small election with a limited electorate but totally impractical if it’s an election to run the country. Besides the time and expense, voter fatigue would quickly set in.”

    And some voters would have the benefit of knowing the results elsewhere in the country.

  50. “But marking as your third or fourth preference the candidate who wins is hardly backing the winner, is it?”

    The point is that you have an equal voice in the choice of the winner. What you’re saying is which would be your choice if none of the above is available. Your vote is always transferred to your highest preference out of those still in the running.

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