Thursday, April 23, 2009

NO STV releases Ipsos Reid poll showing both sides essentially tied in vote on Single Transferable Vote; releases TV ad

As readers here know, I am also President of No STV - the official opponent group in the May 12 referendum on the Single Transferable Vote.

Yesterday, No STV released an Ipsos Reid poll showing that BC voters are split almost evenly on whether to keep our current First Past The Post electoral system or change to the Single Transferable Vote.

At a news conference, Ipsos Reid Vice-President Kyle Braid outlined the results of the polling commissioned by No STV. The Ipsos Reid report can be viewed by clicking here.

No STV has also released to the media its television ad that begins running on stations across the province on Monday April 27.

You can see that television ad by clicking here.

The news release on polling is below.

* * * * *

Official Proponent - NO to the Single Transferable Vote - May 2009 Referendum

NEWS RELEASE Wednesday April 22, 2009

Ipsos Reid poll shows almost equal support for First Past The Post and Single Transferable Vote in May 12 provincial electoral system referendum - 43% for STV, 41% for current FPTP system

60% of respondents unaware there is referendum on electoral systems

Vancouver, BC - With less than three weeks to go until British Columbians vote on whether to keep the current electoral system or adopt a new one, an Ipsos-Reid poll shows almost equal support for both - and 60% unaware of the referendum.

The poll conducted for No STV, the official opponent group advocating against the Single Transferable Vote, shows that 43% of respondents who are decided intend to vote or are leaning towards voting for STV and 41% for our current First-Past-the-Post system, says Bill Tieleman, No STV President. (A further 3% were not voting and 14% were undecided.)

But STV needs to obtain 60% support from voters in order to replace FPTP under referendum rules established by the government, Tieleman said.

"We are cautiously optimistic that as British Columbians carefully examine the complicated STV electoral system they will find that STV's giant ridings take away local accountability and responsibility of MLAs to voters," Tieleman said. "But we do not underestimate the possibility that STV could pass if not enough voters understand the serious problems it would create for our province."

The Ipsos-Reid poll of 800 British Columbians was conducted by telephone from March 24 to 30, Tieleman said.

No STV Secretary-Treasurer David Schreck said it is still hard to predict what might happen in the referendum vote taking place concurrently with the provincial election because 31% of voters who lean one way or the other say they are likely to change their minds and vote for another option on May 12.

When the 14% who are undecided are added it means many voters haven't firmed up their position.

"We are urging all voters to question a STV system that fractionalizes your single vote in such a way that you may never know where your vote actually went or how much of it counted for any candidate," Schreck said. "When STV could be in place for the next three elections starting in 2013, it makes the referendum a very serious matter."

Schreck said that the poll shows 76% of respondents feel the current First Past The Post electoral system is very or somewhat fair and that 71% are very or somewhat satisfied with the range of choices of parties and candidates available to vote for under this system."No STV believes that adopting the radically different STV system that is only used in national elections in two small countries - Malta and Ireland - would be disastrous for British Columbia," Schreck said.

"While No STV takes no position on other possible electoral systems, we have been able to bring together supporters of the Green Party, the B.C. Liberals, the New Democratic Party, former Social Credit supporters and non-aligned voters who all believe that STV must be defeated on May 12," he said.

In addition to Schreck and Tieleman, No STV's executive members are Andrea Reimer, Vision Vancouver councilor and former Green Party Vancouver school trustee, Bruce Strachan, former Social Credit cabinet minister and Rick Dignard, a former Citizens Assembly member from the Sunshine Coast.

These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid telephone poll conducted March 24th to 30th, 2009 with a randomly selected sample of 800 adult British Columbia residents. The overall results are considered accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire BC adult population been polled.


DPL said...

The 60 pecent number is strange. Both sides of the debate recieved money to explain their position and have been doing just that. So the poll indicates that 40 percent of us actually knew there was to be a referendum. Wonder how many folks don't know there is going to be an election? Is it the fault of the media, or are people just tuned out on what's happening in this province? I figure it's our fault if we don't keep up on what is going on.

macadavy said...

What ever happened to this man's proposal (he presented to the so-called 'Citizens' Forum'):

Electoral Reform

Anonymous said...

Well, the NDP doesn't like STV, so it must be good. It's got my vote. If Gordo also hated it, I'd vote for it twice.

Skookum1 said...

To me, this poll proves to me that the newer version of STV was concocted expressly to discourage the same result (or better) as the last near-miss referendum on electoral reform. People want electoral reform; they may not want what's being dished up to them, but they still want it. FPTP is bunk and produces majority powers run by those representing only a minority of voters. But BC is all about either/or politics, and unpalatable choices.....

Anonymous said...

hmmmm....this poll rings a bell ...

Vancouver Sun, Page A04, 30-Apr-2005

Only a miracle will save STV, Vancouver Sun poll suggests

By William Boei

Electoral reform for British Columbia will be defeated May 17 unless proponents of the single transferable vote system -- STV -- can pull off a minor miracle, a new Vancouver Sun poll shows.

Nearly two-thirds of British Columbians say they know little or nothing about STV and the poll shows that the less people know about it, the less likely they are to vote for it.

The poll also illustrates that Liberal and NDP supporters differ sharply on what the key election issues are, and that most British Columbians -- including four out of 10 NDP voters -- think the New Democrats can't win the election.

The referendum on STV -- a form of proportional representation -- requires a 60-per-cent "yes" vote to bind the provincial government to implement it.

But with 21/2 weeks to go in the campaign, only 42 per cent of the electorate is prepared to vote "yes," according to the results of an opinion poll done by Ipsos-Reid for The Vancouver Sun, the Victoria Times Colonist and Global BCTV News.

Thirty-eight per cent were planning to vote "no," 18 per cent were undecided and two per cent did not plan to vote in the referendum.

The referendum also has to be approved by a majority of voters in 60 of 79 ridings. But the poll shows it is backed by a majority of voters in only one region: Vancouver Island outside Victoria.

"Passing STV at this point appears to be a long shot," Ipsos-Reid vice-president Kyle Braid said Friday.

To pass the referendum, almost all of the 20 per cent of undecided and non-voters would have to join the "yes" side, "and that just seems highly unlikely," Braid said. "It's going to be a very tough communications challenge."

Part of STV's problem is that only a minority of British Columbians know much about it.

The poll found that only four per cent said they know a great deal about STV, and 31 per cent think they know "a fair amount." But 39 per cent said they know very little about STV, and 25 per cent told Ipsos-Reid they know nothing at all about it.

There was a strong correlation between knowing about STV and supporting it -- two-thirds of those who said they know a great deal or a fair amount planned to vote "yes."

But that doesn't necessarily mean a last-minute education blitz can save the referendum, Braid said, since the well-informed people on the "yes" side likely include long-term supporters of proportional representation.

The STV referendum has three strikes against it, Braid suggested:

* It's not "a very sexy or interesting topic."

* Anyone who looks into it finds out that "it is in fact very complicated."

* There hasn't been enough media coverage to create a buzz, and even people looking for information might not find enough to make an informed decision.

(The Vancouver Sun's Neal Hall, who has been following the process, reports on STV from Dublin in today's Observer section.)

Ipsos-Reid conducted telephone polls of 1,050 B.C. residents, including 400 Vancouver Island residents, from April 23 to 26. Province-wide, the results are considered accurate within 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. For Vancouver Island, the margin of error is 4.9 percentage points, and higher for smaller subsamples.

The Sun reported Friday that the Liberals are enjoying a firm seven-point lead, with 46 per cent of the decided vote compared with the NDP's 39 per cent.

The Liberals were supported by a majority of voters concerned with issues such as the economy, a vision for the future and who would make the best premier.

For example, 64 per cent of those who thought the election was about who can best move the economy forward planned to vote Liberal, and 25 per cent supported the NDP.

The NDP was ahead -- 52 per cent to 33 per cent -- among those who think the election is about who can be trusted to keep their promises.

The parties were in a near-tie among voters who care most about balance and the Liberal record.

Those who think the big issue is who has the most balance approached planned to vote Liberal, 46 per cent to 42. Those who think the election is a referendum on the Liberal record were 44 per cent for the NDP, and 40 per cent for the Liberals.

Braid noted the NDP has made balance a centrepiece of its campaign, but the Liberals are getting marginally more votes from people who agree that's the main issue.

"I think what that means is that there are a lot of British Columbians who question whether either party is really about balance," Braid said.

The poll found 63 per cent of British Columbians believe Carole James and the NDP can't win the election, while only 33 per cent said the NDP can win.

Even among NDP voters, only 60 per cent think their party has a chance to win. Thirty-seven per cent said the NDP can't win, and three per cent did not know, or would not say.

"So there's a lot of people who are voting NDP who are seemingly already resigned to losing this election," Braid said.

"It looks like the public, by and large, isn't too optimistic about the NDP's chances. And even many New Democrat supporters have thrown in the towel."

DPL said...

Chuck has the best of both worlds. He can chuck shit at anyone he wants to but has a blog that no one can access. But at least he isn't anon. His comments on past performance of the NDP governments are not accurate. I could remind Chuck of the latest overbudget convention center, or the sale of BC Rail which Gordo claimed he wouldn't sell it, ignoring collective bargained contracts, which cost us big bucks when he lost in court, and a few other assorted clangers. But I sort of figured this thread had something to do with a poll on the upcoming referendum , which it seems 2/3 of the folks responding had not heard about. Like the Yes or No side is fair game. Let's read, consider both sides and vote our choice. Which side do I support? Mark me down as undecided. That's why folks go to assorted sources for their information. An informed public scares some folks.

Anonymous said...

STV = disaster democracy

Change he rules so completely, and so often, people don't even know what's supposed to happen.

Unknown said...

I thought we put this idiocy to bed last time around, and here it is back again. Let's for the sake of argument assume that it passes this time - will we get to change our minds back again next time too?

Anonymous said...

Why does NDP hate proportional representation?

Because it makes an electoral coup d'etat next to impossible. Like in 1996.

So much for NDP "democracy" and "progressivity".

Although I prefer a simpler form of PR, I will vote STV just because Bill and Carole and the rest of the union freeloaders hate it.

Bill Tieleman said...

While I welcome all civil comments about STV pro or con, I suggest that supporters of STV get their facts straight first.

Anonymous 1:50 says the NDP "hates proportionality."

Completely untrue. The federal NDP and provincial NDP both support the Mixed Member Proportional System.

So did the Green Party of BC in multiple submissions to the Citizens Assembly prior to the 2005 referendum.

But the Green Party flip-flopped to support STV when its lobbying efforts failed.

Bill Tieleman said...

In answer to "buly"'s comment - the Citizens Assembly strongly recommended that STV be kept for a minimum of 3 elections - that means we could have STV for 12 years minimum starting with 2013 and running to 2025.

That's a powerful argument to reject STV.

Anonymous said...

Bill, can you please explain what is a "Mixed Member Proportional System" is? Is this another of NDP's codewords to create "perception"?


Anonymous said...

Face it Bill - NDP would have lost in 1996 if BC had proportional representation.

For a party with little or no principles, but to grab power, don't you think that they would hate proportional representation?

See how the steelworkers unions quickly dumped all their "greenwashing" as soon as NDP decided to oppose green initiatives like the carbon tax?

Bill Tieleman said...

Dude - if you can't find "Mixed Member Proportional" on Google, I really doubt that I can help you!

C'mon - let's have an intellectual debate here folks - use your brains.

As to 1996, the government in a proportional representation list system - i.e. a strictly proportional system very unlike STV - would have been either a BC Liberal-BC Reform coalition or minority government or a BC NDP-BC Reform-Progressive Democratic Alliance coalition or minority government, with the lone PDA MLA - Gordon Wilson - likely joined by one other MLA - Judy Tyabji. The Greens with 2% would not likely have elected leader Stuart Parker but if so, could have joined or not joined the coalition/minority government.

But under STV, who knows what would have happened?

Mark Crawford said...

BC-STV would undoubtedly yield a more proportional result than our current system typically does, and would undoubtedly yield a more representative legislature. (Which is probably why leaders of the NO campaign, who are nostalgic about their glory days in power, don't like it.)

Yes, MMP would be simpler and be more straightforwardly proportional (interms of PARTY PREFERENCE), but the Assembly also wanted to be sensitive to preferences that were non-party and which crossed party lines. Hence the more complicated formula.

The Citizens' Assembly strove to design the most perfect system it could in meeting the criteria of proportionality, local representation and voter choice. I think that they pretty much succeeded, except that it is a little too perfect: I would place less emphasis on proportionality and more on local representation. Nevertheless, given the choice, I would have to recommend to my fellow citizens that they vote for BC-STV: See

Bill Tieleman said...

Mark - you omit the fact that the Citizens Assembly was restricted in their choice of electoral systems by the BC government - they could not recommend any increase in the number of MLAs - thereby eliminating Mixed Member Proportional as a serious consideration.

MMP would have required a significant "pool" of MLAs to be elected by percentage of popular vote in addition to those MLAs elected in their single member ridings - otherwise the ridings would have been huge.

Without that option the Citizens Assembly was forced to choose the Single Transferable Vote - even though the overwhelming majority of submissions favoured MMP.

It's the little secret that the STV proponents don't want known - MMP was never an option because of the conditions imposed by the Campbell government.

The "perfect system" you describe was far less than perfect because the Citizens Assembly had its hands tied.

Anonymous said...

The Citizens' Assembly could have recommended anything they wanted.

MMP was their second choice.

Either way, both reforms are far fairer than First Past the Post. If you succeed in killing STV you will kill any electoral reform in BC for a generation.

Anonymous said...

Bill, in my opinion as an opponent of BC-STV, I'm wondering why there has been virtually "no" campaigning for the NO-STV campaign? I've seen Yes-STV people and signs all over the place, but not ONE NO-STV campaigner/sign/etc. I really hope the campaign picks up steam as we approach the two-week mark.

Bill Tieleman said...

The Yes STV side has a great many volunteers organized for the past several years through Fair Voting BC.

No STV has approached the referendum completely differently and is putting almost all resources into television, radio and print advertising - TV starts today.

We do not have lawn signs and you will not see any this campaign unless individuals make their own, which would be great.

But the Yes STV side has spent an awful lot of their money on leaflets, signs, offices, staff etc, more than half of their $500,000 government funding.

We believe we can reach far more people through advertising and our website.