Public back electoral reform 52%-17%

New polling by Number Cruncher Politics for the Labour Campaign for Electoral Reform shows strong support for electoral reform:

52% support proportional representation
17% oppose
31% don’t know

This is one of those topics where the exact question wording can produce quite varying results, with YouGov late last year pegging it at 42% to 33% in favour of proportional representation.

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It’s also one of those topics where a neutral question – which you might think is the ideal for a good poll – is actually not that useful. That’s because in practice public opinion ends by being shaped not by neutral cases being put before it but by the clash of partisan takes on both sides of an issue. That’s why the Conservative social care policy polled fine ahead of the 2017 general election campaign and then bombed during it. The poll was neutral, the campaign was not.

That said, such questions do give a sense of the starting point for future debates, and in that respect the continued lead for electoral reform is good news.

As too is the support from Labour voters, given that the votes of Labour MPs are likely to be central to achieving electoral reform for the House of Commons:

By 2019 vote, 63% of Labour voters support PR, as well as 50% of Conservatives and 75% of Liberal Democrats…

Most of all, the results show that opposition to PR is limited to a small minority. Only 12% of Labour voters and 25% of Conservatives oppose PR.

Support is even higher among Labour members, which will make the debate on this topic at the Labour Party conference one to watch closely.

3 responses to “Public back electoral reform 52%-17%”

  1. If electoral reform is to be achieved then it unlikely that the current Tory and Labour hierarchies will support it unless their parties really hit the rocks, which does not yet appear to be happening. What is really needed is a complete realignment in politics focused around one or two key, radical themes.

    One option is to establish a new single issue grouping, crossing current party lines to attract people from all sides, and a clear issue is to rebuild the case for rejoin the EU, with the aim, ideally, of making it a key battleground at the next GE. Already we hear voices from key players, such as Hilary Benn, promoting this idea. The LibDems have a major opportunity to promote this proposal, and to tie it to electoral reform, on the grounds that the failure of Brexit, for example it’s role in generating the present fuel crisis, demonstrates the need for a complete rethinking of UK politics. One side effect could also be a means of avoiding the break up of the UK. I see such a grouping as crossing party lines but for the present retaining present party structures to help ease the transition. But in the long run a permanent centre left coalition might be the great prize to seek.

    Any views on this?

  2. The Labour Conference debate may well be one to watch closely. But bear in mind that Labour’s 2010 manifesto supported the introduction of AV (not full-blown PR). And when there was a referendum on this issue in 2011, the Labour party split, and mostly supported the status quo.

  3. Some interesting material here. It’s positive that there are appreciable moves towards supporting PR among the public, among Labour voters and some others, and among Labour members. However, since these postings the Labour Autumn 2021 Conference has (perhaps predictably) rejected over 300 local party motions in favour of making PR a Manifesto commitment for the next GE.

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