Political

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.