15 April 2009

Poll: 65% of British Columbians Favour BC-STV

April 15, 2009
Poll: 65 per cent of British Columbians support BC-STV
Younger voters overwhelming in their support

Vancouver, B.C. – The numbers are in and British Columbia voters are giving a big thumbs up to electoral reform with 65 per cent saying they will vote for BC-STV in the upcoming referendum on May 12. That is the top line result of a major survey conducted by Angus Reid Strategies. Support for a new way of electing our MLAs is particularly strong among younger voters – those 18 to 34 – at 74 per cent.

“The survey results indicate that British Columbians and particularly younger voters are ready to embrace a new electoral system in British Columbia,” said Catherine Rogers, vice president, Angus Reid Strategies. “A large majority are looking for electoral change and want an electoral system that is fair and that elects MLAs who are more accountable to them.”

When presented with the question that will appear on the ballot, 65 per cent said yes to BC-STV while only 35 per cent chose to keep the current first-past-the post system. Angus Reid Strategies conducted the online survey March 9 to 12 and polled 702 British Columbians across the province. While support for BC-STV continues to grow, awareness of the upcoming referendum is at 44 per cent.

The campaign team leading the charge to adopt BC-STV is working hard across the province to raise awareness of the ballot question and to encourage all British Columbians to learn about BC-STV and join the discussion about electoral reform.

“Building awareness is key for us. When the Citizens’ Assembly was formed in 2003, its mandate was to make sure we had an electoral system that was fair and representative of the voters’ wishes,” said Shoni Field, a former member of the Citizens’ Assembly. “The more we researched different systems the more support there was for this particular one. When our group of 160 average British Columbians were fully aware of the issue, 95 per cent of us backed BC-STV.”

“To win, we will need voters to turn out in big numbers on election day, and there are groups that have a traditionally low voter turnout who could be the difference, such as people under 34 and people who are so fed up with the current system that they sometimes don’t vote at all,” continued Field. “Fortunately, President Barak Obama has inspired a lot of these voters that change is possible. If they vote on May 12, we could see historic change in BC.”

On May 12, in a province wide referendum on electoral reform, voters will have a chance to change the way politicians are elected. British Columbians will choose between the current “first-past-the-post” system and the STV system that was recommended overwhelmingly by the Citizens’ Assembly on Electoral Reform in 2004. In the last election, BC-STV received more votes than any political party, nearly 58 per cent. However, the referendum requires 60 per cent approval to be adopted.

More information about the STV system and how British Columbians can get involved in the campaign is available at www.stv.ca or by calling 1-866-835-7612

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[Thanks to reader Ian for the heads-up on this fabulous news.]

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