Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Poll: Current System Has Greatest Support

An Angus Reid poll provides some support for the current electoral system but does not speak well for democracy. We can take heart in the fact that a majority, 52 percent, are satisfied with the way democracy works in Canada. However, 41 percent are dissatisfied. To have such a large minority dissatisfied with democracy is a very sad situation.

When given a choice between three different types of electoral systems (the current system, a proportional representative system, or a mixed member system) the current system comes out ahead. That would indicate that changing the system will not solve most of the problems people have with democracy. However, the current system did not receive majority support so clearly there is room for improvement with it.

In my own opinion, if the Ontario referendum passes and we adopted a mixed member proportional (MMP) system we should not consider this the end but we should move on to a serious discussion on other necessary changes. If MMP is not adopted let's not get weighed down discussing the whys and why nots. Let's immediately move forward with a discussion on other necessary changes such as greater accountability, strengthening the role of backbench MPPs, and other reforms to the system that will improve our democracy.

Polling Data

Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way democracy works in Canada?

Satisfied

52%

Dissatisfied

41%

Not sure

7%

As you may know, the Province of Ontario is holding a referendum next month on whether to change its electoral system. Which of these electoral systems would you prefer to use for federal elections in Canada?

The current first-past-the-post system, where candidates win seats by getting more votes than any other rival in a specific constituency

29%

A proportional representation system, where parties win seats in accordance with their share of the national vote

21%

A mixed-member proportional voting system, which would allocate some seats on a constituency basis, and others by proportional representation

19%

Not sure

30%

8 comments:

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Couldn't this post just as easily been titled "FPTP has only 29% support"???

I'm just sayin'.

Thor said...

It's odd that they split up the proportional and MMP choices like that. If you combine them, (MMP IS a form of proportional representation anyway), then you get:
Current system: 29%
PR/MMP: 40%
DK: 30%

Clearly PR/MMP is the winner here (especially by FPTP logic! :)

The current system is even less popular than Don't Know.

The title, according to facts, should be as Lord Kitchener's Own suggests, or, Current System Has Least Support.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

It is odd isn't it? Odd, and a cynic might even say "suspicious".

It's kinda like having a poll on Coke vs. Pepsi in which you ask "Which do you prefer? Pepsi, Coke, or Diet Coke" and when the numbers come out 29% Pepsi, 21 % Coke, 19% Diet Coke and 30% undecided proclaiming "Pepsi has greatest support"!

Um, well, yeah, but it's still entirely possible that in an actual Coke Vs. Pepsi poll that Coke would win 40/29.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

Of course, I suppose we should be grateful. They could have added a fourth option for STV and further diluted the "anything but that God awful FPTP" vote.

Andy said...

Given that MMP is also a form of FPTP, why not go the whole way and claim that it's got 100% support?

I really doubt that these polls have much value, since the familiarity of the respondents with the options must on the whole must be extremely low.

Mixed Member Proportional said...

Angus Reid is a reputable poller with an expertise in this area. I trust their methodology. They basically asked do you want FPTP, PR, or a mixture MMP.

Wayneon said...

The distinction between PR and MMP is a false one, since MMP is a proportional system. However, let's assume that PR here means List PR.

Since List PR is not on the ballot on October 10, if we make the unsafe assumption that a List PR supporter would always vote for MMP over FPTP, then the decided vote breaks down as 40/69 or just under 58% for MMP. Shades of BC!

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