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New Populus poll has 12 point lead for YES

February 19th, 2011
Latest AV referendum polls Date YES % NO % Question wording
Populus/Times 18/02/11 41 29 Actual wording on the ballot
Angus Reid/ 16/02/11 37 (nc) 21 (+1) Actual wording on the ballot
ComRes/Indy on Sunday 10/02/11 36 (+4) 30 (nc) Actual wording on the ballot
YouGov/Sun 07/02/11 38 (+6) 39 (-2) Bespoke wording – referring to the fact that this is a proposal from the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition
ICM/Guardian 19/12/10 44 38 Actual wording on the ballot

But a different picture emerges when the question is changed

There’s a new referendum poll by Populus behind the paywall at the Times which provides a very mixed picture of how the referendum might work out.

When the actual wording on the ballot was used the response was strongly for YES and in line with other polling which has tested opinion in this way.

There is much greater support amongst men than women and Populus found that support was greatest amongst ABs.

But when a second group in the poll was asked if they wanted a system where “voters number the candidates they like in order of preference, and the candidate who gets more than half the support of the voters in the constituency is elected” Populus found 43% saying keep the current system with 29% saying they wanted change.

This is in line with the differing numbers that have been coming out of YouGov which has sought to explain what the precise change is.

So which is giving the best indicator of what will happen? That’s hard to say but it’s apparent there’s a large group out there that want’s change but is less ready to commit when you explain the mechanics.

The Times reports that the NO vote is more solid than YES. with 26 per cent against AV being definite, compared with 11 per cent for.

I did an interesting phone-in (after 35 minutes in) yesterday on 5Live and my sense from the callers is that the big challenge for YES is explaining the change in a way that doesn’t sound threatening. For NO it is the opposite.

Mike Smithson