Labour and Tory voters want STV

Anyone reading the Sunday Times over the weekend might well have glossed over this little snippet right at the bottom of one of their many articles on the election:

As the Tories and Lib Dems try to thrash out a common position on electoral reform, the poll shows strong support for a shift to proportional representation. This is in spite of a worse than expected showing by the Lib Dems, who lost five seats. By nearly five to one, 62% to 13%, people said they favoured a more proportional system of voting.

Sunday Times, 9 May 2010

In itself this is an emphatic endorsement for changing the voting system, but the full poll details have now appeared on the YouGov website, and they show something even more extraordinary:


As we'd expect, LibDem voters support a more proportional system by 88% to 2%, but look at the figures for Labour and Tory voters: Labour voters want it by 63% to 10% and even Tory voters want it by 49% to 23%.

So the real question to ask is why the Labour leadership want to disregard the views of their supporters and opt for the Alternative Vote—something which I believe is an improvement on First-past-the-post but which does not contain any element of proportionality—and why the Tory leadership doesn't want to change the system at all.

Are the leaderships of these parties so out of touch? I doubt it. I think it is another example of politicians in the two big parties wanting to maintain a system that gives them, each in their turn, an artificially inflated number seats in the Commons.


This should strengthen the hand of the parties that want to see the Single Transferable Vote introduced. In particular it should help the LibDem negotiating team reject Labour's option of introducing the Alternative Vote without the need for a referendum, playing on the fear that if there were to be a referendum it might be lost, so that it would be better not to risk it.

The poll shows very clearly that if the referendum included STV as an option, the majority of us would vote for it.

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