New poll shows dead heat in BC’s referendum on electoral reform

New poll shows dead heat in BC's referendum on electoral reform

Elections BC says it has started to mail voting packages to registered voters. Photo courtesy Elections BC.

Photo courtesy Elections BC

As Premier John Horgan and Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson get set for a televised debate on the pros and cons of electoral reform, a new poll shows almost equal support in B.C. for both sides.

Voters continue to return mail-in referendum ballots asking if they prefer the current first-past-the-post electoral system or a switch to form a proportional representation, the survey finds 50.5% support the status quo while 49.5% favour a change.

“The story right now in BC politics is the referendum on electoral reform,” said Quito Maggi, President and CEO of Mainstreet Research.

“This is shaping up to be the closest referendum in BC history and its outcome is far from certain.”

The survey of 616 British Columbians also shows a significant age gap in support for electoral reform.

Mainstreet Research finds that 62% of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 say they support proportional representation. An equal number of those over the age of 65 say they want to keep the current first-past-the-post system.

On Vancouver Island, support for proportional representation is 52.7%, while 47.3% of those surveyed prefer the first-past-the-post system.

The ballot gives voters three options for which form of proportional representation should be adopted if the refrerendum result favours a change

Of those three, Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) receives the most support at 44.8% of those surveyed.

Rural-Urban proportional (RUP) is second favourite with 38.2%.

The third and least popular option is Dual-Member Proportional (DMP) with 17% support.

Voters have until November 30th, 2018 to return their ballots by mail to Elections BC.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that those who favour proportional representation have three options for which form of PR they prefer. In fact, all voters can choose their preferred form of proportional representation.

Ben O'HaraBen O'Hara

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