Could a voting reform referendum save Brown?

Could a voting reform referendum save Brown?

Is this the way to get Lib Dems to support Labour?

There are poll findings out this morning from the Electoral Reform Society which might just offer a glimmer of hope to Brown Central in its bid for Labour not to be annihilated in the coming general election.

For the response to questions bolted onto last week’s Sun YouGov poll seem to suggest that a promise of a referendum on voting reform might influence some voters – particularly those planning at the moment to support the Lib Dems.

The question was:“If Labour were to hold a referendum on changing the voting system not for the next election but for all elections after that would that make you…’ more or less likely to vote Labour?”.

The key finding was that 8% of Lib Dem voters said they would be “much more likely” and 22% “somewhat more likely“. Only 4% of this segment said they would be put off.

Given that the voting intention figures published last week from the survey had a 17% share for Nick Clegg’s party then, theoretically at least, those saying “much more likely” could add one or two points to Labour’s overall position – still 12 points adrift which would be enough for Cameron to secure a majority.

These “more or less likely to vote X if..” questions are becoming a standard polling template for pressure groups and I’m not convinced that they are a reliable guide to voting intention. Thus the same survey had four times as many of the same Lib Dem supporters saying Gordon Brown was doing “badly as PM” compared with those saying he was doing well.

In the latest Ipsos-Mori monthly issues poll for August where respondents are asked unprompted to name the key issues facing the country the number who brought up anything to do with consitutional or voting reform was too small even to record.

The poll gets some coverage in the Observer and might just add to the movement within government for a general election day voting reform referendum.

Mike Smithson

Comments are closed.