|Latest AV referendum polls||Date||YES %||NO %||Question wording|
|ComRes/Indy on Sunday||14/01/11||36||30||â€œAt present, the UK uses the first past the post system to to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the Alternative Vote System be used instead?Â â€œ|
|YouGov/Sun||10/01/11||32||41||Bespoke wording â€“ see below|
|Angus Reid/||07/01/11||37||20||â€œAt present, the UK uses the first past the post system to to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the Alternative Vote System be used instead?Â â€œ|
|ICM/Guardian||19/12/10||44||38||â€œAt present, the UK uses the first past the post system to to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the Alternative Vote System be used instead?Â â€œ|
If you put the actual question you get YES
With the next big election in the UK being the referendum on the alternative vote, currently planned for May 5th, all the main pollsters, it seems, are now asking this as standard.
And the firms that are using the precise wording that will feature on the ballot better have the YES camp in the lead – while the one that doesn’t, YouGov, has NO ahead.
The latest, from ComRes tonight for the Indy on Sunday and the Sunday Mirror, is reported in the table above.
The firm also asked a secondary question which suggests that the yes proportion might increase. Participants were asked if they agreed with the statement that “I could be persuaded to support changing the voting system in the forthcoming referendum in May when I have heard more about the arguments for and against “. This has 61% agreeing to 18% disagreeing.
The Westminster voting intention question produced CON 36: LAB 40: LD 10.
YouGov, the firm that’s out of line on AV, has the following question format:-
â€œThe Conservative-Liberal Democrat government are committed to holding a referendum on changing the electoral system from first-past-thepost (FPTP) to the Alternative Vote (AV) At the moment, under first-past-the-post (FPTP), voters select ONE candidate, and the candidate with the most votes wins. It has been suggested that this system should be replaced by the Alternative Vote (AV). Voters would RANK a number of candidates from a list. If a candidates wins more than half of the â€˜1stâ€™ votes, a winner is declared. If not, the least popular candidates are eliminated from the contest, and their supportersâ€™ subsequent preferences counted and shared accordingly between the remaining candidates. This process continues until an outright winner is declared. If a referendum were held tomorrow on whether to stick with first-past-the-post or switch to the Alternative Vote for electing MPs, how would you vote?â€
It would be interesting if YouGov tested using the actual phrasing approach that’s been adopted by all the other pollsters. I wonder whether reminding people of the “Conservative-Liberal Democrat government” is affecting the response.
Of course we have not had the campaign yet and that could change everything.