New poll shows B.C. residents split on electoral reform vote

A new poll shows that B.C. residents who are in the midst of a referendum on electoral reform are divided on what voting system should be used to determine provincial election results.

The results of the online survey, conducted by Insights West on behalf of the Canada Committee 100 Society — a Chinese community organization — were released on Friday.

Insights West asked 814 British Columbians whether they want to keep the current first-past-the-post voting system or change to proportional representation. Forty-two per cent want the province to adopt a new voting system, while 41 per cent would like to keep the status quo. The rest, 17 per cent, were unsure.

With three weeks to go in the referendum — Elections B.C. must receive ballots by Nov. 30 — 86,907 ballot packages have been received from 2.6 per cent of registered voters.

Survey respondents who were asked specifically about their voting intentions, 32 per cent said they had received their ballots and already voted, 60 per cent said they intended to vote and six per cent did not plan to vote.

The majority of those who had voted said they favoured the first-past-the-post system (58 per cent) and 39 per cent said they wanted proportional representation.

The mail-in referendum asks voters whether they want to keep the current first-past-the-post electoral system, or change to one of three options of proportional representation: dual-member proportional, mixed-member proportional or rural-urban proportional.

Respondents said that if B.C. were to adopt a proportional-representation voting system, they would prefer mixed-member proportional, with 86 per cent selecting it as their first or second choice. That’s followed by rural-urban (43 per cent) and dual member (24 per cent).

A simple majority is required to change the voting system.

Premier John Horgan, who supports changing to proportional representation, and B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson, who is in favour of first-past-the-post, participated in a televised debate on Thursday night, which political experts said did not provide voters with any new information.

jensaltman@postmedia.com

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