Poll shows an ‘extremely’ close race in B.C.’s electoral reform referendum

A new poll released Friday, the last day for voters to deliver their electoral reform referendum packages, shows the race remains tight.

The Insights West poll shows an “extremely close” race between keeping the current First Past The Post voting system and changing to a Proportional Representation system.

Of those who have already voted, the poll found just under half (49 per cent) say the province should maintain our First Past The Post system, while the other half (48 per cent) would prefer to switch to a Proportional Representation system.

Insights West says a major factor in the final referendum outcome is whether the surge of late voters will sway the race in favour of a PR system, as the poll suggests late voters overwhelmingly prefer this electoral system over the current system.

The poll found that 52 per cent of early voters were in favour of the current system, while middle voters were split down the middle (47 per cent for FPTP versus 49 per cent for PR), and late voters were overwhelmingly in favour of a PR system.

Forty-one per cent of respondents who hadn’t submitted their ballot at the time of the poll, but intended to, were in favour of a PR system.

President of Insights West Steve Mossop says the race is too close to call.

“As in many close elections, the final referendum results are clearly dependent on voter turnout. The late-stage younger voters who prefer PR are critical in this entire process — if they follow through and actually turn in their ballots, we could see this side win — but that is uncertain,” he said, in a statement Friday.

Insights West says those who prefer a change to the system were more likely to have voted for the NDP or Green parties. They were also younger and more likely to live in the city of Vancouver. Liberal voters and residents over 50 were more likely to be satisfied with the current system.

Results are based on an online survey of 965 adults conducted from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

ticrawford@postmedia.com

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