Ranked Ballot Preferred Over PR, FPTP

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Ranked Ballot Preferred Over PR, FPTP

Majority agrees with mandatory voting, online ballots

In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1345 Canadian voters, the Proportional Representation (PR) system of electing governments draws the approval of a majority of voters (54%) when a simple description is given, while Canada’s current First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) system draws approval from about 4-in-10 (42%) and the Ranked Ballot system receives approval from just more than a third (35%).

When these three electoral systems are described in more detail, and their drawbacks explained, however, ratings for PR stay the same (52%), those for FPTP decline sharply (from 44% approval to 30% approval), while approval for Ranked Ballots vaults into first place at almost 6-in-10 (56%).

PR preferred overall

Canadians are asked, after rating each system for approval twice, which of the three they preferred. PR wins this direct measure with one third of the vote (33%), while Ranked Ballot comes in second at a quarter (23%) and FPTP is third with just less than a fifth of the vote (18%). One tenth like none of these three (10%) and one sixth don’t have an opinion (15%).

PR is especially preferred by the youngest (42%), mid income groups ($40K to $60K - 43%), in BC (40%), among New Democrats (46%) and among college grads (38%).

Ranked Ballot is preferred especially by younger voters (under 45 - 27%), the wealthy ($80K to $100K - 35%), in Atlantic Canada (29%), among Liberals (30%) and among the best educated (post grad - 26%).

FPTP is preferred by the oldest (23%), males (23%) rather than females (14%), the wealthiest ($100K to $250K - 25%), in Alberta (22%) and among Conservatives (28%).

Majority agree with mandatory voting

More than one half of Canadian voters agree voting should be mandatory in Canada (55%), more than a third think it should not (38%) and fewer than a tenth have no opinion (7%). Approving of mandatory voting is characteristic of the youngest (59%), females (58%) rather than males (51%), the least wealthy (67% - often a proxy for age), in Quebec (67%), among New Democrats (60%), among the least educated (secondary school or less - 64%) and among Francophones (67%).

One half agree with online voting

One half of Canadian voters agree the country should use online voting in federal elections (51%), and this is especially common to the youngest (61%), the wealthy ($80K to $100Km - 65%), in Ontario and Quebec more than elsewhere (54% each), among Liberals (57%), mothers of children under 18 (55%) and among college grads (57%).

“We have found electoral reform notoriously difficult to poll, because explaining each system adequately is challenging. We found, when the simple facts were presented, PR is favoured, as usual, because it sounds the most representative. When respondents are presented with the reality of small parties and coalition governments, they change their minds, and many who supported FPTP previously, move into the Ranked Ballot column, presumably because this system always results in a majority, and voters value that. In other news, Canadians are ready for mandatory voting, especially the younger voters, where the impact will be felt the most. They are not quite as enthusiastic about online voting, but this system still draws majority support" said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff. 

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at lbozinoff@forumresearch.com or at (416) 960-9603.