Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Are Canadian voters comfortable with First Past The Post?

The Globe and Mail editorialized on Oct. 10, 2022, that “Multiple provincial referendums have been held on ditching FPTP for some sort of proportional representation – Prince Edward Island in 2005, 2016 and 2019; Ontario in 2007; British Columbia in 2005, 2009 and 2018. In none of them did enough voters endorse the new over the old. Canadians are apparently comfortable with a system that, however imperfect, has produced 150 years of stable government, and are suspicious of changing it.” (PEI did vote for MMP in 2016, by the way.)

Comfortable? False.

Canadian voters are far from comfortable with FPTP. Polls showed in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2012 and 2013 that around 70 percent of Canadians supported PR.

More recently: Strategic Directions poll 2017 May 23 to 25: When asked explicitly if they would prefer that Canada adopt a Proportional Representation (PR) system, national support was once again strongly supportive (71%).

Angus Reid Global poll Sept. 12 & 13, 2019: “Do you support or oppose moving towards a system of proportional representation in Canadian elections?” Net support: 77%. Net oppose: 23%

Angus Reid Global poll October 29 – November 4, 2019: please indicate which of these two broad options you prefer for Canada: A new system of ProportionalRepresentation: 68%. The current First Past the Post system: 32%

Leger poll September 4 to September 6, 2020: Do you support or oppose moving to proportional representation in Canada? 76% support, 24% oppose.

And for Ontario, Leger poll November 12-14, 2021. Do you support or oppose moving to proportional representation in Ontario? Support 78%, oppose 22%

Why do some referenda fail? Fear of the unknown, sometimes. For example, the BC 2018 referendum asked voters to vote yes on the first question when the result of the second question was one of three systems, a "mystery box," which might be an unknown system.

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