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Official Proponent - NO to the Single Transferable Vote - May 2009 Referendum

NEWS RELEASE Wednesday April 22, 2009

Ipsos Reid poll shows almost equal support for First Past The Post and Single Transferable Vote in May 12 provincial electoral system referendum - 43% for STV, 41% for current FPTP system

60% of respondents unaware there is referendum on electoral systems

Vancouver, BC - With less than three weeks to go until British Columbians vote on whether to keep the current electoral system or adopt a new one, an Ipsos-Reid poll shows almost equal support for both - and 60% unaware of the referendum.

The poll conducted for No STV, the official opponent group advocating against the Single Transferable Vote, shows that 43% of respondents who are decided intend to vote or are leaning towards voting for STV and 41% for our current First-Past-the-Post system, says Bill Tieleman, No STV President. (A further 3% were not voting and 14% were undecided.)

But STV needs to obtain 60% support from voters in order to replace FPTP under referendum rules established by the government, Tieleman said.

"We are cautiously optimistic that as British Columbians carefully examine the complicated STV electoral system they will find that STV's giant ridings take away local accountability and responsibility of MLAs to voters," Tieleman said. "But we do not underestimate the possibility that STV could pass if not enough voters understand the serious problems it would create for our province."

The Ipsos-Reid poll of 800 British Columbians was conducted by telephone from March 24 to 30, Tieleman said.

No STV Secretary-Treasurer David Schreck said it is still hard to predict what might happen in the referendum vote taking place concurrently with the provincial election because 31% of voters who lean one way or the other say they are likely to change their minds and vote for another option on May 12. When the 14% who are undecided are added it means many voters haven't firmed up their position.

"We are urging all voters to question a STV system that fractionalizes your single vote in such a way that you may never know where your vote actually went or how much of it counted for any candidate," Schreck said. "When STV could be in place for the next three elections starting in 2013, it makes the referendum a very serious matter."

Schreck said that the poll shows 76% of respondents feel the current First Past The Post electoral system is very or somewhat fair and that 71% are very or somewhat satisfied with the range of choices of parties and candidates available to vote for under this system.
"No STV believes that adopting the radically different STV system that is only used in national elections in two small countries - Malta and Ireland - would be disastrous for British Columbia," Schreck said.

"While No STV takes no position on other possible electoral systems, we have been able to bring together supporters of the Green Party, the B.C. Liberals, the New Democratic Party, former Social Credit supporters and non-aligned voters who all believe that STV must be defeated on May 12," he said.

In addition to Schreck and Tieleman, No STV's executive members are Andrea Reimer, Vision Vancouver councilor and former Green Party Vancouver school trustee, Bruce Strachan, former Social Credit cabinet minister and Rick Dignard, a former Citizens Assembly member from the Sunshine Coast.

These are the findings of an Ipsos Reid telephone poll conducted March 24th to 30th, 2009 with a randomly selected sample of 800 adult British Columbia residents. The overall results are considered accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire BC adult population been polled.



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