AV: Poll lead for yes campaign as Clegg set to take back seat

A majority of the public will vote yes in the alternative vote (AV) referendum, according to an ICM poll in today's Independent; 56% favour AV, 44% oppose.

A majority of the public will vote yes in the alternative vote (AV) referendum, according to an ICM poll in today’s Independent. When asked a straight question about which voting system they prefer, similar to the one which will appear on the ballot paper, 56 per cent said they favoured AV, with 44 per cent preferring first-past-the-post (FPTP).

The result comes as Nick Clegg looks set to be sidelined from the campaign, the Indy reporting:

The new survey has reinforced the Yes camp’s determination to ensure that politicians – including Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader – play a low-key role in its drive.

“We have to ensure that the referendum is not seen through the prism of party politics,” said one senior figure in the campaign.

He denied that Mr Clegg would be sidelined because his personal ratings have plummeted since he became Deputy Prime Minister in May, saying that other politicians backing reform would also keep a low profile.

Worryingly, though, the report adds:

Focus groups conducted for the Electoral Commission found that some people thought AV meant being allowed to vote online or by post, referred to an unknown alternative or is a proportional system.

Countering insinuations that the poll may have been loaded, a spokesman for the AV ‘Yes’ campaign told Left Foot Forward:

“The question was what will be on the ballot paper. It was: ‘At present, the UK uses the ‘first past the post’ system to elect MPs to the House of Commons. Should the ‘alternative vote’ system be used instead?’

“No vetoes. No leading questions. That was it.”

The referendum takes place on Thursday, May 5th.

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