Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP

The Independent today reports new analysis from the Institute for Public Policy Research - also covered by The Guardian yesterday - showing that AV would hinder the BNP.

The Independent today reports new analysis from the Institute for Public Policy Research – also covered by The Guardian yesterday – showing that AV would hinder the BNP. The research fundamentally rebuts claims made earlier this month by the No to AV Campaign which were promoted by Guido Fawkes.

On April 1st, the right-wing blogger published an article which claimed:

“Research out today from the No to AV campaign suggests that in the region of 35 constituencies could have their outcomes determined by the second preferences of BNP voters. This is the unwelcome empowerment that the AV system brings to democracy.”

The analysis by ippr from a forthcoming report examining the case for AV looks at each of the 35 constituencies in turn. Using analysis from a British Election Study survey of voting intentions of 13,356 people, it found that in 25 of these seats the outcome of the 2010 general election would have been the same under AV.

In the remaining ten seats, which would have changed hands under AV, the BNP vote was not decisive. This was calculated using polling from the BES paper which outlines the second preferences of BNP supporters. It found that BNP supporters gave 45 per cent of their second preferences to Ukip, 29% to the Tories, 10% to Labour, 9% to the Greens, and just 7% to the Lib Dems.

Using this information, the table below shows the vote share for each party once the BNP have been eliminated and had their second preferences reallocated. In every seat, more second preferences would need to be reallocated before there was a winner.


Summing up the absurdity of of the No campaign’s claims that the AV would “[give] BNP supporters more power at the ballot box“, Billy Bragg told the Independent:

“It’s much easier for them to get elected under first-past-the-post – they need a small number of angry, highly motivated people to win under first-past-the-post…

“If AV is going to help the BNP, why are they against AV? They are opposed to AV because they know that to win power they have to gain more than 50 per cent of the vote.”

The Yes campaign are now turning this point to their advantage with new adverts outlining Nick Griffin’s opposition to AV.

33 Responses to “Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP”

  1. KCI

    RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  2. Kevin Arscott

    RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  3. SHAZIA ARSHAD

    RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  4. Paul Jeater

    RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  5. Tom Littleford

    RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  6. Finola Kerrigan

    RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  7. Nick H.

    RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  8. Andrew Böber

    RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  9. Ed Cox

    RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  10. Trakgalvis

    RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  11. TimOL

    Hi @FutileRage. Thought this was worth checking out re. our AV vote discussion. //bit.ly/ezhtRd (@leftfootfwd via @trakgalvis) #Yes2AV

  12. Gavin H

    RT @trakgalvis: RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  13. joshuapocock

    RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  14. Mr Edd B

    RT @trakgalvis: RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  15. Ash

    “BNP supporters gave 45 per cent of their second preferences to Ukip, 29% to the Tories, 10% to Labour, 9% to the Greens, and just 7% to the Lib Dems.”

    Is it just me, or is this excellent news for the Tories? Assuming that UKIP voters tend to vote either Tory 2 or BNP 2 Tory 3, that UKIP and the BNP are likely to be eliminated before the Lib Dems in most seats, and that most Labour second preferences are likely to come from Lib Dem voters, aren’t the Tories going to scoop up large numbers of transferred votes in the early rounds of elections?

    (I’m more than willing for somebody to explain to me why I’m wrong; there must be some reason why the Tories think AV will hurt them.)

  16. Mr. Sensible

    2 points:

    First, predicting the influence of BNP voters’ second preferences and trying to work out the likelyhood of them winning a seat are 2 different things.

    Second, trying to predict the outcome of a previous general election under AV is a far from exact science. If, as the yes campaign claim, so many MPs have the support of less than 50% of their constituents, this surely renders such predictions unreliable?

  17. Hens4Freedom

    RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  18. dave

    One small fact, BNP voters will not put a second choice.

  19. mike

    I imagine under AV more people would vote for the BNP as their first preference than they currently do under FPTP, since they would have a second bite at the cherry under AV to assert a worthwhile vote. There are many who would vote for the BNP now were it not seen as a wasted vote. Thus if more BNP first preferences were cast under an AV system, their redistributed votes after their knock out (assuming they’re not one of the top two parties) would become more pivotal as a proportion of the total votes cast. Therefore, the entire analysis presented in this article is fundamentally flawed, since it fails to consider the likely effect of the increase in BNP first preference votes under AV.

  20. chang mei wan

    RT @trakgalvis: RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  21. Russ Hickman

    RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  22. Chris

    The fact that anyone thinks this is the big game changing system, as it is being touted by many commentators is ridiculous. I would describe myself as being centre-left, and I can see no good reason to vote yes for this proposed change to our electoral system. Small and marginal gains by the BNP considered, for them (BNP) to actually gain a seat it would take a large body of support. This larger body of support would get them in regardless of the system they were being elected under. The fact that the BNP is being used by both the No and Yes campaigns is proving to be a more than a little trite. I will be voting No, mainly because I find this to be a miserable and over complicated comprimise. I also think that this system has been reached after much deliberation and no party really wants this, but now we are here they, the lib-dems mainly, feel they need to post their banner to an argument. I think we should send a No vote to make them think again.

  23. cim

    Consider Hendon and Bolton West constituencies at the 2010 election. Neither had a BNP candidate. Both are Con-Lab marginals. Labour won Bolton West and the Conservatives won Hendon, by around 0.2% each.

    One of those constituency results was almost certainly decided by BNP voters’ second preferences (depending if they favoured Labour or the Conservatives overall) – under FPTP! In Oxford West and Abingdon, Dr Evan Harris probably only lost his seat due to BNP second preferences – again, under FPTP.

    We should clearly get rid of FPTP immediately.

    (More details of my reasoning, and a few more examples)

  24. Ash

    cim –

    Sure; of course natural BNP (or UKIP, or Green, or Lib Dem…) supporters can swing elections under FPTP by ‘transferring’ their vote to Labour or the Tories as a ‘second preference’. Hence tactical voting. But all votes that get ‘transferred’ in that way get transferred simultaneously. The difference with AV is that it matters what order candidates are eliminated in. Labour could be preferred to the Tories by most voters, yet the Tories win because right-wing parties happen to be eliminated early on, pushing them over the 50% threshold before centre/left-wing voters’ second preferences get looked at.

    (NB this doesn’t mean AV is a worse system than FPTP on balance, but it does have it’s weaknesses)

  25. cim

    Ash: Labour could be preferred to the Tories by most voters, yet the Tories win because right-wing parties happen to be eliminated early on, pushing them over the 50% threshold before centre/left-wing voters’ second preferences get looked at.

    If the Tories got over 50% without transfers from any centre/left parties being considered, then they would clearly win even if those transfers had been considered, though perhaps not by so big a margin.

    The only case in which Labour is preferred to the Tories by a majority of voters, but the Tories win an AV election, is when Labour is actually knocked out (due to a severe lack of first prefs) before the final round (and if that happens, at least some centre/left voters 2nd prefs will be looked at)

  26. Nigel

    I just don’t see why it is such a big deal even if the reallocated BNP votes did in fact give a winner in the next round. They’ve not ‘decided’ the election any more than any other arbitrarily chosen small group of people, it’s just theirs were the last votes to be counted before someone got 50% so no further votes needed to be counted.

    If there are five people voting for outcome A or B, and the first three votes are A, B, A, then just because the 4th person votes A, so A wins, it doesn’t mean they ‘decided’ the result or had any extra influence, or that the 5th person whose vote wasn’t even looked at had less influence than the others.

  27. Mr. Sensible

    Cim I’m afraid you’re doing it again; trying to predict the outcome of a previous election under a new system.

    Like I say, if, as the yes campaign claim, so many MPs have less than 50% support, such predictions are simply unreliable.

  28. cim

    Mr Sensible: Not at all. I’m trying to analyse the results of the 2010 election under FPTP and predict how it might have been different with different candidates under the same electoral system. Obviously there were some voters in those seats who would have voted BNP given the chance. They didn’t have that chance and it’s unlikely they all stayed at home. “What if X had (not) stood” is a question that gets asked all the time of FPTP elections.

  29. Anon E Mouse

    Mr Sensible – AV does not guarantee a person gets 50%. That’s a myth.

    I’m voting YES just to be bloody minded!

  30. Tim Ireland

    RT @leftfootfwd: Conclusive proof that AV hinders the BNP: //bit.ly/eBJfeP by @wdjstraw #Yes2AV @YesInMay

  31. Daniel Pitt

    Conclusive proof that AV hinders the #BNP //bit.ly/eBJfeP #Yes2AV

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