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Referendum aftermath

Had the Alternative Vote referendum been restricted to the sort of people who write about electoral systems on social networking sites, it would have been a landslide victory for the 'Yes' campaign.

Clearly the reverse was true, which is worth remembering when discussing politics on livejournal / facebook / twitter etc - that is, those forums are not representative of the country at large on many issues. People who do discuss politics online should bear that in mind.

Interestingly, the same big 'Yes' majority to be found online was also found in a select few parts of the country. This map shows where they are pretty clearly:
Grey areas voted more or less with the national result, blue areas were even more for No and red areas were less for No (with the darkest red areas voting Yes I think). The darkest red areas are Oxford, Cambridge and bits of London and Glasgow. (Although andrewducker can be pretty proud of the red in Edinburgh...)

If you are in one of those areas (or you've only discussed this online) and you're surprised at the result, well it's clear that you live in an unusual place.

If you still don't quite understand how the No campaign came back from being 24 points behind in one early poll to win by quite such a large margin, there's a very good article by Tim Montgomerie on Conservative Home: http://conservativehome.blogs.com/avstory/ that tells the full story.

Politicians looking to win referendums in the near future should read this article. Mr Salmond perhaps...?

EDIT: Liberal Vision comes to much the same conclusions: http://www.liberal-vision.org/2011/05/08/the-humiliation-of-the-yes-campaign/



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 8th, 2011 09:08 pm (UTC)
The main thing to bear in mind here is that if you want to win a referendum you need one of the main parties actually on your side.
May. 9th, 2011 12:07 am (UTC)
Enthusiasm for the change itself would have helped. Part of the reason I was apathetic regarding being active in the campaign was that really I wanted a more proportional system; another was that I disliked the patronising tone of the campaign and the assumption that the wider public would connect with the niche celebrities who were wheeled out.

As for the 'progressive majority', I think those who advocate it would do well to realise that many of those who might constitute that majority probably think of their beliefs in conservative terms - long-held principles, ways of life, fairness and so on - and are not likely to be swayed by simple appeals to vote for change. Those who want to establish an electoral system which recognises a pluralist country, must first take account of the nature and extent and variety of that pluralism. I'm not sure that they did so.

Flippantly, I thought the appearance of Lord Mandelson as an advocate of the 'Yes' campaign would have been the kiss of death for some supporters of electoral reform.

ETA: Enjoying the Liberal Vision post, particularly the swipe at my Oxford college JCR's NUS rep in 1989...

Edited at 2011-05-09 12:10 am (UTC)
May. 9th, 2011 06:28 pm (UTC)
I like the LV article, and "by Guardian readers for Guardian readers" is probably the most damning statement that doesn't involve Hitler, but I disagree that this was ever winnable by the Yes campaign.

Part of the reason the campaign couldn't sell it to the people is that virtually nobody wanted what they were selling. The ability to have your cake and eat it? Why would anyone other than the LibDems care about second-choice votes? 80% of the population vote for the two main parties, so their first preference is their only preference, under any system.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )