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20 April 2011

Why a Yes vote depends on Labour voters

The party’s voters are split exactly 50:50 on whether to back the Alternative Vote.

By George Eaton

With just two weeks to go until the AV referendum, the chances of a Yes vote are rapidly evaporating. The latest YouGov poll gives the No campaign a 16-point lead, as an ICM poll did earlier this week. Among those who are likely to vote, 58 per cent say they will vote No and 42 per cent say they will vote Yes.

The result reflects the mendacious but effective campaign run by No to AV and Yes2AV’s failure to identify a single winning message. What’s clear from the poll is that the Yes campaign should use the time that remains to win over Labour voters. As I’ve noted before, while Lib Dem voters are overwhelmingly in favour of reform (83 per cent to 17 per cent) and Conservative voters are overwhelmingly opposed (84 per cent to 16 per cent), Labour voters are split exactly down the middle (50 per cent to 50 per cent).

YouGov’s Anthony Wells observes that if Conservative voters continue to oppose AV in these proportions, Labour voters will have to vote Yes by 2-1 in order for AV to pass. He adds: “None of our recent polling has shown Labour voters backing AV in anything like these proportions.”

If AV is rejected, we can expect many Lib Dems to accuse Ed Miliband of failing to do enough to win over his own party.

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