On Sept 28 I attended the travelling public Electoral Reform Committee in Vancouver.
One of the witnesses was Mario Canseco, VP of InsightsWest, who presented the results of his company's Sept 14-16 weighted online survey of 1029 Canadians on electoral reform. The committee was given his brief but since then the questions and data behind the brief have been published online. It is not mentioned who commissioned the poll.
This was the big news at the time to the committee : Overall, nearly two-thirds of poll respondents are very or somewhat satisfied with keeping our electoral system the way it is and 68% definitely/probably want a referendum.
As there was no media present *yet again* at the committee, it's unlikely anyone will take a look at the survey, now being quoted online by referendum and FPtP fans with names like XXX the Deplorable. Here's the data info on the First-Past-the-Post question :
Let's leave aside for the moment whether First-Past-the-Post is accurately described here.
If I understand this data correctly, half of respondents who voted NDP in the 2015 election are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with First-Past-the-Post. How likely is that? Or that 72% of Liberals are? Or that only 9% of Canadians overall are very dissatisfied with a system in which just over half of their votes - 9,106,936 of them - were wasted.
Moving on to what electoral system should replace FPtP for the apparently only 22% of Canadians with any interest in doing so :
It seems twice as many Conservatives (26% based on their vote in the 2015 election) are strongly in favour of Party-List PR than are their NDP (11%) and Liberal (12%) counterparts. Who knew?
Notable that between 20% and 38% in the different categories were unable to give any opinion either positive or negative on the three alternative voting systems presented to them.
Meanwhile a whopping 71% of NDP respondents and 65% of Liberal respondents told the pollsters they are in favour of holding a nationwide referendum :
So how does Insights West recruit these respondents? According to their website, you sign up with their survey panel by email :
"You can earn between $0.50 to $5 for some surveys, for others you will be entered into sweepstakes draws with chances to win gift cards from a variety of Canadian retailers."
At the ERRE meeting on Wednesday, Mr Canseco said the respondents are not advised ahead of time what survey they will be taking but that after it starts the different voting systems are explained to them.
Mr Canseco is tweeting his survey online. I have tweeted my questions as to what I interpret as anomalies in his survey back at him but he has yet to respond. If any poll nerds out there can explain them to me, I'll enter your name in the Creekside sweepstakes draw.
The Electoral Reform Committee is running its own e-consultation with Canadians until this Friday at midnight EST. They put a background paper online if you want to brush up first. The survey takes 15 to 30 minutes and can be completed over several sessions if you prefer.