Voting referendum neck-and-neck as Yes campaign gains support

The battle between the Yes and No camps before next month's referendum on the voting system is still wide open, according to a poll for
The Independent. The findings will come as a relief to supporters of a switch to the alternative vote (AV) after recent surveys gave the No camp a lead of more than 10 points.

Click HERE to upload graphic (42k jpg)

The poll, by research agency TNS, found that 34 per cent of people oppose AV and 32 per cent support it, with 21 per cent replying "don't know" and 13 per cent saying they would probably not vote in the 5 May referendum.

According to TNS, one in four people who voted Liberal Democrat at last year's general election oppose AV (26 per cent), while 74 per cent support it. In a mirror image, one in four people who backed the Conservatives last year favour AV (23 per cent), with 77 per cent opposing it. Labour voters are against a switch to AV by a margin of 53 to 47 per cent. The rival camps believe that this group could hold the key to the result. The pro-AV organisation will mount a major push to win over Labour supporters.

According to TNS, the turnout could be higher than expected. Two in three people (64 per cent) say they intend to vote, while only 17 per cent say they will not. The older people are, the more likely they are to turn out. Some 85 per cent of those 65 and over say they will vote, compared to only 44 per cent among 18 to 24 year-olds.

The age breakdown will give comfort to the No camp because older people are more hostile to changing the system. Some 59 per cent of those 65 and over say they will vote No and only 27 per cent Yes. Among the latter, the Yes camp has a more narrow lead of 34 to 24 per cent.

There is widespread agreement that politicians have not explained the issues at stake in the referendum. Only 22 per cent think they have done a good job, while 60 per cent disagree.

Despite that, more than half of the public (53 per cent) insist they do understand how AV would work while 35 per cent admit they do not. Labour supporters seem to know less about AV than those of other parties. Some 37 per cent of people who voted Labour last year admit they do not understand the proposed system, compared to 25 per cent of Liberal Democrat voters and 24 per cent of Tory supporters.

People are evenly divided on whether AV would be fairer than the current first-past-the-post system: 34 per cent believe it would be, while 35 per cent do not. Although academics say the introduction of AV would reduce the number of safe seats, the poll found that only 25 per cent of people say it would make them more likely to take part in general elections, while 46 per cent disagree.

However, AV seems to appeal to non-voters: 64 per cent of people who did not vote at last year's election are in favour.

TNS interviewed a representative sample of 1,318 adults aged 18+ online between 14 and 18 April.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...