Friday, October 05, 2007

SES: MMP won't pass

While it will be disappointing to MMP supporters, I don’t think it will be particularly surprising to anyone. Except maybe the many people that have no idea what MMP is or that there is a referendum. But according to pollsters SES, the Ontario MMP referendum isn’t going to pass:

The most recent SES/Sun Media poll indicates that the support to change Ontario's electoral system to MMP is unlikely to pass the 60% threshold needed for change.

Asked about their intentions related to the upcoming referendum, Ontarians generally preferred to keep the current system (47%), followed by voting for MMP (26%) and finally not casting a vote in the referendum (5%). Twenty-one percent were unsure.
So, even if all 21 per cent of the undecided broke in favour of MMP, and that’s highly unlikely, they’d still tie the no to MMP vote and fall under the 50 per cent level, which, while not enough for ratification, would still be a major psychological and moral victory in favour of electoral reform.

We can analyze to death the poor showing for MMP, and I have no doubt we will. I have my theories, I’ll save that for others to debate though.

What I want to say though is that these results should not be taken as a vote against electoral reform, it should only be taken as a vote against the MMP system. I think most Ontarians favour electoral reform, and would vote for the right system if given the opportunity.

So, hopefully this isn’t the end for electoral reform, but only the beginning.

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Jim said...

I don't see the aftermath of this referendum as rosy as you do if it goes down to defeat.

It will likely close the door on electoral reform for a long time, because there's no way either Premier John Tory or the other guy (if he wins) is going to bring it up again.

If we could get Tory or What's His Name to commit to further electoral reform even if the referendum fails, then I'd change my pessimistic outlook.

That said, it's not the end of the world if it doesn't pass. I still have to show up for work on Thursday. :)

A BCer in Toronto said...

Jim, whether electoral reform will be dead or not if MMP fails in debatable, but my point was that the politicians should not interpret a rejection of MMP as a rejection of electoral reform. People do want electoral reform, I think they're just not keen on MMP.

This may be the end of electoral reform. But it sure shouldn't be.

Scott Tribe said...

It will depend on the voting results.

If it's as massive a rejection as SES says - then regardless of the reasons for voting no ; people not understanding the new system due to lack of awareness for example, all electoral reform will instantly be swept under the carpet by the mainstream politicians - and that will suit most of the NO side just fine, I'm afraid.

There have been no major reforms or even tinkering to the current FPTP system in living memory.. so for people to say that all we should be doing is "tinkering" or fixing what we have now.. let's just say I'm skeptical of any of that occurring either.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

I still hold out slim hope that a lot of people who don't normally vote (people, for example, who live in safe ridings and don't vote for the winner and feel that voting is therefore a waste of their time) will come out on Referendum Day to change the system. I also hope young people will vote in large numbers, as the young pretty overwhelmingly support MMP over FPTP and may see this as a chance to change the system that has them disinclined to vote (due to 37% "majorities", the views of large numbers of Ontarians going unrepresented, 75,000 swing voters having way more power than the rest of us, etc...).

So, I think it's at least conceivable that this poll doesn't reflect what will happen, because many of the people likely to vote for MMP are exactly the kind of people likely to hang up on pollsters.

I won't hold my breath though.

Jason Hickman said...

I agree with Scott; if the result is actually at or above 50% but less than 60%, you'll probably see another kick at the can regardless of who wins (or by how much).

That seems to be the case in BC, where the "yes" vote was above 50%, and came justthisclose to meeting the super-majority level. Last I heard, there's going to be another referendum during the next BC election as a result.

On the other hand, if the "yes" vote barely hits 40% in ON, it'll be the last we hear of it for some time - *unless* there's a minority, and the NDP use it as a bargaining chip.

Gauntlet said...

I think that it's incorrect to say that this referendum, if it fails, is a vote against electoral reform. It would also be incorrect, however, to say that it was a vote against MMP. Particularly when you consider that in the Citizens' Assembly, 75% of the people there preferred MMP to the STV system, and over 90% preferred MMP to the status quo.

It's a vote against being asked to make a decision without being given the opportunity to learn what the decision will mean. Only the government has the resources to be able to make sure that people are adequately informed of the issue. The desire to remain impartial cannot be used as an excuse for failing to allow people to make their own decisions.

Steve V said...

"all electoral reform will instantly be swept under the carpet by the mainstream politicians - and that will suit most of the NO side just fine, I'm afraid."

I think Scott is right here, and that opinion was seconded by a political scientist from British Columbia today. This vote is the third crack at reform in Canada, if it fails in Ontario, then the appetite to re-visit is probably past.

Dr.Dawg said...

It's a vote against being asked to make a decision without being given the opportunity to learn what the decision will mean.

Gauntlet is partly right. But it's not solely up to government. Public education alone won't do the trick. Citizens won't vote for serious change if they haven't been involved in it. And, to be honest, neither side in this debate drilled down to where the people actually were.

We need new kinds of organizing--not the same old, same old: letters to the editor, commentary in media and the blogs, etc. It's all ping-pong over the heads of the citizenry. There's an article in the upcoming CCPA Monitor by my alter ego that goes into some detail on this.

BC was an exception. The land of Amor de Cosmos is always ripe for political experimentation, always has been, and it's no surprise that STV damn near won there. But it's not the same anywhere else in Canada.