The rejection of AV is the fifth occasion in the last 100 years that a proposal to replace FPTP has failed. This history of failure to secure electoral reform hinges on the ever-changing political calculus between Labour and the Liberal Democrats

Throughout the AV referendum campaign, there was general agreement that it was a ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity for electoral reform in Britain. But, does greater impetus for electoral reform happen only once in a generation? Stuart Wilks-Heeg, of Democratic Audit, investigates the history of proposals to replace our current First Past the Post system, and finds that the shifting balance of power between parties on the left created possibilities for […]

Despite the dysfunctionality of First Past the Post, there is no clear evidence of a public desire for Proportional Representation

The apparent disproportionality of our current First Past the Post system is at the heart of the current debate on electoral reform, with many seeing Proportional Representation as being the best solution. But how has public opinion responded over the years? Stuart Wilks-Heeg and Stephen Crone of Democratic Audit have examined opinion polls since the 1970s and have found that […]

Why you should vote NO to the Alternative Vote on 5 May

As the referendum campaign draws to a close, Matthew Elliot, Campaign Director of NO to AV, makes the case for voting No on Thursday, stating that it is not fairer or more proportional than the present system, won’t necessarily make MPs work harder, and won’t make a move to PR more likely in the future. After a nearly year of […]

The flexibility of AV in expressing multiple preferences is suited to the modern British voter

Historically, UK voters tended to have strong party affiliations, but this has changed in recent decades with a rise of voting patterns towards smaller parties and a decline in strong party identifiers. The ippr’s Guy Lodge makes the case for reassessing AV with the voter in mind, and finds that as a preferential system, it gives voters much more flexibility […]

A vote for AV may lead to fewer safe seats but whether this would make MPs work harder is still up for debate

The AV referendum is now only a week away. In previous posts, Alan Renwick from the University of Reading has debunked some of the myths advanced by the ‘No’ campaign: that AV violates the principle of ‘one person, one vote’ and that it would lead to permanent coalitions. Here, Dr Renwick casts doubt on four of the contentions from the […]

The Alternative Vote will elect candidates with the broadest support of voters

In the first of two posts examining the Alternative vote, Alan Renwick from the University of Reading looks at how the AV electoral system may affect election results at both the local and the national level. In this first post, he gives a simple guide to how second preferences are re-allocated, examines whether AV will only allow majority winners […]

Some Australian state elections using the Alternative Vote show that voters are casting fewer second preferences, or even none at all. Would the same happen in the UK?

Australian state elections using the Alternative Vote hold the key lessons for how AV might operate in the UK. Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher have argued that they show many or most voters not using the opportunity to cast a second preference at all, but just ‘plumping’ for their top candidate alone. The leading Australian expert Antony Green explores whether […]

The coalition gets into a mess over NHS reforms, Nick Clegg is accused of hypocrisy on social mobility and trouble looms in the Eurozone: political blog round up for 2 – 8 April 2011

Amy Mollett and Paul Rainford take a look at the week in political blogging NHS reforms The Coffee House suggests that Nick Clegg is seeking to secure a key strategic victory by forcing Andrew Lansley to rethink his NHS reforms, and Political Betting wonders whether such a victory would help to ‘save’ the Liberal Democrats. Liberal Conspiracy questions claims that […]