The Pollcast: Do Canadians want a change in how they vote?

Abacus Data's CEO David Coletto joins host Eric Grenier to talk about Canadians' views on electoral reform, how the last election might have been different with a new voting system and what might change for 2019.

Host Éric Grenier is joined by Abacus Data's David Coletto

A change in how Canadians elect their MPs could have a profound impact on campaigns and electoral results. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

The CBC Pollcast, hosted by CBC poll analyst and ThreeHundredEight.com founder Éric Grenier, explores the world of political polls and the trends they show.

Joining Éric on today's podcast is David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data. He talks about his latest poll for the Broadbent Institute, breaking down what Canadians say they want in a new voting system.

Do they want a change in the first place? And if so, are Canadians leaning towards proportional representation or a preferential ballot?

"On the one hand, it is not 100 per cent of Canadians aching for change of our voting system," says Coletto, "but on the other hand, the size and the intensity of support for change among a smaller group of Canadians is real and significant." 

The poll suggests that 44 per cent of Canadians believe the Liberals should follow through on their campaign promise to overhaul the electoral system, compared to 24 per cent who think the system should stay as is.

But if the Liberals will have an obstacle to overcome in pushing that change, it may be indifference — 32 per cent of Canadians said they had no clear view on the issue and, given the choice, a clear majority said that the current first-past-the-post system was their first or second preference.

Among those who want change, however, the poll indicates there is strong support for a proportional system of one kind or another, rather than the preferential ballot that the Liberals favour and which, incidentally, is likely to benefit them most. The Abacus poll looked at this issue as well, finding that Canadians would have given the Liberals an even larger majority on Oct. 19 had a preferential ballot been used.

If the system does change, as the Liberals promise it will, how will that impact how future campaigns are run?

You can listen to the full discussion below, or subscribe to The CBC Pollcast and listen to past episodes here.

Abacus Data's CEO David Coletto joins host Eric Grenier to talk about Canadians' views on electoral reform.

You can also follow David Coletto on Twitter.

The poll by Abacus Data was conducted for the Broadbent Institute between Nov. 3 and 6, 2015, interviewing 2,986 Canadians via the Internet. As the poll was conducted online, a margin of error does not apply.


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