British Columbians in ‘dead heat’ on electoral reform: poll

50.5% support First Past the Post, survey says, while 49.5% want proportional representation

With mail-in ballots due in just two weeks, British Columbians are in a “dead heat” on electoral reform.

That’s according to a new poll released Thursday by Mainstreet Research, which found that 50.5 per cent of those surveyed support the existing First Past the Post system, while 49.5 per cent would vote for a type of proportional representation.

Surveyors spoke with 616 people across the province between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, and found support for proportional representation was stronger among younger voters.

“The referendum could go either way, especially as less than 1% of eligible voters have cast their votes so far,” said Mainstreet president and CEO Quito Maggi. “One thing to note is that there is a significant age gap in support for electoral reform.”

Support for First Past the Post was higher among men and those living in the Interior.

READ MORE: Premier to square off with Liberal leader in electoral reform debate

If the province did choose proportional representation, the majority – 44.8 per cent – of those surveyed wanted a mixed-member proportional system.

That system combines single-member districts with party list candidates, added to give each party the number of seats determined by their share of the province-wide vote in an election.

The other two systems are the dual-member and rural-urban member proportional systems.

A televised debate between Premier John Horgan and Opposition Leader Andrew Wilkinson on the issue was scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Mail-in ballots must be returned to Elections BC by Nov. 30 at 4:30 p.m.

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