Is Rawnsley right – “Thickos” could save Britain from AV?

Is Rawnsley right – “Thickos” could save Britain from AV?

AV poll (YouGov) Total % Male % Female % 18-24 % 25-39 % 40-59 % 60+ % ABC1 % C2DE %
Support AV 34 40 30 39 34 34 33 37 31
Oppose AV 30 34 26 19 19 33 40 30 29
Not sure 36 26 45 42 47 33 27 33 40

Will it be the C2s, Ds and Es who are decisive?

The above data is from the NO2AV YouGov poll that was published over the weekend and which should be available on the YouGov website later today.

I reproduce it here because in his Observer column at the weekend Andrew Rawnsley suggested that the social class profile seen from the polling was having a major impact on the NO2AV strategy.

He wrote: “..The no campaign will probably not put it so indelicately themselves, but they are calculating that their best hope of preserving first past the post is to mobilise what you could crudely call the Thicko Vote. This explains a very revealing switch in their tactics.

A few weeks ago, you may recall, the antis were loudly complaining that it was wrong to hold the referendum on the same day as the elections for local councils and the devolved governments in Wales and Scotland. It was monstrous, they cried. It was damn near unconstitutional, they yelled. The no men in Parliament attempted to amend the legislation to separate the referendum from the May elections.

Have you heard them making that argument recently? No, you haven’t. Not a peep from them. Here’s why. They’ve now had a look at what type of person is more likely to agree with each proposition. The polling suggests that AB voters, the more affluent and generally better-educated segment of the population, are more inclined to support reform. DE voters, by contrast, are more likely to be persuaded that we should stick with the status quo. If the turn-out is low, the DEs will be the ones staying at home. So the no campaign now believe it suits their cause that the referendum will be on the same day as the May elections because that ought to boost turn-out…

Does the campaign to keep first past the post think that most Britons are stupid? Yes. Not only that, they are relying on the stupid vote to win.

The figures vary from poll to poll and from pollster to pollster but there does seem to be something in what Ranwsley is saying. It’s AB males who most want change and its Cs and Ds who don’t.

I think that this explains the campaigning route that NO2AV is currently adopting.

Mike Smithson

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