Dead Heat in British Columbia’s Electoral Reform Referendum

Millennials are more likely to support changing the system, while Baby Boomers are keener on leaving things as they are.

Vancouver, BC [November 21, 2018] – There is no clear favourite as voters in British Columbia ponder their options in the referendum on electoral reform, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of British Columbians, 40% say they will “definitely” or “probably” vote for the current First Past the Post system, while 40% say they will “definitely” or “probably” vote for a proportional representation system.

Across the province, 15% of voters are undecided, including 20% of women, 19% of those aged 18-to-34 and 18% of those aged 35-to-54.

“A majority of voters aged 55 and over (57%) hold extremely favourable views of the current system,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “In stark contrast, more than half of those aged 18-to-34 (53%) prefer proportional representation.”

Most British Columbians who plan to vote to keep the current First Past the Post system cite confusion with the options that are on the ballot (57%) as the main reason for their decision. Three-in-ten of these voters (31%) also consider that the existing system is fair because candidates need to win the election in their riding.

Conversely, almost half of proportional representation supporters (48%) think this system is fairer because the share of the votes a party receives is reflected in the number of seats it has in the legislature. Two-in-five of these voters (40%) also think the current system does not work for everybody and needs to be changed.


Results are based on an online study conducted from November 14 to November 16, 2018, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our full data set here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:
Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.