Half of Canadian Voters Are Open to Proportional Representation

Two-in-five would welcome implementing the mixed member system for the next election to the House of Commons.

Vancouver, BC [November 1, 2019] – A significant proportion of Canadian voters would be open to conducting the next federal ballot under a different electoral system, a new Research Co. “exit poll” has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample of Canadians who cast a ballot in this year’s federal election, 51% of respondents would agree to elect all members of the House of Commons through party-list proportional representation.

Under this system, parties make lists of candidates to be elected, and seats get allocated to each party in accordance with the number of total votes the party receives.

Majorities of voters in Quebec and Alberta (58% in each province) would be open to electing their Members of Parliament this way. Party-list proportional representation would also be endorsed by 59% of voters aged 18-to-34.

Views on the mixed member proportional representation system are more nuanced, with 39% of Canadian voters agreeing with its implementation for elections to the House of Commons. Just under three-in-ten (28%) disagree and a 33% are undecided.

Under this system, a hybrid method is utilized with the first-past-the-post system for a portion of the legislature, and party-list proportional representation for a another.

Respondents were also asked how they would have voted if the most recent Canadian election had been held under each one of these systems.

In an election held with party-list proportional representation, the Conservative Party would have finished in first place with the support of 33% of decided voters, followed by the Liberal Party with 32%, the New Democratic Party (NDP) with 18%, the Green Party and the Bloc Québécois each with 6%, and the People’s Party with 4%.

“While the level of support does not change dramatically for the five parties that will be represented in the incoming House of Commons under the party-list proportional representation system, there are some differences,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Support for the Liberals is slightly higher in British Columbia than it was on Election Day, and in Ontario, the Conservatives would fare significantly better.”

When asked who would get their party vote under a mixed member proportional representation system, a third of decided voters (34%) would support the Liberal list, followed by the Conservatives with 31%, the New Democrats with 17%, the Greens with 7%, the Bloc with 6% and the People’s Party with 3%.

In a mixed member election, Liberals and Conservatives would retain practically nine-in-ten of their voters under the first-past-the-post system for the other portion of the legislature.

Methodology:

Results are based on an online study conducted from October 20 to October 21, 2019, among 803 adults in Canada who voted in the federal election. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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.
[c] 778.929.0490
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca