No STV has retained Ipsos-Reid Corp. to do argument testing, asking British Columbian polling questions that electoral reform supporters says are "based on simply untruths." But a spokesperson for No STV has rejected that charge, noting the reformers simply "don't like a lot of the things that we say about STV based on what we believe are the facts."
In an email, Fair Voting BC campaign manager Susan Anderson-Behn alerted senior supporters to the poll - which reportedly asked respondents if they would be more or less likely to vote for STV if they knew:
* "only two small countries in the world used it"
* "you would be less likely to have women representatives"
* "MLAs would have less accountability
* "small towns would have less representative(s)"
* "the politicians would have less power overall"
* "there would actually be less proportional representative"
"These questions were all asked negatively, so that there was no way to respond to any of the questions positively..Most of them were based on simple untruths about STV....which need to be responded to," wrote Ms. Anderson-Behn.
In an interview with Public Eye, No STV spokesperson Bill Tieleman said those questions "sound generally in the neighborhood of what we'd be asking. I don't have the exact script with me. But it sounds generally like things we'd be asking and things we've been saying both in this referendum and the last one."
As for the charge those questions are based on untruths, Mr. Tieleman said, "We're having debates across the province and in the media with the yes side and they don't like a lot of the things that we say about STV based on what we believe are the facts in the few countries - like Ireland and Malta - that have used it as their national electoral system. So if they don't like those questions, too bad."
The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned email.
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 22:26:29 -0700
From: Susan Anderson Behn
Reply-To: Susan Anderson Behn
Subject: Phone survey underway in BC from the NO-STV side
At least one of our supporters has received a call asking her to participate in an Ipsos Reid telephone survey.
A few questions in, a set of questions about STV as a form of voting were raised.
Most, if not all of these were phrased negatively, and a number of them posed the question so so that they said things like this: "How likely would you be to vote for STV if you knew STV would create weaker governments?"
These questions were all asked negatively, so that there was no way to respond to any of the questions positively..
Most of them were based on simple untruths about STV....which need to be responded to.
The supporter wrote down some of the questions, but in the end declined to continue and asked that the survey partially completed be pulled from the sample.
It would be extremely interesting to see if anyone else has had one of these calls.
Also this is a warning that if these calls were made into your community, there are now likely people out there who have had their first real glimpse of STV through this process..
Please let myself or Tim Jones know if you are aware of any of these calls...and if anyone gets one of these calls, it might be important to write down specifically what questions are asked.
British Columbians for BC-STV
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Ipsos Reid survey on STV
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 19:00:57 -0700
I received a call at home from Ipsos Reid asking if we would take a survey. I said yes, and after the usual questions on age & what I knew about the voting system they asked about 5 questions which didn't seem very objective, things like (and I'm doing this from memory, I might have got some wrong)
Would you be more/less likely to vote for the STV if you knew...
- only two small countries in the world used it
- you would be less likely to have women representatives
- MLAs would have less accountability
- small towns would have less representative
- the politicians would have less power overall
- there would actually be less proportional representation
At that point I asked who was initiating the survey, he said he couldn't give that out, I said I wanted to cancel the survey and he hung up on me before I could even finish the sentence. Very strange! Anyways it just seemed very wrong and I wanted to know if you had any info about it. The phone # he called from was 204-975-3301
Thanks for your time,