UK Constitutional Law Association

affiliated to the International Association of Constitutional Law

Estimating the Impact of the Alternative Vote

As the public debate over Britain’s electoral system reaches fever-pitch, YouGov has published a projection estimating the composition of Parliament if an election were held today under the alternative vote system.  If the projection is correct, the big winners would be the Liberal Democrats who would secure 19 more seats under AV than under the first past the post system.

The BBC has a section on its website which estimates the outcome of past elections had AV been in place rather than first past the post.  Once again, the Liberal Democrats are consistent winners, but changing the voting system would not have changed the outcome of these contests, with the Conservative and Labour parties still securing outright majorities in Parliament.

Both of these projections should be treated with some caution.  The actual impact of AV will depend on local constituency circumstances, and the second preferences of supporters of minority parties such as UKIP or the Greens.


4 comments on “Estimating the Impact of the Alternative Vote

  1. Barnaby Dawson
    April 10, 2011

    I’ve created this app on facebook that lets you try out the Alternative Vote for yourself:

    Do try it out

    Take care,

  2. Colin
    April 10, 2011

    FPTP is a fair system – one person, one vote, whoever has the most votes win. Candidates try to get the most votes they can.

    With AV, getting more votes can actually hurt you. I don’t see the point in that. The candidate in the video LOOSES with AV because he got MORE VOTES?

    • Academiclawyer
      April 11, 2011

      FPTP is fair if your idea of fair is incredibly simplistic and I doubt whether it is suitable for a complex modern state. Why not have a government made up essentially of the best consensus, which is what AV offers? It will certainly help to bring back (albeit to a small degree) that connection between Parliament and voters, and maybe attend to the apathy which most people show towards politics

  3. jonesxxx
    April 16, 2011

    I don’t think the public debate has reaches fever-pitch.

    It seems to me that TV and radio are avoiding the subject.

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This entry was posted on April 10, 2011 by in Constitutional reform, UK Parliament and tagged .
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