• LGBT community supports AV
  • Massive drop in Liberal Democrat support
  • Scottish voters back SNP

A PinkNews.co.uk poll suggests that the UK’s  LGBT community will back the alternative vote system in Thursday’s referendum.

A total of 2,295 people took part in the self-selecting survey. Of these, 872 people are on a PinkNews.co.uk panel. They are geographically representative of the UK and their voting intentions have been tracked by this website over the last 14 months.

On Thursday, UK voters will decide whether the country’s voting system should be reformed. Some campaigners want to replace the First Past the Post system for electing MPs with the Alternative Vote (AV) system.

Supporters say AV will mean that MPs are elected with the support of more than 50 per cent of the electorate. However, critics say the system is too complicated, may lead to second-choice candidates coming first and will boost extremist parties.

Of the panel of 872 voters, 72 per cent say they will vote yes to AV on Thursday. Twenty per cent said they would vote no and the remainder did not know.

Slightly lower support for AV was found among the respondents who were not part of the panel. Sixty-six per cent said they would back voting reform, while 30 per cent said they would not. Just under four per cent said they did not know.

When given the option of a number of systems, 63.6 per cent of the panel said they would prefer the Single Transferable Vote system. Just under 20 per cent said they wanted the AV+ (Alternative Vote Plus) system, which would ask voters to select a party as well as a candidate.

Seven per cent said they wanted the AV system and nine per cent said they wanted to retain the First Past the Post system.

In the larger sample of those who had not been tracked, more people showed support for the First Past the Post system (23.7 per cent). However, as with the panel results, the majority (54.6 per cent) supported the Single Transferable Vote System.

Respondents were also asked which party they would support if a general election was held tomorrow.

The results showed a massive drop in support for the Liberal Democrats. Last May, a PinkNews.co.uk poll carried out just before the general election found that 57 per cent of our panel would vote for the party. This has now dropped to just 11.8 per cent, behind the Green party.

However, the Conservative party appears to have made gains among the gay community. In the same May 2010 poll, just six per cent of our panel said they would vote Conservative. Today’s poll puts them on 27.4 per cent.

Labour has almost doubled its support among our panel and the self-selecting survey. Forty-per cent of both samples said they would vote for the party.

The Scottish parliament election will also be held on Thursday, along with elections for the Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies. English voters outside London will take part in council elections.

Our poll showed that Scottish voters will give their support to the SNP, which has pledged to hold a consultation on the future of marriage for gay couples.

Forty-two per cent of Scottish voters on our panel said they would give the party their vote, compared to 22.3 per cent for Labour and 16.9 per cent for the Liberal Democrats.

In Wales, 39.2 per cent of the panel said they would vote Labour. Plaid Cymru was the choice of 24.1 per cent of respondents, while 19.5 per cent said they would vote Conservative.

For Northern Ireland, 36.7 per cent said they would vote Alliance. The SDLP got 24.3 per cent of the vote and 19.8 per cent said they would vote Sinn Fein.

In the English council elections, Labour led on on 36.7 per cent. The Conservatives followed on 24.5 per cent.

The Green party pushed the Liberal Demcrats into fourth place, with 17.7 per cent of the vote, compared to 10.8 per cent for the latter.

All respondents described themselves as LGBT, queer or questioning. The survey was carried out online between April 30th and May 2nd.