Britain Says NO: Voting in the AV Ballot Referendum
The purpose of this paper is to explain why voters made the choices that they did in Britain's Alternative Vote (AV) referendum on 5 May 2011. The paper utilises four alternative theoretical models to analyse individual voting behaviour. They are described as the cost–benefit, cognitive engagement, heuristics and mobilisation models. The explanatory power of these models is investigated using a large survey data set gathered in the AV referendum study conducted in conjunction with the British Election Study. Multivariate analyses show that all four models contribute to explaining why some people voted in favour of electoral reform, with the cost–benefit model exhibiting particularly strong effects. The conclusion discusses public reactions to the referendum and possible implications of the decisive rejection of electoral reform after a campaign characterised by disaffection and disengagement.