Sunday, 28 April 2013

Not as clear cut as it appears.

Readers will be aware I had grave reservations about the mechanics of the recent referendum and the 3 options presented. To my mind there were serious problems with all three choices.  Had we the option I should have been very much in the none of the above camp.

Since it was not a binding referendum, the final decision will be taken by the States (notwithstanding their historical inability to deal with reform).   As such the outcome is indicative, it serves to inform the States in their decision making, not direct them.  The question therefore arises as to what the results  tell us and how do we interpret them.

Simplistically, B got the most votes so that is that.  However there are two problems with that.  First is that there was differential turnout in different constituencies, the second being that the total votes achieved by B was less than half of those who voted. ( 6804 first prefs plus 1386 transfers from C out of 16624 total ballots gives 49.27%). The reason is less than half the C first preferences expressed a second preference.  Whether these were voting for retaining senators, or against superconstituences, or something else cannot be determined.

The only way I can see to deal with the differential turnout is to scale the results by each parish to bring the totals up to 100% for each.  I have attached screen shots of the spreadsheet I used to do this.

The outcome on first preferences is A 27,065; B 24,889; C 11,704. 
After transferring the C votes the totals are A 27,585; B 29,773.
 In percentages terms 48.1% to 51.9%

I am not enough of a statistician to judge if that difference is significant, but it suggests the real mood of the people is closer than the raw results suggest.

Of course none of this would have been so much of a problem had the referendum been a traditional yes/no question. It also does not answer the question of what would have happened if we had other options too such as retaining the constables  in the States but without a vote.

(click image to enlarge).


  1. Is this not just another desperate attempt to play down Option B winning?

  2. Is this first comment above not just another desperate attempt to disguise the extreme closeness of the vote, not to mention that the alternatives that the so-called electoral reform panel came up with were appallingly poor?

  3. Let go nick, let go and support option B

    1. Trouble is, Option B is impossible to support as it enshrines the nowadays quaint idea that some people are worth twice as much as other people, and they are worth twice as much because they live in certain parishes.

      There are such things as "democratic norms" and "human rights". Jersey's option B, put forward by an ex-judge, who should know better, is contrary to both.

  4. The first two anonymous comments are away with the fairies. The third one has a head that's screwed on.