Poll Shows San Francisco Voters Like Ranked Choice Voting and Find It Easy to Use

CAVEC Exit Poll Survey Shows Positive Views That Cross All Racial and Ethnic Lines

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Rob Richie, Executive Director 301-270-4616
Steven Hill, Senior Analyst, 415-665-5044

San Francisco voters had a very positive introduction to their new ranked-choice voting (RCV) system, according to an exit poll survey of 2,108 San Francisco voters released by the Chinese American Voter Education Committee (CAVEC). Those respondents expressing an opinion about the system overwhelmingly expressed support for it, while similarly larger majorities found that the system was easy to use.

69% of those surveyed in CAVEC's survey expressed an opinion about RCV. Of these voters, fully 71% indicated they liked RCV, with most indicating they liked RCV "a lot." This support crossed all racial and ethnic lines:

  • 83% of Latinos who expressed an opinion liked RCV

  • 70% of whites who expressed an opinion liked RCV

  • 72% of Asians who expressed an opinion liked RCV

  • 62% of blacks who expressed an opinion liked RCV

The complete numbers were:

  • Latinos: 48% liked RCV, 10% disliked it, 42% gave no opinion

  • Whites: 52% liked RCV, 22% disliked it, 26% gave no opinion

  • Asians: 46% liked RCV, 18% disliked it, 36% gave no opinion

  • Blacks: 37% liked RCV, 22% disliked it, 40% gave no opinion

Despite the first RCV election taking place in a year with high voter turnout when most media attention was focused on the federal elections, only 18% of voters found the new system difficult to use. In every racial and ethnic group a majority of voters indicated the system was easy for them.

  • Overall, 67% of voters found it easy to use, compared to only 18% who found it difficult.  (The rest did not express an opinion.)

  • 74% of Latinos found it easy to use, compared to only 14% who found it difficult. 

  • 71% of whites found it was easy to use, compared to 13% who found it difficult.

  • 57% of blacks found it easy to use, compared to 35% who found it difficult.

  • 59% of Asian Americans found it easy to use, compared to 27% who found it difficult.

Actual voting results based on ballot record images released by the Department of Elections and analyzed by the Center for Voting and Democracy indicate that most voters in the supervisor races made good use of their rankings. In the hotly contested District 1 race, for example, voters on average cast 2.52 rankings each. The number of rankings cast by voters was similar for supporters of different candidates, ranging from a low of 2.41 for the winner, McGoldrick, to a high of 2.69 for opponent Tuchow. Supporters of leading Asian candidate Lillian Sing ranked an average of 2.56 candidates.

Researchers at the Public Research Institute at San Francisco State University analyzed results from their exit poll about attitudes toward ranked choice voting. This study confirmed most of the positive results displayed in the CAVEC exit poll. View the results of the San Francisco State exit poll at Ranked-Choice Voting in the San Francisco 2004 Election.

Back to www.sfrcv.com

Steven Hill
Center for Voting and Democracy
415-665-5044, shill@fairvote.org