The League of Women Voters of Maine (LWVME) commissioned SurveyUSA to conduct a survey in advance of the first-ever statewide ranked choice voting primary in the United States.
In the poll, 70% of respondents found the process of ranking candidates easy to use, including 38% who said it was "very easy" and 32% who found it "easy." An even greater number -- 79% of respondents -- felt confident that they will be able to use the system on Election Day (48% "very confident" plus 31% "confident").
"This confirms what we already expected -- it won't be hard for voters to use ranked choice voting," said Jill Ward, President of the LWVME. "The advantages of ranked choice voting include more issue-focused campaigns, greater civility, and increased voter choice. Voters can reap these benefits while still enjoying a quick and easy voting experience. We are confident our ongoing voter education efforts will increase these numbers further."
SurveyUSA interviewed 2,192 State of Maine adults and likely voters in the June primaries, starting on Thursday, April 26, and concluding on Tuesday, May 1. According to polling industry standards, the survey used a combination of automated telephone questions and and an on-line survey system. Additional Democrats were surveyed in Maine's 2nd Congressional District in order to analyze the U.S. House Democratic primary. There is no RCV primary in the Republican 2nd District race or in either of the 1st Congressional District races in Maine.
The League of Women Voters of Maine is conducting a public education project, "Maine Uses Ranked Choice Voting," for the purpose of educating voters and others involved in the June election. Jill Ward added, "We are pleased with Mainers' readiness for ranked choice voting, but there is still value in the public education work that we are doing and the efforts of the Secretary of State's office, town election officials, and others."
Deeper analysis of the candidate poll results shows that as voters learn to use RCV, they are comfortable expressing opinions far down the ballot in addition to their top choice. In the Democratic gubernatorial contest, 71% of respondents who had a first choice, also indicated a second choice, and 87% of respondents who had a second choice, also indicated a third choice. In the Republican gubernatorial contest, 80% of respondents who had a first choice also indicated a second choice, and 84% of respondents who had a second choice also indicated a third choice.
Learn more about RCV at Maine Uses RCV's new website: http://www.mainerankedchoice.vote. Please also visit http://www.LWVME.org and http://www.mainecleanelections.org for information about the organizations behind this project.