It was interesting to hear Mr Farage on Any Questions arguing that Yes to AV is a step on the way to a fairer voting system. I doubt his support will tip the balance in favour of AV. Once again UKIP will bang the drum and exhort its troops, but may only demonstrate it cannot win a referendum any more than it can win seats at a General Election.
It is difficult to understand UKIP logic in preferring AV. I cannot see any seat in the country where AV would have given the job of MP to a UKIP candidate after AV recounts. Maybe UKIP hopes more people would give their first preference vote to UKIP, in the knowledge they could vote Conservative as second choice to avoid a federalist Labour or Lib Dem winning. If this strategy had any degree of success it would simply split the Eurosceptic vote more than it is already, making it more likely the federalists would get past the 50% threshold first as other candidates second and third preferences were counted. If UKIP was at all successful in lifting its first preference votes under AV then of course it is less likely those voters’ second preference would be decisive or even come into play, depending on how split the rest of the votes were. If the aim is to win more second and third preference votes, on recent election performance few of these would be valuable, as the UKIP candidate would be one of the first to be excluded for having too few first choice votes.
AV is not a proportional system, as Mr Farage acknowledges. Under AV the majority of the highest polling party might have been increased in past elections, not diminsihed. One thing for sure is AV would not give seats to parties that come well down the poll on first preferences.