Exit Poll Data

Exit polls have been done in several cities where voters used instant runoff voting (IRV) for the first time. Examples include:

  • San Francisco, California First used in November 2004 in elections for city council
  • Burlington, Vermont: First used in March 2006 in elections for mayor
  • Takoma Park, Maryland: First used in January 2007 in electing a city council vacancy
  • Cary, North Carolina: Used in October 2007 in a pilot program for elections for city council and mayor
  • Hendersonville, North Carolina: First used in November 2007 in a pilot program in elections for city council, with another exit poll after it was used again in 2009.
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: First used in November 2009 in elections for mayor, city council and other offices.
  • Portland, Maine: First used in November 2011 in an election for mayor

The following chart provides a summary of exit surveys showing that voters both understand and like instant runoff voting by overwhelming numbers.

Jurisdiction Understand IRV well or fairly well Prefer IRV to city’s prior system2
Knew how to rank candidates before coming to vote
San Francisco1
87% 82%
89%3 78% 90%
Takoma Park
95% 72%
71% 65%

  1. Subsequent surveys in San Francisco after IRV elections in 2005 showed continued high levels of support
  2. Some voters had no opinion. Percentages of those expressing support for IRV over old system were: San Francisco (61%), Burlington (63%), Takoma Park (89%), Cary (68%) and Hendersonville (67%).
  3. Measures voters who did not find the ballot confusing
  4. 76% said would like IRV for all local and state elections; an additional 13% support it for local elections

Exit poll survey sources (including exit polls in 2009):

San Francisco, CA
2004 Exit Poll
2005 Exit Poll

Burlington, VT
2006 Exit Poll

Takoma Park, MD
2007 Exit Poll

Cary and Hendersonville, NC
2007 Cary, NC Exit Poll Press Release
2007 Hendersonville, NC Exit Poll Press Release
2009 Hendersonville, NC Exit Poll

Minneapolis, MN
2009 Exit Poll

Portland, ME
2011 Exit Survey