- by Prof Roger Scully
With the troubles of Brexit continue to figure highly on the political agenda, and the troubles of the First Minister still dominating much political discussion in Cardiff Bay, what impact has this had on the public standing of the parties?
First, let’s look at voting intentions for a Westminster General Election. These are the figures produced by YouGov (with changes on the last such Barometer poll, in late November, in brackets):
- Labour: 46% (-1)
- Conservatives: 33% (+2)
- Plaid Cymru: 11% (no change)
- Liberal Democrats: 4% (-1)
- UKIP: 4% (+1)
- Others: 3% (no change)
It is self-evident that these numbers show only small changes from our previous poll, and all of them are well within the polling ‘margin of error’. Nonetheless, the Conservatives will be pleased to have edged up a couple of points; Plaid Cymru will also be fairly satisfied that their three-point rise in our last poll is now confirmed.
Using the standard method, of computing uniform national swings since the last general election, the findings from this poll suggest that absolutely no seats would change hands. All parties are projected to retain all the seats that they won in June 2017. That would give an overall general election outcome as follows:
- Labour: 28 seats
- Conservatives: 8 seats
- Plaid: 4 seats
What about voting intentions for the National Assembly? YouGov found the following levels of support for the parties on the constituency ballot (with changes since our previous Barometer poll again indicated in brackets):
- Labour: 39% (-4)
- Conservatives: 28% (+2)
- Plaid Cymru: 22% (+3)
- UKIP: 5% (+1)
- LiberalDemocrats: 4% (-1)
- Others: 2% (-2)
As with all recent polls, we see Labour in a substantial lead. But their support has dipped significantly since November. However, our last Barometer poll saw Labour’s support fall significantly for Westminster yet remain unchanged for theAssembly constituency ballot: this suggests that the broad picture is one of Labour’s support levels edging downwards in recent months. The Conservatives and Plaid Cymru both see their support lift modestly, but encouragingly, while there remains absolutely no signs of a Liberal Democrat recovery.
Once again using the method of uniform national swing to project the changes since the 2016 Assembly election result suggested by this poll onto all seats in Wales, it indicates that only one constituency would change hands: that the Conservatives would narrowly edge out Labour in the Vale of Glamorgan
What about the regional ballot? YouGov got these results (with changes on our November poll again in brackets):
- Labour: 36% (-2)
- Conservatives: 27% (no change)
- Plaid Cymru: 21% (+3)
- UKIP: 6% (+2)
- LiberalDemocrats: 4% (-1)
- Others: 7% (no change)
Taking into account the constituency results already projected,and once more using the assumption of uniform national swings since 2016, these figures generate the following projected results for the regional list seats:
- North Wales: 3 Conservative, 1Plaid
- Mid & West Wales: 2 Labour, 1 Conservative, 1 Plaid
- South Wales West: 2 Conservative, 2 Plaid
- South Wales Central: 2 Conservative, 2 Plaid
- South Wales East: 2 Conservative, 1 Plaid, 1 UKIP
This, in turn, projects the following overall result for the National Assembly:
- Labour 28 seats (26 constituency, 2 regional)
- Conservative 17 seats (7 constituency, 10 regional)
- Plaid Cymru 13 seats (6 constituency, 7 regional)
- UKIP 1 seat (1 regional)
- Liberal Democrats 1seat (1 constituency)
Overall, this poll shows Labour continuing to be in a strong position in Wales. But it is not quite as strong as it was during the latter half of 2017. Both for Westminster and the National Assembly, their support has dipped by several points from the highs that were reached by the end of the general election campaign.
Yet Welsh Labour’s saving grace always seems to be the absence of a single strong challenger. This poll offers some encouragement forPlaid Cymru after a difficult few months internally for that party, and perhap seven more so for the Conservatives: whatever difficulties the UK government is having managing Brexit are certainly not yet impacting negatively on the party’s fortunes in Wales. UKIP’s support levels, though marginally up in this poll, are much lower than in the last Assembly election; while for the Liberal Democrats, the electoral horizon remains bleak.
- The poll, for ITV Cymru Wales and Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, had a sample of 1,015 Welsh adults and was carried out by YouGov from 12-15 March 2018.