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  1. Nick Powell

Welsh Barometer poll points to six party Senedd

The latest Welsh Barometer poll suggests that if the next Assembly election was held this week, Labour would get 29 of the 60 seats. That's one fewer than at present and two short of an overall majority. A total of six parties would be represented in the Senedd.

In terms of how people would vote, there's been a drift towards the biggest parties since the last poll in January. Labour and the Conservatives were the beneficiaries in the Westminster poll, published last night. In the Assembly, it's those two parties plus Plaid Cymru.

Everyone gets two votes in an Assembly election, one for a constituency AM, the other for a party regional list. These are the constituency figures, with the change since January in brackets:

  • Labour 37% (+3%)
  • Conservative 22% (+1%)
  • Plaid Cymru 20% (+2%)
  • UKIP 11% (-2%)
  • Lib Dem 6% (-1%)
  • Green 4% (-2%)
  • Others 1% (no change)

The regional list figures show similar trends, though with a noticeable increase in support for Plaid Cymru and drop in support for UKIP.

  • Labour 33% (+1%)
  • Conservative 22% (+2%)
  • Plaid Cymru 21% (+6%)
  • UKIP 12% (-4%)
  • Lib Dem 5% (-3%)
  • Green 5% (-3%)
  • Others 2% (no change)

Prof Roger Scully has analysed how these figures would translate into seats in the Senedd, on an even swing across Wales. Four party politics would become six, though the Lib Dems and Greens would only just make it to Cardiff Bay.

  • Labour 29 seats
  • Conservatives 13 seats
  • Plaid Cymru 11 seats
  • UKIP 5 seats
  • Liberal Democrats 1 seat
  • Greens 1 seat

The list voting system would deliver representation to UKIP and the Greens for the first time but it would be the majority built up by Kirsty Williams in Brecon and Radnorshire that would save the Welsh Lib Dem leader's seat.

YouGov polled 1,279 Welsh voters for ITV Wales and Cardiff University between March 5 and 9.

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Some comfort for Labour and Conservatives in latest poll

The first results from the latest Wales Barometer Poll have just been published on Sharp End. They show how people plan to vote in the Westminster election and indicate that both Labour and Conservatives have managed a modest increase in support since the last poll in January.

  • Labour 39% (+2%)
  • Conservative 25% (+2%)
  • UKIP 14% (-2%)
  • Plaid Cymru 10% (no change)
  • Green 6% (-2%)
  • Lib Dems 5% (-1%)
  • Others 1% (no change)

Expert analysis by Prof Roger Scully of the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University suggests that Labour would win two additional seats -Cardiff North from the Conservatives and Cardiff Central from the Liberal Democrats- if there was an even swing across Wales. The Conservatives would take Brecon and Radnor from the Liberal Democrats. No other seats would change hands.

YouGov polled 1,279 Welsh voters for ITV Wales and Cardiff University between March 5 and 9. Voting intentions for the 2016 Assembly election will be published on Tuesday morning.

  1. Prof Roger Scully

What the latest Welsh poll means for each party

Credit: YouGov/ITV/Cardiff University Jan 19-21, Sample: 1,036

Party politics in the UK currently seems more uncertain and turbulent than for a longtime –maybe more than it has ever been. We’ve seen big recent movements in the support levels of several parties, including the rise in Wales of UKIP and now a notable increase for the Greens. Yet, at the moment, a direct projection of poll findings produces only very small changes in terms of who wins which seats.We could be on course for an election in which lots of things change, but the basic fundamentals of which parties represent us in parliament are hardly disturbed.

Overall, what does this poll tell us about the prospects for each party, as we enter the final hundred days of campaigning?

For Labour, this poll is at least modestly encouraging. A persistent feature of the opinion polls in Wales during 2014 was the decline of Labour support: they finished the year well below the point that they started it. Our new poll seems to suggest that Labour have stopped, and may even have begun to reverse, this erosion in their support. This poll doesn’t put Labour on course to gain as many seats as they would need to help secure a parliamentary majority for Ed Miliband. But it does place them slightly ahead of where they were in 2010, and indicates that Labour are currently on track to make at least some ground in May.

The Conservatives have surprised many observers with the robustness of their support levels since 2010, holding steady at a level only slightly below the vote share they won in the last general election. Here is yet another poll that supports this pattern. Although the poll projects the Tories to lose the ultra-marginal Cardiff North, on these figures they ought to retain all their other Welsh seats. And it puts them in with a very good chance of taking Brecon & Radnor from the Liberal Democrats.

For theTories’ coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats this is yet another in a long series of disappointing polls. They have at least managed a very small up-tick in their support levels. But this poll still indicates that they have lost more than two-thirds of the support that they gained in Wales in 2010, and with the rise of the Greens they are now in sixth place! There seems to be no substantial improvement in their position in sight. The best the party can do for now, it seems, is to try to hang on to the three seats they currently hold. But even that will now be very difficult.

For Plaid Cymru this poll will be at least a little disappointing, putting them as it does a little below their vote share in 2010. One piece of slightly better news for them comes from a question where YouGov asked respondents how certain they were to vote in the election: Plaid supporters were the most likely to indicate that they were absolutely certain to vote. This poll suggests that Plaid may well be able to hold their existing seats. But they are nowhere near threatening the sort of breakthrough that their sister-party is doing in Scotland.

For UKIP, this poll may also be mildly disappointing. Perhaps the big story in Welsh politics in 2014 was the UKIP breakthrough. Our latest poll indicates, as have many of the recent Britain-wide ones, that UKIP’s forward momentum may well have been checked, at least for the moment. Nonetheless, UKIP have not yet gone into a clear reverse.They are currently on course to get lots of votes in Wales in May. But the party still remain up against it to convert this significant public support into a win in any specific constituency.

Finally, what about the Greens? This poll shows them making significant ground in Wales, relegating the Liberal Democrats to sixth place (as they did in last May’s European elections). As with UKIP, however, it is currently very difficult to see the Greens converting such support into actually winning a seat anywhere. But the more proportional voting system used for devolved elections makes a Green presence in the National Assembly after 2016 look increasingly likely.

More detailed analysis of this new poll will be provided in several posts over the next couple of weeks on my blog, Elections in Wales (http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/).

The WelshPolitical Barometer is an unique polling collaboration between ITV Cymru Wales,the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University, and the leading polling agency YouGov.

Professor Roger Scully is Professor of Political Science in the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University. The poll for ITV and the Wales Governance Centre had as ample of 1,036 Welsh adults and was carried out by YouGov on 19-21 January 2015.

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Labour support up slightly, Greens now in fifth place

Credit: YouGov/ITV/Cardiff University Jan 19-21, Sample: 1,036

The latest Wales Barmometer Poll, for tonight's Sharp End, shows Labour up 1% on the last poll in December and no change for the Conservatives. UKIP are down 2% and Plaid Cymru have slipped 1%. The Lib Dems are 1% up but have been pushed into sixth place by the Greens, who are up 3%.

More on this poll on tonight's Sharp End. And more detailed findings on line later tonight and in the morning.

  1. Nick Powell

Poll shows concerns about Welsh NHS

Just over half the people questioned in an ITV Cymru Wales poll are confident that the Welsh NHS will give them a high standard of healthcare when they need it. The gap between those who are confident and those who are not is now just 10%

Credit: YouGov/ITV/Cardiff University Jan 19-21, Sample: 1,036

The poll result suggests that a year of bad headlines has shaken confidence in the service. A similar poll in October 2013 found 72% confidence in the Welsh NHS. Satisfaction with the treatment people have actually received remains high, at 72%, though that's down from 82% in the previous poll.

Credit: YouGov/ITV/Cardiff University Jan 19-21, Sample: 1,036

The Welsh Health Minister has welcomed the overall result as a sign of continuing support for the NHS and the way that it's run in Wales.

This poll shows once again how people across Wales value and respect the approach we have taken in respect of the NHS, which does a remarkable job in providing excellent standards of care, free at the point of need for all people in Wales. Research continually shows people across Wales have confidence in their NHS.

– Health Minister Mark Drakeford AM

The latest poll was also conducted in England, where there were higher levels of confidence in the NHS and satisfaction with the treatment that people had received.

Credit: YouGov/ITV/Cardiff University Jan 19-20, Sample: 1,344
Credit: YouGov/ITV/Cardiff University Jan 19-20, Sample: 1,344

Take heart from poll -and take fight to UKIP, First Minister tells Labour

First Minister Carwyn Jones has been talking about the latest Welsh Political Barometer poll, which shows Labour support for next year's Westminster election down to 36%. Two years ago, the party enjoyed 54% support in Wales.

UKIP is the only party showing a gain in support Credit: ITV Wales News

What I take heart from is the fact that despite being in government for 17 years, despite what we've seen happening unfortunately to our colleagues in Scotland, we remain by far the most popular choice for the people of Wales.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Carwyn Jones also said that Labour was ready to take the fight to UKIP, which appears to be on course to become a significant force in the Senedd, according to expert analysis of how people said they would vote in an Assembly election.

Labour still hold the majority with 28 seats Credit: ITV Wales News

We are very keen to combat them by emphasising that UKIP is -when they decide what they stand for- very much a party of the right.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM
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