Welsh Political Barometer: New poll tracks Welsh voters

How Roger Scully estimates the poll result would translate into seats in the Assembly

This week sees the launch of the Welsh Political Barometer – a unique collaboration between ITV Cymru Wales, the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University, and the leading polling agency YouGov. We’ll be working together to provide regular political polling in Wales, offering the definite measurement of the state of the parties and of public attitudes during the run up the May 2015 general election and the 2016 National Assembly election.

For the first Barometer poll, we’ve asked several questions about current voting intentions. As well as the general and devolved elections, we’ve looked at the European Parliament elections due next May. In addition, we’ve also examined current voting intentions for the two possible referendums that Wales may be facing over the next few years.

First, Westminster: we found the following state-of-play for the general election (with changes in vote share from the 2010 general election in Wales in brackets).

  • Labour 46% (+10%)

  • Conservative 21% (-5%)

  • Plaid Cymru 12% (+1%)

  • UKIP 10% (+8%)

  • Liberal Democrats 8% (-12%)

  • Others 4% (no change)

If these swings were repeated across Wales, this would produce the following outcome in terms of seats:

  • Labour: 33 seats (+7)

  • Conservatives 3 seats (-5)

  • Plaid Cymru 2 seats (-1)

  • Liberal Democrats 2 seats (-1)

The seats to change hands would all be won by Labour: Arfon (from Plaid Cymru); Aberconwy, Preseli Pembs, Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire, Vale of Glamorgan, and Cardiff North (all from the Conservatives); and Cardiff Central (from the Liberal Democrats). Labour would also retain all of the 26 seats won in 2010. The Conservatives would retain only Clwyd West, Montgomery, and Monmouth; the Liberal Democrats would hold Ceredigion, and Brecon & Radnor; Plaid Cymru would hold Dwyfor Meirionydd, and Carmarthen East & Dinefwr (although on these swings the latter would be held by a margin of only 0.1%).

In short, our poll suggests that Labour is currently in a very strong position in Wales for the forthcoming general election.

What about the National Assembly election? For the constituency vote, the results of our new poll were (with changes from the 2011 devolved election):

  • Labour 43% (+1%)

  • Conservative 19% (-6%)

  • Plaid Cymru 20% (+1%)

  • Liberal Democrats 9% (-2%)

  • UKIP 7% (+7%)

  • Others 3% (no change)

If these swings were repeated across Wales, the only constituency seat to change hands from 2011 would be Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, being won by Labour from the Conservatives.

For the regional list vote, we saw the following results (with changes from 2011 again indicated):

  • Labour 40% (+3%)

  • Conservative 19% (-3.5%)

  • Plaid Cymru 15% (-3%)

  • UKIP 10% (+5%)

  • Liberal Democrats 9% (+1%)

  • Others 7% (-3%)

Taking into account both the constituency and list results, this produces the following projected seat outcome for a National Assembly election (with aggregate changes from 2011 indicated in brackets in the final column):

  • Labour: 30 (no change); 29 constituency AMs, 1 list AM

  • Conservative: 11 (-3); 5 constituency AMs, 6 list AMs

  • Plaid Cymru: 9 (-2); 5 constituency AMs, 4 list AMs

  • Liberal Democrats: 5 (no change); 1 constituency AM, 4 list AMs

  • UKIP 5 (+5); all 5 would be list AMs

These figures show that gaining the elusive absolute majority in the Assembly will be difficult for Labour. But the poll also shows Labour continuing to be well ahead of all the other parties in Wales, while the non-Labour forces are even more fractured with the rise of UKIP.

For next May’s European election we currently see the following voting intentions:

  • Labour 41%

  • Conservative 20%

  • Plaid Cymru 13%

  • UKIP 13%

  • Liberal Democrats 8%

  • Others 5%

If repeated next May, these figures would see Labour winning three of the four Welsh MEPs, with the other one being one by the Conservatives. Plaid Cymru and UKIP would both very narrowly miss out on winning the final seat.

Finally, the Barometer poll asked about the two potential referendums that we currently face here in Wales. On a referendum over Britain’s membership of the EU, the poll found 38% of respondents indicating that they would vote to remain in the EU, and 40% indicating that they would vote to leave. These figures are almost identical to those found by YouGov in their last Welsh poll on the subject in July (the percentage indicating that they would vote to remain is down one point, the percentage choosing the ‘leave’ option is unaltered). On a referendum over income tax powers for the National Assembly, 35% of respondents indicated that they would vote in favour and 38% against, with the remainder either undecided or indicating that they would not vote. The results suggest a Wales that is very evenly divided on both issues.

More detailed analysis of the 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/).

Professor Roger Scully is Professor of Political Science at the Wales Governance Centre and Director of Research, Politics of Cardiff University. The poll for ITV and the Wales Governance Centre had a sample of 1001 Welsh adults and was carried out on 2-4 December 2013.