Our new Welsh Political Barometer poll is published tonight – as we hit the one hundred days to go point in the general election campaign. With the election on May 7 drawing ever closer, where do each of the parties stand here in Wales?
Here is what the Barometer poll found regarding general election support for each of the main parties (with changes from our last poll, conducted in early December,in brackets):
Labour 37% (+1%)
Conservative 23% (no change)
UKIP 16% (-2%)
Plaid Cymru 10% (-1)
Greens 8% (+3)
Liberal Democrats 6% (+1%)
Others 1% (-1)
So what does that mean in terms of who represents us in parliament? Well, if the changes since the last general election implied by these figures were repeated uniformly across Wales, we would get the following outcome in terms of seats:
Labour: 28 seats (+2)
Conservatives: 8 seats (no change)
Plaid Cymru: 3 seats (no change)
Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (-2)
Only three seats, of the forty in Wales, would change hands: Cardiff North and Cardiff Central would both won by Labour (from theConservatives and Liberal Democrats respectively); Brecon & Radnor would be narrowly gained by the Conservatives from the Liberal Democrats.
As well as probing voting intentions for the general election, our latest Welsh Political Barometer has continued to ask about how people intend to vote in several other elections and referendums that may, or will, be facing Wales in the near future.
First, we asked people about their voting intentions for the National Assembly. With the elections for this body following on exactly one year after the general election, where do the parties stand right now?
For the constituency vote, the results of our new poll were (with changes from our previous poll, in early December in brackets):
Labour 34% (-1%)
Conservative 21% (-1%)
Plaid Cymru 18% (-1%)
UKIP 13% (+1%)
Liberal Democrats 7% (+1%)
Greens 6% (+1%)
Others 1% (no change)
Clearly, very little has changed since our last poll, with all the parties seeing changes in their support levels but by amounts that are well within the ‘margin of error’.
On these figures, and assuming uniform national swings across Wales, only two constituency seats would change hands from the results in the last Assembly election in May 2011: the Liberal Democrats would gain Cardiff Central from Labour, while Labour would also lose Llanelli to Plaid Cymru.
For the regional list vote, we saw the following results (with changes from our December poll again indicated):
Labour 32% (+1%)
Conservative 20% (no change)
Plaid Cymru 15% (-4%)
UKIP 16% (+1%)
Liberal Democrats 8% (+2%)
Greens 8% (+1%)
Others 2% (no change)
Here there is a little more change evident. Plaid Cymru see a quite large fall in their regional list vote (after having had a significant rise in our previous poll), while several other parties edge upwards by smaller amounts.
Taking into account both the constituency and list results, this produces the following projected seat outcome for a National Assembly election:
So, for the second time in a row, our Barometer poll projects an outcome which would mean six different parties being represented in the National Assembly. This time, though, the relatively strong performance of the Greens in our new poll actually relegates the Lib Dems to sixth place in terms of projected seats. The Greens are projected to win list seats in North Wales, Mid and West Wales, and South Wales Central.
We should note, though, that with so many different parties in the mix, several of the list seats are projected to be won by tiny margins. In South Wales West, the final list seat was allocated to UKIP over the Conservatives in a calculation that went to the third decimal place – equivalent to about two votes! As the polls bob up and down in the period leading up to the next Assembly election we should expect to see the projected regional list seat outcomes showing quite a lot of turbulence.
As well as asking about election voting intentions, however, our Barometer polls have continued to ask people in Wales how they would vote in the two potential referendums we may be facing in the not-too-distant future. One of these is on the UK’s membership of the EU.
This 8% margin between those who want to stay in the EU and those who want to leave is quite narrow. It is, though, the largest gap that we have seen for some months in Wales. If we do see an EU referendum at some time in the next few years it is far from clear which side Wales would end up supporting.
Another question that has been consistently run in Barometer polls concerns a possible referendum on handing some powers over income tax to the National Assembly.
Not one poll conducted by YouGov has yet shown those in favour of devolving income tax in the lead. It seems unlikely that Welsh political leaders will be eager to hold an income tax referendum any time soon, with the balance of public opinion being so marginal, and actually leaning towards opposition.
The Welsh Political 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 a sample of 1,036 Welsh adults and was carried out by YouGov on 19-21 January 2015.