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  1. ITV Report

Welsh Labour's "Corbyn bounce"

Jeremy Corbyn at the Labour Party annual conference in Brighton Credit: PA

In the brief period since he became party leader, people have been wondering whether Jeremy Corbyn might produce a boost to Labour’s support. The few Britain-wide polls conducted have so far shown little signs of this. But our new Welsh Political Barometer poll provides the first evidence, in Wales at least, suggesting a ‘Corbyn-bounce’ for Labour.

21-24 Sept Sample: 1,010 Credit: ITV Wales/Cardiff University/YouGov

We see this both for Westminster and for the National Assembly. When we asked about general election voting intention, we saw the following levels of support for the parties (with changes on our last poll, in June, in brackets):

  • Labour 42% (+5)
  • Conservative: 26% (-2)
  • UKIP: 16% (+1)
  • Plaid Cymru: 10% (-2)
  • Liberal Democrats: 5% (+1)
  • Greens: 2% (-1)

This is a significant rise in support for Labour, putting them well above the 36.9% of the vote they secured in May’s election. If we take the changes since the general election implied by this poll, and apply them uniformly across Wales, then Labour would be projected to make three gains from their result in May –capturing Cardiff North, Gower and the Vale of Clwyd, all from the Conservatives. That would reduce the Conservatives in Wales once more to eight seats (the same number they had before the election), and increase Labour’s total to 28.

What about the National Assembly? We might expect that any ‘Corbyn effect’ would be less strong at the devolved level – after all, Jeremy Corbyn leads his party from Westminster and will not be standing in Wales next year. However, here too we see Labour’s support boosted significantly since our previous poll. Here are the figures for the constituency vote (with changes on our last poll, in June, again in brackets):

  • Labour: 39% (+4)
  • Conservatives: 23% (no change)
  • Plaid Cymru: 18% (-2)
  • UKIP: 13% (-1)
  • Liberal Democrats: 6% (+1)
  • Greens: 2% (-1)

On the assumption of uniform national swing since the last Assembly election, this poll projects only one constituency seat to change hands: Plaid Cymru gaining Llanelli from Labour.

The figures for the regional list vote were as follows (with changes from the previous Barometer poll again indicated):

  • Labour: 34% (+2)
  • Conservatives: 24% (+2)
  • Plaid Cymru: 18% (-2)
  • UKIP: 14% (no change)
  • Liberal Democrats: 5% (no change)
  • Greens: 4% (no change)
  • Others: 2% (-1)

Again assuming uniform swings from 2011 across Wales, and after taking into account the distribution of constituency seats when allocating the list seats, this gives us the following projected overall outcome for the National Assembly:

  • Labour: 29 seats (27 constituency seats+ 2 list seats)
  • Conservatives: 12 seats( 6 constituency seats + 6 list seats)
  • Plaid Cymru: 10 seats (6 constituency seats+ 4 list seats)
  • UKIP: 8 seats (8 list seats)
  • Liberal Democrats: 1 seats (1 constituency seat)

With little more than seven months to go until the National Assembly election in May, Labour thus remain well ahead of the field. And after having had a disappointing general election, the boost we see in their support in this new Barometer poll must be heartening for them. The details of the poll point to Labour doing particularly well amongst some of those who voted for Plaid Cymru and the Lib-Dems in May’s general election: nearly a quarter of those in our sample who voted for Plaid Cymru, and almost a third of Lib-Dem voters, now say they would vote Labour in a general election. At the same time, we must remember that it is only one poll; and also that if there has been a ‘Corbyn bounce’ for Labour, the party will need to sustain that all the way to the Assembly election next year for it to produce tangible results.

For the Conservatives, this poll will also surely be encouraging. Although their support for Westminster has slipped slightly since our poll in May, for the Assembly their numbers remain impressively robust. This poll has them in a very clear second place on both ballots for the devolved election, a position on which they can look to build during the campaign. In contrast, for Plaid Cymru this poll must be a disappointment, with their vote slipping by two points across the board. That may simply be random sampling variation from one poll to the next, but this poll suggests that far from challenging the Tories for second place in the Assembly election, UKIP may even put them in danger of coming fourth in the popular vote. For UKIP, this poll is yet further evidence that their strong election performance in May was no one-off, and that next year’s devolved election is replete with potential for the party. For the Liberal Democrats, about the best thing you can say is that this poll suggests that things may have stopped getting worse.

  • 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 Cymru Wales and the Wales Governance Centre had a sample of 1010 Welsh adults and was carried out by YouGov on 21-24 September 2015.

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