The stand off in the Senedd which saw AMs split evenly between Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood for First Minister meant that their parties had to compromise or face another election. A few Labour voices cried "Bring it On!", confident that the voters would punish Plaid Cymru because Leanne Wood was backed by the Conservatives and UKIP. The sole Liberal Democrat, Kirsty Williams, was the only non-Labour AM to vote for Carwyn Jones.
Of course, Labour and Plaid reached an agreement on how Carwyn Jones could form a minority government and the crisis passed. But the first opinion poll since the election suggests that Leanne Wood had nothing to fear from asking the voters to decide.
YouGov's Welsh Barometer poll for ITV Cymru Wales and Cardiff University suggests that there's been a swing to Plaid Cymru. Here's how it found the constituency vote had changed, compared with May's result:
- Labour 34% (-1%)
- Plaid Cymru 23% (+2%)
- Conservatives 18% (-3%)
- UKIP 15% (+2%)
- Lib Dems 7% (-1%)
- Others 3% (-1%)
With Labour and Plaid Cymru's regional list vote unchanged on 32% and 21% respectively (and no other party's regional vote shifting by more than 1%), Plaid Cymru could hope to pick up three extra constituencies. Two of them would be cancelled out by losses on the list but one -Blaenau Gwent- would be a straight gain from Labour. So there would be a small but crucial shift in the balance of power in the Senedd:
- Labour 28 seats (-1 seat)
- Plaid Cymru 13 seats (+1 seat)
- Conservatives 11 seats (no change)
- UKIP 7 seats (no change)
- Lib Dems 1 seat (no change)
After a Presiding Officer and Deputy had been chosen, the remaining 58 AMs would once again have to vote on who should be First Minister. If all parties voted the same way as they did last month, the result would be 28 votes for Carwyn Jones -and 30 for Leanne Wood.
Of course, a minority government with just 12 seats could hardly be stable. It would have taken office with the support of the Conservatives and UKIP but it would need Labour votes to implement most of its policies. But what the poll does tell us is that Leanne Wood appears to have done her party no harm by challenging Carwyn Jones.
The poll found that 19% of voters felt that Plaid Cymru had emerged from the contest for First Minister as the party with the most improved reputation. 11% thought Plaid's reputation had suffered the most damage. Every other party took a hit to its reputation. in Labour's case 19% saw it as the party that had damaged itself the most, 12% felt it had come off best.
The poll also asked voters how much they liked the AMs who lead their parties in the Senedd, marking them out of ten. As always, no-one scored even five out of ten but Leanne Wood topped the list.
- Leanne Wood 4.8
- Carwyn Jones 4.7
- Kirsty Williams 4.4
- Andrew RT Davies 3.6
- Neil Hamilton 2.1
Separate research for the Welsh Election Study has shown voters evenly divided between Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood as to who would be the best First Minister. When it comes to who performed best in the election campaign, Leanne Wood has a clear lead.
- The Welsh Barometer Poll is carried out by YouGov for ITV Cymru Wales and the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University, where Professor Roger Scully calculated how voting intention would translate into seats in the Senedd, using uniform national swing. He also kindly shared his findings from the Welsh Election Study.
- All other figures are from YouGov. Total sample size was 1,017 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th May - 2nd June 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Welsh adults (aged 18+).