Labour lead increases as support for 2nd EU vote grows

Labour now commands half the Welsh vote for a Westminster election Credit: ITV News Cymru Wales

Labour’s resurgence has taken the party up to 50% support in Wales. This is the standout finding from the latest Welsh Political Barometer poll - the first systematic test of public attitudes and voting intentions since last June’s General Election.

These are the voting intention figures for a Westminster election that our poll produced (with changes on the General Election result in June indicated in brackets):

  • Labour: 50% (+1.1)

  • Conservatives: 32% (-1.6)

  • Plaid Cymru: 8% (-2.4)

  • Liberal Democrats: 4% (-0.5)

  • UKIP: 3% (+1)

  • Others: 2% (+1.5)

There are no major changes since the general election – if anything, Labour’s already very strong position has improved very slightly, but all such changes are well within the polling ‘margin of error’. If we project these results onto the 40 Welsh parliamentary constituencies, using the standard method of computing uniform national swings since the June general election, then our latest poll implies the following overall result (with projected seat changes since June in brackets):

  • Labour: 30 seats (+2)

  • Conservatives: 7 seats (-1)

  • Plaid Cymru: 2 seats (-2)

  • Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (+1)

On the projection, three parliamentary seats would be won by different parties from those who were victorious in June. Labour would capture Aberconwy from the Conservatives, and Arfon from Plaid Cymru. Plaid would also lose Ceredigion to the Liberal Democrats. All of these seats were ultra-marginal in June and so are projected to change hands even with the small changes in voting patterns since the election suggested by our new poll.

There's been a bigger shift in how voters feel about a second referendum to confirm or reverse Britain's decision to leave the EU.Support for the idea is up seven percentage points since May. Opposition has fallen by eight points, though it still has a clear lead in this latest poll.

There's also been a shift in how people say they would vote in such a referendum. Brexit had a three point lead in May's poll, now it's four points behind. But that is not the decisive shift that would be needed in the polls before another referendum became a serious political option.

Wales remains almost evenly divided between leave and remain supporters, though remain now has a modest lead Credit: ITV News Cymru Wales

The Barometer poll also asked once more about voting intentions for the National Assembly. For Westminster, as seen above, the two largest Britain-wide parties are a long way ahead of all the others: for the moment, at least, traditional two-part politics has re-asserted itself. In the devolved context things are rather different. The Labour Party has a commanding lead, but with two significant competitors – Plaid Cymru as well as the Conservatives. No party's support has changed by more than a single percentage point since the poll in May this year.

Support for both Labour and the Conservatives has grown since the 2016 Assembly elction Credit: ITV News Cymru Wales

Although this poll suggests quite large changes in part support since the May 2016 National Assembly election – Labour, for instance, are suggested by this poll to have risen more than eight percentage points in support – not a single constituency seat is actually projected to change hands! This is mainly because most of the seats which produced close results last time were held by Labour; with a rise in Labour support such places simply move back towards looking like safe seats once again.

The figures for the regional list vote show that Conservative support has slipped by four percentage points since the poll in May, with Labour and Plaid Cymru each picking up two points.:

The same trend is seen in both the regional list and constituency votes Credit: ITV News Cymru Wales

Taking into account the projected constituency results, and once more assuming uniform national swings since May 2016, our poll provides the following projected outcome for the regional list seats:

  • North Wales: 2 Conservative, 1 Plaid, 1 Labour

  • Mid & West Wales: 3 Labour, 1 Conservative

  • South Wales West: 2 Plaid, 2 Conservative

  • South Wales Central: 3 Conservative, 1 Plaid

  • South Wales East: 2 Conservative, 1 UKIP, 1 Plaid

This, in turn, gives us the following overall projected result for the National Assembly

  • Labour 31 seats (27 constituency, 4 regional)

  • Conservative 16 seats (6 constituency, 10 regional)

  • Plaid Cymru 11 seats (6 constituency, 5 regional)

  • UKIP 1 seats (1 regional)

  • Liberal Democrats 1 seats (1 constituency)

Overall, this is clearly a very good poll for the Labour party – one fully in line with the strong showings that the party has been making in Britain-wide polls, and in many local council by-elections, since the June general election. Welsh Labour had not previously reached 50 percent support for Westminster in any poll since February 2013. The incredible political turnaround that the party achieved during the general election campaign continues to have some life in it.

The Conservatives have slipped only a little bit since the general election, and remain at what are, by historic standards, quite high levels of support for them in Wales. They are currently clearly the second-strongest party in Wales, even in the context of a devolved election. Plaid Cymru remain relevant, if not exactly thriving, for National Assembly elections, but they continue to be marginalised in a general election context, as they were in the actual campaign earlier this year. UKIP and the Liberal Democrats now look little, if anything, different to any other minor parties in terms of public support – and each on course to barely maintain a toehold in the National Assembly.

Wales now seems to have effective two-party politics for Westminster and three-party politics for Cardiff Bay. But in both political arenas the Labour party is currently thriving..

  • The poll, for ITV-Cymru Wales and Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, had a sample of 1011 Welsh adults and was carried out by YouGov on 4-7 September 2017