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  1. ITV Report

Poll finds Westminster blamed for Brexit deadlock as support for Conservatives and Labour falls

Welsh voters overwhelmingly blame Westminster for the state of the current Brexit negotiations.

That is according to the latest poll commissioned for ITV Wales and Cardiff University.

39%
of voters think Theresa May and her government are responsible

The YouGov barometer poll found that opinion is split between 39% of people who hold Theresa May and her government responsible - and 39% who think MPs as a whole are to blame.

Eight per cent said the European Union and other European governments are more at fault.

  • Who's most to blame for the current state of Brexit negotiations?
MPs have voted down the prime minister's deal three times Credit: PA Images
  • Theresa May and the UK Government - 39%
  • MPs in Parliament - 39%
  • The EU and other European Governments - 8%
  • Other/Don’t Know - 13%

It seems this view is feeding through into how people feel about the two major parties at Westminster - with combined support for the Labour and Conservative parties now below 60%.

This was the first poll in Wales to include the Change UK and Brexit parties.

Here's what YouGov found - with changes from the previous Barometer poll, in late February, in brackets.

  • Labour: 33% (-2)
  • Conservative: 26% (-3)
  • Plaid Cymru: 15% (+1)
  • Change UK: 9% (+9)
  • Liberal Democrats: 7% (+1)
  • Brexit Party: 4% (+4)
  • UKIP: 3% (-3)
  • Others: 3% (-5)
Credit: PA Images

The poll also suggest five seats would change hands at a general election. Given Labour’s domination of current Welsh MPs, and the large decline in their support since the general election suggested by this poll, the five projected changes are all Labour losses: with Cardiff North, Gower, Vale of Clwyd and Wrexham all projected to be gained by the Conservatives, and Ynys Mon by Plaid Cymru.

The results show the combined Labour and Conservative vote share below 60% – having been at 82.5% in the June 2017 general election.

The apparent resurgence of two-party politics that was apparent just a couple of years ago seems to be in something close to free fall.

Just eighteen months ago, Labour alone were at 50% support in Wales; now they are not much above 30%.

Plaid Cymru’s poll rating is impressively robust – their highest showing in a Welsh poll since July 2016. The Liberal Democrats have also avoided being further squeezed by new competitors. Meanwhile, Change UK actually edges ahead of the Lib-Dems, while the Brexit party are also marginally ahead of UKIP. Overall, these results suggest a public having little faith in the two leading parties – but still being undecided about where else to turn.

– Prof Roger Awan-Scully, Cardiff University
The barometer poll asked for people's voting intentions in both assembly and general elections Credit: PA Images

Professor Awan-Scully’s analysis gives the following overall outcome in terms of seats at Westminster:

  • Labour: 23 seats
  • Conservatives: 12 seats
  • Plaid Cymru: 5 seats

YouGov also asked about voting intentions in an assembly election. Here are the findings for the constituency ballot - with changes from the February Barometer poll once again in brackets:

  • Labour: 31% (-1)
  • Plaid Cymru: 24% (+1)
  • Conservatives: 23% (-3)
  • UKIP: 7% (no change)
  • Liberal Democrats: 6% (-2)
  • Change UK4% (+4)
  • Others:6% (+1)

This is the first time that YouGov have put Plaid Cymru ahead of the Conservatives for the Assembly constituency ballot since July 2016.

Assuming uniform national swings since the National Assembly election of May 2016, this poll would project six constituencies to change hands.

As with Westminster, all the projected changes are seats currently held by Labour.

The Conservatives are projected to gain the Vale of Clwyd and Vale of Glamorgan, Plaid Cymru are projected to pick up Blaenau Gwent, Cardiff West, Caerphilly and Llanelli. Labour’s projected 21 constituency seats would be clearly their worst-ever performance at a National Assembly election.

– Prof Roger Awan-Scully, Cardiff University

In the regional list vote, YouGov produced the following results - with changes from April’s poll once again in brackets.

  • Labour: 28% (-1)
  • Plaid Cymru: 22% (-1)
  • Conservatives: 20% (-4)
  • Brexit Party: 6% (+6)
  • Liberal Democrats: 5% (-1)
  • UKIP: 5% (-1)
  • ChangeUK: 5% (+5)
  • Greens: 3% (-1)
  • Abolish the Assembly: 3% (-1)
  • Others: 2% (-2)

These results further confirm the decline in the former dominance of Conservatives and Labour – but also the lack of public consensus on the alternatives.

Both Labour and Plaid Cymru are more or less stable since our last poll, but the Conservatives see their vote share slip by several points since February.

But several parties – the Brexit party, Change UK, the lib-Dems and UKIP – are all at about the same level of support: a vote share that could see them teetering on the edge of winning regional representation in the National Assembly.

– Prof Roger Awan-Scully, Cardiff University

Allowing for the constituency results already projected, and once more assuming uniform national swings since 2016, our new poll projects the following overall results for the Assembly’s regional list seats:

  • North Wales: 2 Plaid, 1 Conservative, 1 Brexit Party
  • Mid &West Wales: 2 Labour, 1 Plaid, 1 Brexit Party
  • South Wales West: 2 Conservative, 2 Plaid
  • South Wales Central: 2 Conservative, 1 Plaid, 1 Brexit Party
  • South Wales East: 2 Conservative, 1 Brexit Party, 1 UKIP

So there would be the following overall result for the National Assembly:

  • Labour: 23 seats (21 constituency, 2 regional)
  • Plaid Cymru: 16 seats (10 constituency, 6 regional)
  • Conservatives: 15 seats (8 constituency, 7 regional)
  • Brexit Party: 4 seats (4 regional)
  • Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (1 constituency)
  • UKIP: 1 seats (1 regional)

Professor Awan-Scully told ITV News, "This poll gives a broader insight into the current state of party politics in Wales, and indeed across Britain. And what the poll says, above all, is that our traditional two leading parties are in some trouble."

In short, this new poll projects the Brexit party to come from nowhere to win four seats within the Assembly. But before people get too carried away with this, a few health warnings. First, my periodic reminder that uniform national swing is only a ‘rough and ready’ guide to how opinion poll results – even if they are accurate at the national level – would translate into constituency and regional results.

Second, it is innately difficult to know how to compute projections for a completely new party. For this poll I have projected both UKIP and ChangeUK to have even support levels across Wales; absent any detailed hard data on their geographical distribution of support, I think there is no other sensible way to proceed. But in reality, any party will have stronger and weaker areas.

– Prof Roger Awan-Scully, Cardiff University

Labour and the Conservatives have less to lose in Wales from the European Parliament elections, if they go ahead across the UK. These are elections where smaller parties, notably UKIP, have done well in the past.

Here are the poll’s finding about how people would vote in a European election on May 23, compared with the actual result in 2014:

  • Labour: 30% (+2)
  • Conservative: 16% (-1)
  • Plaid Cymru: 15% (no change)
  • UKIP: 11% (-17)
  • Brexit party: 10% (+10)
  • Change UK: 8% (+8)
  • Liberal Democrats: 6% (+2)
  • Green Party: 5% (no change)
  • Others: 1% (-2)

On these figures, Labour would have two Welsh MEPs, instead of the present one. The Conservatives and Plaid Cymru would remain on one each. The sitting MEP who would lose out is Nathan Gill. He was elected for UKIP five years ago but now represents the Brexit party. If he could combine their vote, he would be re-elected comfortably.

Similarly, the split in support between the two most pro-EU parties - Change UK and the Liberal Democrats- means that neither of them are currently on course for victory if the European elections go ahead.

  • YouGov interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,025 adults in Wales online between 2-5 April 2019.