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'Boris bounce' as poll puts Tories ahead in Wales for general election as support for Labour falls

Credit: PA

An exclusive poll has put the Conservatives ahead in Wales if a general election were to take place, just days after Boris Johnson was voted in as the country's prime minister.

The latest Welsh Political Barometer Poll, which was conducted as soon as Boris Johnson was elected Conservative leader, also shows support for the Labour party is the lowest ever recorded.

Support for the Conservative party is ahead by seven points from the last poll
  • Conservative 24% (+7)
  • Labour 22% (-3)
  • Brexit Party 18% (-5)
  • Liberal Democrats 16% (+4)
  • Plaid Cymru 15% (+2)
  • Greens 3% (-2)
  • Others 1% (-4)
Boris Johnson was elected Conservative party leader and prime minister last week Credit: PA Images

Professor Roger Awan-Scully of Cardiff University described the results as "wholly unprecedented".

These are quite extraordinary results, in many respects almost wholly unprecedented. Despite an apparent "Boris bounce" for the Tories, worth seven percentage points, the poll shows the extent to which the dominance of the two largest parties has declined in recent months. This is the second Barometer in a row where the combined Labour and Conservative vote share is below 50%.

– Professor Roger Awan-Scully

Watch as Professor Awan-Scully and ITV Wales Political Editor Adrian Masters discuss the findings in full:

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Support for the Labour party has fallen since the last poll in May

The findings also show that support for the Labour party is the lowest ever recorded in any Welsh poll, while it puts the Conservatives in the lead in Wales for the first time since the opening two polls of the 2017 general election campaign.

"For the Liberal Democrats, it is their best result since the early days of the coalition government in 2010 - and such is the dispersal of support that Plaid Cymru are up two points, to a level not far short of an historic high for Westminster, yet are actually in fifth place!", Prof Awan-Scully said.

Credit: PA
  • Projected seats in a general election

Labour's 18 projected seats would be the first time they had not won a majority of Welsh seats in a general election since December 1918.

The majority of seats to change hands would be won by the Conservatives directly from Labour.

The poll projects the Conservatives to take Alyn & Deeside, Bridgend, Cardiff North, Clwyd South, Delyn, Gower, Newport West, Vale of Clwyd and Wrexham from Labour.

This despite the fact that our next poll actually has Conservative support falling by almost ten percentage points since the 2017 general election. Labour support has simply fallen much further.

– Prof Awan-Scully, Cardiff University
These are the seat projections generated from the results of the poll, using uniform national swing.

The poll also projects the Liberal Democrats to gain two Welsh seats. One is Brecon & Radnorshire (the poll takes no account of this week's by-election) and the other is Ceredigion.

Plaid Cymru are projected to gain Ynys Mon from Labour.

  • Welsh Assembly voting intentions

YouGov also asked about voting intentions for both the constituency and regional ballots in a devolved election.

Here are the findings for the constituency ballot (with changes from the May Barometer Poll again in brackets).

  • Plaid Cymru 24% (no change)
  • Labour 21% (-4)
  • Conservatives 19% (+2)
  • Brexit Party 19% (+2)
  • Liberal Democrats 12% (+3)
  • Greens 4% (-1)
  • Others 2% (-1)

These are again figures of historic proportions. This is the first Welsh poll ever to show Plaid Cymru in the lead for the Assembly constituency vote, while Labour support is again at an unprecedented low.

Conservative and Brexit Party support has apparently edged upwards, with the Liberal Democrats continuing to head back to the category of a major party.

– Prof Awan-Scully, Cardiff University

Assuming uniform national swings since the National Assembly election of May 2016, this poll projects the Labour party to lose 11 constituency seats. Plaid Cymru are projected to gain Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Cardiff West, Llanelli and Neath. The Conservatives are projected to gain Cardiff North, Gower, Vale of Clwyd, Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham. The Liberal Democrats are projected to gain Cardiff Central.

Plaid Cymru are projected to gain Aberconwy from the Conservatives.

Labour's projected 16 constituency seats would be by far their worst ever performance at a National Assembly election they have never before failed to win a clear majority of the 40 constituency seats.

In response to the results, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price said described it as a "turning point".

Leader of Plaid Cymru Adam Price described the results as an Credit: PA Images

This poll is an historic moment for Plaid Cymru. It is a turning point – people in Wales are seeing that a better future is possible. There can be no doubt now that Plaid Cymru is on track to form the next government of Wales.

– Adam Price AM, Leader of Plaid Cymru

The regional list vote predicts Plaid Cymru to be in first place and Labour support to be below 20%.

It also shows a notable increase in support for the Liberal Democrats.

  • Plaid Cymru 23% (+1)
  • Labour 19% (-2)
  • Conservatives 18% (+6)
  • Brexit Party 17% (-6)
  • Liberal Democrats 12% (+5)
  • Greens 4% (-4)
  • Others 7% (no change)

Allowing for the constituency results already projected, uniform national swing means the poll projects the following results for the Assembly's regional list seats:

  • North Wales: 2 Brexit, 1 Liberal Democrat, 1 Plaid Cymru
  • Mid & West Wales: 2 Brexit, 1 Labour, 1 Liberal Democrat
  • South Wales West: 2 Brexit, 1 Plaid Cymru, 1 Liberal Democrat
  • South Wales Central: 2 Brexit, 1 Plaid Cymru, 1 Liberal Democrat
  • South Wales East: 2 Brexit, 1 Conservative, 1 Liberal Democrat
The overall projected result for the National Assembly

This is the National Assembly heading into uncharted waters, with no party winning even a third of the seats in the chamber. The only two party majority coalition available is between Labour and Plaid. The Liberal Democrats are apparently on course to re-emerge as a significant force in the Assembly.

But in these uncertain and febrile political times, we should be even more cautious than usual about projecting current opinion poll results into future political outcomes. Given how much the fortunes of the parties have changed in recent months, who could accurately predict where they will be by the time of the next Assembly election in May 2021?

– Prof Awan-Scully, Cardiff University

Professor Awan-Scully added that Labour's worst-ever results in any Welsh opinion poll shows they are in "very deep trouble in their historic heartland."

"Jeremy Corbyn and Mark Drakeford now appear to be well on course to presiding over the destruction of their party's near century-long hegemony in Welsh politics", he added.

  • YouGov interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,071 adults in Wales online 23-26 July 2019.