Poll puts Welsh Conservatives on course to lose three Westminster seats

Westminster voting intention, YouGov poll for !TV Wales Sept 2020
The poll shows Labour in the lead, with the Conservative support lower than at last December's election. Plaid Cymru has gained ground but the Liberal Democrat vote has almost completely collapsed.
  • By ITV Wales Head of Politics, Nick Powell

An exclusive poll for ITV Cymru Wales shows how a small shift in support since the General Election puts some Welsh Conservative MPs at risk of losing their seats.

After the major shift in political fortunes at last year's General Election, which gave the Welsh Conservatives their best result in 36 years, the latest ITV Cymru Wales Welsh Barometer poll suggests the position is stabilising, following a volatile period earlier in the year.

The poll shows Labour in the lead, with the Conservative support lower than at last December's election. Plaid Cymru has gained ground but the Liberal Democrat vote has almost completely collapsed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson shortly after the 2019 General Election Credit: PA

Here's the December 2019 result, compared with the poll's findings of how people in Wales would vote in another Westminster election:

  • Labour: 41% (now 41%) 

  • Conservative: 36% (now 33%)

  • Plaid Cymru: 10% (now 15%)

  • Lib Dem: 6% (now 2%)

  • Brexit Party: 5% (now 4%)

  • Green Party: 1% (now 3%)

In April, the Barometer Poll produced the highest-ever ratings for the Welsh Conservatives, and then in June their support had plunged and Labour was back in the lead. This time around we see much smaller changes since June. Here are the Westminster voting intention figures, with changes since the June Barometer Poll in brackets:

  • Labour: 41% (+2)

  • Conservative: 33% (-2)

  • Plaid Cymru: 15% (no change)

  • Brexit Party: 4% (+2)

  • Green Party: 3% (no change)

  • Lib Dem: 2% (-3)

  • Others: 2% (+1)

Polling expert Professor Roger Awan-Scully of Cardiff University points out that if the small swing against the Conservatives was applied uniformly across Wales, it would cost them three seats in a Westminster election. It would produce the following overall Welsh result:

  • Labour: 24 (+2)

  • Conservatives: 11 (-3)

  • Plaid Cymru: 5 (+1)

The projected Labour gains from the Conservatives are in Bridgend and Delyn. Plaid Cymru are narrowly projected to gain the three-way marginal of Ynys Mon, also from the Tories.

Professor Awan-Scully adds that these figures suggest there has been little change in the fortunes of the main parties over the strange summer of 2020.

"Labour appear to have consolidated their lead over the Conservatives somewhat. However, these changes are well within any polling ‘margin of error’, and so could represent nothing more than typical sampling variation", he said.

"Nonetheless, these figures will be pleasing to Labour, and are in line with theBritain-wide evidence suggesting that Sir Keir Starmer is making slow butsteady progress in improving Labour’s standing among the electorate. Conservative support remains robust at a level only slightly below that attained in December’s general election.

UK Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer Credit: PA

"Plaid Cymru will also surely be pleased with these numbers, aftera summer in which they have struggled - amidst the major events going on - toachieve much media attention. By contrast, this poll is very disappointingfor the Liberal Democrats.

"A year ago the party seemed resurgent, now in the wake of another desperately disappointing general election performance, their poll rating in Wales has slumped to the lowest level in any poll this century - possibly their lowest level ever"

Professor Awan-Scully expects the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic and the post-Brexit trade talks with the European Union to cast a huge shadow over politics in the next few months. Further political upheaval can be expected, as Wales heads into the 2021 Senedd election.

The poll's findings on how people intend to vote when they choose who to send to Cardiff Bay next year will be revealed in the first in a new series of Sharp End at 10.45 on ITV Cymru Wales on Monday night. The programme will also be available to watch online afterwards by clicking here.

  • The Welsh Political Barometer poll, for ITV Cymru Wales and Cardiff University, had a sample of 1,110 Welsh voters. (Those aged 16 and 17 were excluded from the Westminster findings). It was carried out online by YouGov from 28 August to 4 September 2020.