Welsh Labour are on course to lose a number of seats to the Conservatives in the Senedd, but are still projected to win the election, an exclusive poll for ITV Wales shows.
The final Welsh Political Barometer poll of the 2021 campaign has provided strong evidence to suggest that, whatever problems may beset the party elsewhere, Labour seem set to continue to dominate in its ultimate bastion of Wales - but are not projected to win a majority in government.
The poll also suggests the results will leave open the possibility of an historic breakthrough for some of the smaller parties.
Polling stations opened around Wales on Thursday morning and closed at 10pm. For the first time since 1999, there won't be any overnight counts. Instead, votes will start getting counted on Friday morning.
Results from the poll partly published on Wednesday and conducted between 2 and 4 May, show Labour are up by 1% point in the constituency contest but the Conservatives have gained five percentage points.
Plaid have slipped by four percentage points - and none of the smaller parties have made any progress.
Labour 36% (+1)
Conservatives 29% (+5)
Plaid Cymru 20% (-4)
Reform UK 4% (no change)
Liberal Democrats 3% (no change)
Greens 2% (-1)
Abolish the Assembly 2% (-1)
UKIP 1% (+1)
Others 2% (-1)
Using the standard assumption of uniform national swings since 2016, these figures project four constituencies to change hands.
The Conservatives would gain Vale of Glamorgan, Vale of Clwyd, Gower and Wrexham from Labour. But in all four cases, the projected gains are by narrow margins - and all such projections assume that constituencies follow national trends.
"What we can say is that if our final poll is accurate in terms of national levels of support, then there are a number of Labour-held marginal constituencies that are likely to be under pressure from the Conservatives", Professor Roger Awan-Scully from Cardiff University said.
"In such circumstances, the effectiveness of campaigning and the popularity of candidates locally may well make the difference between narrow gains and equally narrow losses."
Overall, the final Barometer poll suggests the following outcome for the 2021 Seneddelection:
Labour 26 seats (23 constituency + 3 regional)
Conservatives 17 (10 constituency + 7 regional)
Plaid Cymru 13 (6 constituency + 7 regional)
Abolish the Assembly 2 (2 regional)
UKIP 1 (1 regional)
LDs 1 (1 constituency)
Taking into account the constituency results already projected, these figures lead to the following projected allocation of the regional list seats.
North Wales: 2 Labour, 1 Plaid Cymru, 1 Abolish the Assembly
Mid and West Wales: 1 Labour, 1 Conservative, 1 Plaid Cymru, 1 Abolish the Assembly
South Wales West: 2 Conservative, 2 Plaid Cymru
South Wales Central: 2 Conservative, 2 Plaid Cymru
South Wales East: 2 Conservative, 1 Plaid Cymru, 1 UKIP
"However, there are at least two good reasons to be cautious about taking these projections as gospel", Professor Awan-Scully said.
"The first is that these projections are themselves dependent on those for the constituency contests. In many cases, a constituency being gained or lost (even if by a tiny margin) can then have spillover effects for the allocation of the regional list seats. The other reason is that some of these projections – and particularly those for the final list seats in the regions – are based on tiny margins. Small changes in the actual levels of public support could lead to several seats moving in other directions."
The poll also found that if no party has a majority in the Senedd, most Labour and Plaid Cymru supporters think that a coalition between their two parties would be the best outcome.
More than half (55%) of people who said they would be voting Labour in their constituency and 54% of those who would vote Plaid Cymru said they should form a coalition.
The idea of their party forming a minority government was much less popular, backed by 19% of Labour voters and 25% of Plaid Cymru voters.
Seven per cent of supporters of both parties preferred a coalition with the Conservatives.
Conservative voters were much less keen on the idea of a coalition, with 60% wanting a Tory minority government. 15% backed a coalition with Plaid Cymru, just 5% with Labour.
Hardly any voters wanted to see their party go into opposition if it didn't have a majority, though 20% didn't know what should happen.
YouGov polled a representative sample of 1,071 Welsh voters (aged 16+) for ITV Wales and Cardiff University between 2nd and 4th May.