New BBC/ICM Poll!

 

BBC Wales are publishing today some findings from a new opinion poll. [Edit, 25/09/14: the first part of the detailed results have now been released, and can be found here]. Conducted by ICM, by telephone, it was run shortly after the confirmation of the result of the Scottish independence referendum. [Disclosure: I was consulted by the BBC about the content of the poll, and made some suggestions on question wording].

The poll mainly covered attitudes to the result of the Scottish independence referendum, and public views on what should happen now – both regarding potential further devolution for Scotland, and how Wales should now be governed. There were lots of interesting results in the poll; some are discussed here, while I will review and comment on others in a future blog post.

In addition to all these questions about the future governance of the UK, however, the poll also asked about voting intentions for the general election. This is useful not merely because it provides another measure of such intentions, but because it offers one not coming from a poll conducted by YouGov. That comment is in no way a slight on YouGov (who have been, and continue to be, a pleasure to work with); it is simply an observation that it is valuable to have different polling companies measuring voting support. This was the second BBC-ICM poll in 2014 to ask about general election voting intention. The figures (with changes from the previous BBC-ICM poll, conducted in February, in brackets) are:

 

Party

Vote Intention

Labour

38% (-4)

Conservative

23% (-1)

Liberal Democrats

7% (-2)

Plaid Cymru

13% (-1)

UKIP

14% (+7)

Others

4% (no change)

Projecting ICM’s figures to a general election – using the standard uniform national swing approach – produces the following outcome:

Labour: 28 MPs. (Holding all 26 seats won in 2010, and also winning Cardiff North from the Conservatives and Cardiff Central from the Liberal Democrats).

Conservatives: 8 MPs. (Losing Cardiff North to Labour, but winning – very narrowly – Brecon & Radnor from the Liberal Democrats).

LibDems: 1 MP. (Losing Brecon & Radnor and Cardiff Central, but holding Ceredigion).

Plaid Cymru: 3 MPs (Holding their current 3 seats).

Although the poll has UKIP in third place in popular support on 14%, on uniform swing assumptions they do not actually come even close to winning a seat anywhere. Nonetheless, UKIP support clearly is reaching the sort of levels where they might plausibly make a difference to who does win some seats.

In general, this poll is very much in line with the current trends that other polls have been showing. Here is the full list of polls on UK general election voting intention conducted and reported this year so far:

Poll

Lab

Con

Lib-Dem

Plaid

ukip

others*

Lord Aschroft, Jan 2014 (published March)

40

24

6

15

13

3

ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, Feb 2014

47

22

7

11

9

4

BBC Wales/ICM, Feb 2014

42

24

9

14

7

4

FoES/YouGov, April 2014

45

24

7

11

10

3

ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, May 2014

43

22

7

11

13

5

ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, June-July 2014

41

25

5

11

14

5

ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, September 2014

38

23

6

11

17

6

BBC-Wales/ICM, September 2014

38

23

7

13

14

4

 

Taken together, these numbers give the following averages for 2014 as a whole:

Labour: 41.8%

Conservatives: 23.4%

LibDems: 6.8%

Plaid: 12.1%

UKIP: 12.1%

 

It is encouraging that ICM’s figures are so close to those produced by the recent Welsh Political Barometer poll conducted by YouGov – that two such highly-respected companies, using wholly different polling methods, are producing identical figures for the two largest parties, and have all five main parties within the ‘margin of error’, rather increases our confidence in the findings.

ICM’s findings reinforce the point, made previously on this blog, that Labour support in Wales has slipped considerably over the past 18-24 months. In the four polls conducted in 2012, Labour’s general election vote share was always at or above 50%. Both the last two have had it below 40%. Indeed, it is notable that while Labour across Britain as a whole is running generally well ahead of the 29.0% vote share it won at the 2010 general election (as of this morning, Labour was on 35% in the UK Polling Report running average), in Wales Labour’s support level is now only 2% points above that gained in 2010.

Two years ago, Ed Miliband could have confidently looked forward to Wales delivering him several seat gains at the general election; now, Welsh Labour’s seat harvest looks likely to be much smaller. That is probably the most important single message to come out of the recent polls on general election voting intention here in Wales.

Comments

  • Roger Mexico

    You’ve got a poll listed as “ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, September 2014” which you don’t seem to have discussed and doesn’t appear on the YouGov archive. This is how conspiracy theories start, you know. Is it buried somewhere with the missing 400,000 Yes votes?

      • Roger Mexico

        Many apologies. I missed it scrolling through your State of the Parties essays and it never seems to have reached the YouGov Archive like the previous ITV one. Nice to have it fairly close to the ICM figures, when we get so few Welsh polls.

  • Welsh Borderer

    Difficult to see from this poll why the 4 Assembly Parties conclude that the outcome of the Scottish Referendum means Wales wants or needs Independence (PC) or Home Rule (Lab,LIbDem) or Devolved Taxation (Con). In fact the voters don’t show any increased enthusiasm at all for greater devolved Government by the Assembly – a fact which was also evident in the St Davids’ Day poll earleir this year. Assembly politicans don’t want to admit this, but then they wouldn’t, would they ?

    • Roger Scully

      Thanks for the interest in the blog, Borderer. But I can’t agree with your interpretation of the figures in the poll, which show considerable support for enhanced devolution – including clear majorities in favour of devolution of powers over Policing and Criminal Justice, and also Welfare Benefits. I hope I can publish all the figures here, once they have been released by ICM. Will also comment on the Blog some time next week.

  • Matt Jarvis

    Hey, Prof… I know you’re likely to comment on the future governance element of the poll in a future post, but I was wondering about the 49% who said they wanted more powers – and that unusually low 3% who are pro-independence. Has anyone done any work on what proportion of that ‘more powers’ group is also amenable to independence, even if independence isn’t their first choice? I’m thinking that might give a better sense of the pro-independence figure were it a straight yes/no choice, as in Scotland.

    • Roger Scully

      Thanks for the interest in the Blog, Matt.

      I will, I hope, be putting together some comments on the reporting of the recent poll. I don’t agree at all with those who have criticised the BBC for the question used in their survey. I’m not sure I agree with some of the interpretations given to the evidence, however.

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