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YouGov Welsh Poll for The Sun

So there I was a few days ago, enjoying a quiet Bank Holiday Monday, when news starting seeping through about a new YouGov poll in Wales, published by The Sun. To those of you who were wondering why I had not flagged this up previously, I can only say that this was the first I had heard of it! It was not one of YouGov’s regular Barometer polls, and I hadn’t been forewarned about it.

The poll was conducted between 26-31 March – the full tables are now available here. The dates of the fieldwork are important: the poll’s fieldwork overlapped slightly with that of the most recent Barometer poll, and was also all conducted before the seven-way Leaders’ Debate on 2nd April. We therefore cannot use this poll to infer anything about reactions in Wales to that debate. For that, we will have to wait until the next Barometer poll – which isn’t too far away!

(By the way – for those of you thinking that it seems a little strange for someone to pay for a poll to be conducted before the debate, and then hold back the results until after the debate, and then release them on a Bank Holiday Monday when almost no-one will notice… well, I agree with you. It does all seem a bit odd to me as well. But as I’m not on close terms with the editorial team at The Sun, I can’t reveal any of the thinking behind this.)

Anyway, enough of that; what did the poll actually say? Here are the figures for general election voting intention (with changes from the previous YouGov poll in Wales, the most recent Barometer poll, indicated in brackets):

 

Labour 40% (no change)

Conservative 27% (+2)

UKIP 13% (-1)

Plaid Cymru 9% (-2)

Liberal Democrats 6% (+1)

Greens 5% (no change)

Others 1% (no change)

 

Applying the changes since 2010 implied by this poll, using the standard assumption of Uniform National Swing, then the figures from this poll would suggest the following outcome in terms of seats:

 

Labour: 29 seats (gaining Arfon, Cardiff Central and Cardiff North)

Conservatives: 8 seats (losing Cardiff North but gaining Brecon & Radnor)

Plaid Cymru: 2 seats (losing Arfon)

Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (losing Cardiff Central and Brecon & Radnor)

 

On the alternative assumption of Ratio Swing, we get the following seat projections:

 

Labour: 30 seats (gaining Arfon, Cardiff Central, Cardiff North and Carmarthen East & Dinefwr)

Conservatives: 8 seats (losing Cardiff North but gaining Brecon & Radnor)

Plaid Cymru: 2 seats (losing Arfon and Carmarthen East & Dinefwr, but gaining Ceredigion)

Liberal Democrats: 0 seats (losing Cardiff Central, Brecon & Radnor and Ceredigion)

 

So what can we make of this poll? The fact that its fieldwork is rather out-of-date, and precedes the recent leaders’ debate, makes this poll distinctly less useful than it might have been. Nonetheless, it is now the fourth YouGov poll this year which indicates that the decline in Labour support that persisted more-or-less throughout 2013 and 2014 has come to an end, and has even been slightly reversed. The last three YouGov poll have put Labour on 39%, 40% and 40%, so they have all had Labour some 3-4 points above the vote share that the party won in 2010.

The 27% support reported for the Conservatives is their highest reported vote intention for Westminster in a Welsh poll since autumn 2010. They appear to have begun the campaign at, or possibly even slightly above, the level of support that they won in Wales in 2010. That is a rather impressive, not to say surprising, achievement for the main party in the UK government implementing an austerity agenda over the last five years. The contrast with the fate of their coalition partners continues to be striking. This poll does actually show a very small up-tick on Lib-Dem support levels. But they are still well below one-third of the level of support they won in the 2010 election.

UKIP’s very small drop in support from the previous YouGov poll in Wales may be of little significance. What is probably more noteworthy is that this poll confirms the somewhat more substantial fall in support that the party in Wales have experienced since late last year, when they were polling in the high teens. However, even more disappointed by the results may be Plaid Cymru. It is possible that they were not favoured by the timing of the poll – with the fieldwork starting on the day of the Cameron-Miliband non-debate that would have focussed attention on the two largest UK parties, and concluding before the leaders’ debate that included Leanne Wood; nonetheless, Plaid really would have hoped to be doing better than this, which is their poorest figure for Westminster voting intention since July 2013.

The Sun poll also carried questions on voting intention for the National Assembly – to the best of my knowledge these have not actually been published yet. The figures for the Constituency ballot (with changes from the last Barometer poll) were:

 

Labour 38% (+1)

Conservative 21% (-2)

Plaid Cymru 19% (no change)

UKIP 11% (-1)

Liberal Democrats 7% (no change)

Greens 4% (+1)

Others 1% (no change)

 

The figures for the regional list vote were:

 

Labour 36% (+2)

Conservative 22% (+1)

Plaid Cymru 19% (-1)

UKIP 11% (-1)

Liberal Democrats 5% (no change)

Greens 5% (-1)

Others 2% (no change)

 

Assuming uniform national swings, the only constituency seat to change hands would be Llanelli, won by Plaid Cymru from Labour! Taking account of these constituency seats, and the allocation of regional list seats, a uniform national swing projection produces the following result:

 

Labour: 29 seats (27 constituency seats + 2 list seats)

Conservative: 13 seats (6 constituency seats + 7 list seats)

Plaid Cymru: 11 seats (6 constituency seats + 5 list seats)

UKIP: 5 seats (5 list seats)

Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (1 constituency seat)

Greens: 1 seat (1 list seat)

Comments

  • Dave B

    Re: UKIP
    Mr Goodwin tweeted a bar chart of UKIP/Farage mentions in the press, over time.

    https://twitter.com/GoodwinMJ/status/585405560914366464

    The implication being that UKIP poll numbers should tick up again during the election campaign.

    (I think something similar used to happen to LD numbers. Their polling numbers used to dip between elections, but their NEV vote share at the annual May local elections did not appear to show the same dip.)

  • Ddirpytnop

    I know it’s only a cross-break, but the 40% figure for Conservative VI in North Wales looks exceptionally high – and Plaid’s 5% exceptionally low. At the 2010 election, in only one seat in the North did the Cons exceed 40%.

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