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The Latest Welsh Political Barometer Poll

Today’s new Welsh Political Barometer poll gives us the very latest guide to how the people of Wales are intending to vote in May’s general election. Crucially, it is the first poll to be conducted in Wales since the ITV Leaders Debate of 2nd April. How has that debate, and the campaign so far, impacted on each of the parties?

This is what our poll, conducted by YouGov, found in terms of voting intentions for the general election. (Changes on YouGov’s previous Welsh poll, carried out for The Sun newspaper in late-March and the very start of April, are displayed in brackets):

 

Labour: 40% (no change)

Conservatives: 26% (-1)

UKIP: 13% (no change)

Plaid Cymru: 12% (+3)

Liberal Democrats: 6% (no change)

Greens: 4% (-1)

Others: 0% (-1)

 

Thus, we see in the main only quite small changes since the last Welsh poll, with most of those changes being well within the margin of error. The only remotely substantial shift is the increase in Plaid Cymru support, which is up by a third since the last YouGov poll; however, that poll had shown Plaid support at an unusually low level, and may thus simply have been an outlier.

If we apply the swings implied by this poll from the May 2010 general election result uniformly across Wales, this produces the following outcome in terms of parliamentary seats:

 

Labour: 28 seats (keeping the 26 seats they won in 2010, and gaining both Cardiff Central from the Liberal Democrats and Cardiff North from the Conservatives);

Conservatives: 8 seats (losing Cardiff North to Labour, but gaining Brecon & Radnor from the Liberal Democrats);

Plaid Cymru: 3 seats (no change);

Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (losing both Cardiff Central and Brecon & Radnor, and holding on only to Ceredigion).

 

This new poll adds to the evidence that the decline in electoral support experienced by the Labour party during 2013 and 2014 has stopped, and even been partially reversed. As the election has come closer, Labour support has firmed up from the levels we saw at the end of 2014. Now polling at a level almost four percentage points higher than the vote share that they won in 2010, Labour look in good shape to continue to win the clear majority of Welsh parliamentary seats in this year’s election.

The poll also confirms that Conservative support in Wales remains robust, and at a level that should ensure that the Tories retain the vast majority of the seats that they won in Wales in 2010. The contrast with the fortunes of their coalition partners continues to be stark. Liberal Democrat support remains at below one-third of the level that they won five year ago. The Lib-Dems hope is that their vote will prove much more robust in their existing seats than across Wales as a whole. It will have to do so for the party to hold all those seats.

The poll adds further to the evidence that the surges in support experienced by UKIP and, to a slightly lesser extent the Greens, in the last twelve months have now ebbed somewhat. Both parties are now polling several points below their peak ratings of a few months ago, and neither would appear to have realistic hopes of winning a parliamentary seat in Wales in 2015.

The one party clearly moving forward in this poll is Plaid Cymru. Their support has risen by three points from YouGov’s previous Welsh poll. While that last poll may have given the party an unusually low score, at 12% the current poll equals Plaid’s highest rating in a YouGov poll since the 2010 general election. This improvement in Plaid’s position may reflect Leanne Wood’s showing in the first televised Leaders’ Debate; if so, it is possible that her presence in this week’s second debate may also help her party. Still, Plaid remains in fourth place in Wales, and on uniform swings would be struggling to add to its existing three seats in Wales.

Postscript: My by-now customary postscript, for you cognoscenti of the Blog: Ratio Swing seat projections of the numbers from this poll:

 

Labour: 28 seats (keeping the 26 seats they won in 2010, and gaining both Cardiff Central from the Liberal Democrats and Cardiff North from the Conservatives);

Conservatives: 8 seats (losing Cardiff North to Labour, but gaining Brecon & Radnor from the Liberal Democrats);

Plaid Cymru: 4 seats (keeping the three seats they currently hold, and gaining Ceredigion);

Liberal Democrats: 0 seats (losing Cardiff Central to Labour, Brecon & Radnor to the Conservatives, and Ceredigion to Plaid Cymru).

 

The poll for ITV and the Wales Governance Centre had a sample of 1143 Welsh adults and was carried out by YouGov on 13-15 April 2015. Full details will be published on the blog soon.

Comments

  • Trampie

    One cant help but feel cynical at the timing of this poll, Plaid previously polled low at the start of the general election polling season…….hmm, then we had the 7 way leaders debate, what a perfect time to have done a poll, every leader getting equal billing in a televised debate but no we have to wait virtually another fortnight to get a poll, 24 hours after the Conservative manifesto announcement and 48 hours after the Labour manifesto announcement, its very suspicious.

    The timing of polls as well as the methodology can be crucial and if not done at the right time and using a fair method biasness can result.

    There are issues around fairness and reporting within British politics, the Beeb for example are seen as right wing by some [I know they are accused of being left wing if they are accused of bias more often than not but the argument go’s that is a myth perpetrated by the right wing/establishment to keep coverage biased in their direction].
    An example being the Greens/SNP/Plaid forming a ‘loose’ left of centre anti austerity block yet the case for their argument is not heard, why, because it is a left of centre policy and the Beeb only covers right wing policies in the main, so we only hear one side of the argument.
    Back in the 70’s when Labour was left and the Conservatives on the right the Beeb was in the middle, they were covering two different ideologies [which is right and proper for debate] when Labour moved over to the right the Beeb tried to still stay between Labour and the Conservatives and say look we are impartial we give equal coverage to both Labour and the Conservatives, yes ‘Auntie’ but they are both right wing and are the same bum just different cheeks, ‘Auntie’ is not giving coverage to the other side of the coin, they are just giving coverage to right wing low tax, low spend ideology.

    There was major issues over impartiality around the Scottish independence vote, as regards todays poll, if there was to be an election tomorrow could we expect those results to be the same in the election ? or would perhaps the Labour and Conservative vote be slightly down and the Plaid/Green/Lib-Dem vote be slightly up, we will never know as a lot can change between now and election day.

    But why no Welsh poll within a few days of the Leaders debate is a mystery to me anyway.

    • Roger Scully

      I think you’re reading far too much into this.

      ITV-Wales and the Wales Governance Centre have very limited resources to put into these polls. Even doing three during the election campaign was a stretch. We had to plan the timetable for them before it was even confirmed that there would be Leaders’ Debates; at the time we were planning them it seemed to make sense to have one poll at the start of the campaign, one roughly in the middle (the new poll today) and then the final one which will come out on the night before election day.

      That really is all there is to it; there is no great master-plan to time the polls so that they will play to the advantage or disadvantage of any particular party. I’m afraid I’m just not that clever.

  • Trampie

    Thank you for the explanation .
    It’s nice to have Welsh only polls and our interpretation of the poll results.

  • Victoria Pulman

    On the broader poll it’s odd that there so little movement for any party, with a genuinely interesting UK General election underway the 3 polls you’ve done show the Welsh electorate is mostly content and doesn’t want change, a point reinforced by 66% voting Labour or Tory in May.

    As for Plaid Cymru they shouldn’t be to surprised with the results, because the party’s lack of traction wouldn’t have suddenly vanished as a result of one leader’s debate and more coverage for Leanne Wood in the UK press since the debates, however welcome.

    The vast majority of coverage has been about Leanne, the differences between Plaid Cymru and the SNP and not much about Plaid’s polices beyond anti austerity. Dafydd Elis Thomas said at Plaid Cymru’s manifesto launch the party’s message wasn’t clear enough and wasn’t getting through, maybe he had a point.

    And your additional questions about priorities are telling, with the economy only third priority for Welsh voters, it puts Plaid Cymru at a further disadvantage because it’s their central campaign theme.
    the NHS and immigration were the top two issues for voters, policies associated with Labour and UKIP and if they are your worries why would you vote for another party?

    • Ddirpytnop

      Victoria – you refer to the additional questions asked by this poll but their are no details on this blog. Where did you see them?

  • Trampie

    Just seen your tweet Mr Scully ‘hammer of the nats’ and to think I was going to let you off if it was not for that remark with your weak reply to my initial post.
    PS I’m only a member of the general public and just a voter, I’ve never been a member of any party or written to an mp or attended meeting or nothing like that, but in Wales some of us like fairness, chwarae teg.

    You say ”ITV-Wales and the Wales Governance Centre have very limited resources to put into these polls”, oh is that right…hmm, also you imply that the middle poll had to be taken when it was taken immediately after the Labour and Conservative manifesto declarations…what no room for flexability ?

    Regardless of your excuses that poll was not taken at the optimum time for impartiality and therefore the result might be interesting but is not sound and not as accurate a screenshot as it could.

    Its like having English only refs and officials for Welsh teams in the Premier League and Football League or teams playing a home game in a league format at a neutral venue or a team playing home matches on an artificial surface when the rest of the league plays on grass.
    Many think such things make little difference but some traditional purists think integrity and fairplay are a must to protect the field.

  • Re-open Hay Forest to the public

    Whilst any change from one poll to the next is of interest, surely it is the difference between the latest polling evidence and the last general election results that has most significance re this report.
    Presumably that is why, despite reporting Cons -1% and LibDems ‘no change’, you predict LibDems losing seats to Tories.

    In the light of this can you please always show the last relevant ‘real’ result at the top of each report?
    And why is no one doing any constituency polling? We all know there are considerable local and regional differences within Wales.

    • Roger Scully

      Sorry for the delay in responding – I actually had a bit of time off over the weekend.

      I think I follow the standard convention, in showing changes as changes from the latest polls. I do, of course, include links to full details on previous election results in the Election Results section of the Blog. However, I will bear your suggestion in mind.

      Constituency polling is very expensive to do: it can’t be done via the internet, as even YouGov would struggle to have enough panel members per constituency. Therefore, it has to be done by telephone, which is more expensive. Only Lord Ashcroft has had the resources to do a large series of constituency polls; until I become a billionaire I am unlikely to be able to follow him. However, five constituencies in Wales have been among those that he has polled, and details are available here on the blog.

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