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A Thursday Update

A few things that you might possibly find interesting.

First – I was delighted yesterday to be able to join Keiran Pedley in an interview for the Political Betting TV Show. We talked for about 10 minutes about the situation in Wales. You can find the show here. (One small mistake to point out. It had been a long day by the time I recorded this, and I mistakenly said that UKIP had won zero council seats in Wales in 2012, rather than the two they actually won. Apologies to them). Sorry about the occasional interference on sound during the recording.

Second, I was in Edinburgh yesterday and contributed to a live on-line seminar as part of our join Devolved Elections On-Line Course with our colleagues there. You can view it here (although for some strange reason the seminar doesn’t seem to start until about 3.30 into the vide0, and then it misses the first few seconds of the introduction. The session was chaired by Dr Alan Convery, and we were joined by Prof Ailsa Henderson – both of them colleagues who work in Edinburgh).

Third, as I suspected it might, the leadership ratings figures from this week’s Welsh Political Barometer poll occasioned some interest. You can find the detailed figures for this, and the rest of the poll, in the Opinion Polls section of the blog (scroll down to the bottom of the page when you go there). My summary chart of the results is here:

here

(Click on the chart for a larger version).

I should probably make clear, in case anyone didn’t pick this up at the time, that the survey question about leaders in this week’s poll was a rather different from from that which we have used previously in Wales. Our standard leadership question in Wales has been one asking people to rate the leaders on a 0-10 scale (where 0 means ‘strongly dislike’ and 10 means ‘strongly like’). This time around we tried a slightly different question form – but one that has been extensively used by YouGov in their GB-wide polls over recent years. The question form asks people “Do you think that [LEADER] is doing well or badly as [NAME OF THEIR JOB]?” So, for instance, we ask people “Do you think Tim Farron is doing well or badly as leader of the Liberal Democrats?”.

In terms of answer options, we offer people a five-point scale: Very well, fairly well, fairly badly, very badly, and Don’t Know. Because there is no ‘easy’ middle option in this question form, one tends to get higher levels of Don’t Knows for this question form than questions that offer people such a ‘wishy-washy’ middle option.

Because this questions is different we cannot directly compare the results with those from any previous polls. But it’s still an interesting way of asking about leaders, and one I hope we can repeat in some future polls. There are no such problems in comparing between the leaders – except that for David Cameron and Carwyn Jones we asked about them as Prime Minister/First Minister, whereas for the others we asked about their role as party leaders. It is, one imagines, conceivable that someone might think that David Cameron is doing an excellent job as Conservative leader, say, but is a very poor Prime Minister. However, there are limits to how many questions one can squeeze into these polls, and how many times you can ask respondents for their views on the same politician.

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