The final Welsh Political Barometer poll of the 2016 National Assembly election campaign shows some very interesting results.
Labour remain in the lead on both ballots, and their support for the regional list ballot appears to have firmed up somewhat. Meanwhile the Conservatives also receive a boost from this poll, while our evidence continues to indicate that UKIP are on course to enter the Assembly in significant numbers. But both the Liberal Democrats and the Green party may be struggling to have much, if any, presence in the chamber.
Our poll was conducted on Monday to Wednesday of this week – making the figures as up-to-date as we could possibly manage. Our colleagues at YouGov once again asked a representative sample of people in Wales about their voting intentions on both the constituency and regional ballots for the National Assembly election. Here are the figures for the constituency vote (with changes on the previous Welsh Political Barometer poll, conducted late last month, in brackets):
Labour: 33% (no change)
Conservatives: 21% (+2)
Plaid Cymru: 19% (-2)
UKIP: 16% (+1)
Liberal Democrats: 8% (no change)
Others: 4% (+1)
So here we see Labour remaining well ahead of the field. Plaid Cymru will be disappointed to slip back into third behind the Conservatives; the Tories, by contrast, appear to have checked any erosion in their support evident in the last couple of Barometer polls. Meanwhile UKIP’s support remains impressively robust.
Applying uniformly across Wales the changes since the 2011 National Assembly election indicated by this poll, the figures project three constituency seats to change hands, with all three being lost by Labour: the Liberal Democrats are projected to capture Cardiff Central; Plaid Cymru are projected to take Llanelli; while the Conservatives are projected to gain Cardiff North.
For the regional list vote, the figures in our new poll are as follows (with changes from the last poll again in brackets):
Labour: 31% (+2)
Plaid Cymru: 20% (-2)
Conservatives: 20 (+1)
UKIP: 16% (+1)
Liberal Democrats: 6% (-2)
Greens: 4% (no change)
Others: 4% (+1)
Again assuming uniform swings since the 2011 election across Wales, and after taking into account the distribution of constituency seats, this gives us the following projected distribution of the regional seats:
North Wales: 2 UKIP, 1 Conservative, 1 Plaid Cymru
Mid & West Wales: 2 Labour, 2 UKIP
South Wales West: 2 Plaid Cymru, 1 Conservative, 1 UKIP
South Wales Central: 2 Plaid Cymru, 1 Conservative, 1 UKIP
South Wales East: 2 UKIP, 1 Plaid Cymru, 1 Conservative
Putting together both sets of figures produces the following overall outcome for the National Assembly:
Labour: 27 seats (25 constituency seats + 2 list seats)
Plaid Cymru: 12 seats (6 constituency seats + 6 list seats)
Conservatives: 11 seats (7 constituency seats + 4 list seats)
UKIP: 8 seats (8 list seats)
Liberal Democrats: 2 seats (2 constituency seats)
Labour thus remain well ahead of the field. Though their support levels in this poll are close to those in 2007, their worst-ever Assembly election, no other party has yet mounted a strong challenge to them. This is despite the party having lost considerable ground since 2011: the final YouGov poll before the last election had the party on 47% for the constituency vote and 43% for the regional list ballot.
Yet still no other party can apparently get close to Labour. This is a very disappointing poll for Plaid Cymru. Our two previous Barometer polls had apparently suggested some momentum in the Plaid campaign, yet this final pre-election poll shows any apparent surge in their support halting, and possibly even going into reverse. Moreover, although a uniform swing projection suggests that Plaid might actually win one more seat than the Conservatives, as ever those projections are dependent on very small margins for some of the final list seats. The Tories will be more encouraged by this poll: the trend downwards in their support seems to have been checked. If the Conservatives can out-perform their poll rating, as they have done in some previous Assembly elections, they will have a very good chance of finishing second in both seats and votes.
The vague hints of good news for the Liberal Democrats which were spotted in our last poll do not seem to have continued. The party’s constituency vote share has remained at 8%, but they have slipped back on the regional list vote. Given how marginal all of the party’s list seats were at the last election – all four were won as the final seat allocated in that region – then the Lib-Dems must face the possibility of losing all those seats tomorrow.
Meanwhile UKIP’s support has defied the expectations of some observers and remained impressively robust throughout the campaign. Unless our poll is vastly over-stating their support, or that support almost wholly fails to turn out, UKIP are still likely to win regional list seats tomorrow across most, if not all, of Wales’ five electoral regions.
The poll for ITV and Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre had a sample of 1326 Welsh adults and was carried out by YouGov from 2-4 May 2016.