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Apropos of Nothing in Particular

After last week’s shenanigans in the Assembly, I thought it might be interesting to remind people of one question that was run in the final, pre-election Welsh Political Barometer poll. This was:

“If Labour does not have an overall majority in the Assembly elected on May 5 but is the biggest party, which of the following would you prefer?”

The following tables shows the responses to the various options among three groups of people: the entire sample, those intending to vote Labour on the constituency vote, and those intending to vote for Plaid Cymru on the constituency vote:

 

All Sample Labour Voters Plaid Voters
A Labour minority government

 

8% 23% 2%
A Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition

 

27% 50% 70%
A Labour-Liberal Democrat coalition

 

8% 11% 1%
A Labour-Conservative coalition

 

8% 2% 1%
A Labour-UKIP coalition

 

8% 3% 2%
A coalition amongst the smaller parties

 

10% 0% 10%
Other

 

5% 0% 4%
Don’t know 26% 11% 10%

 

As we can see, among the whole sample there is no option that commands even close to majority support, and many are undecided. But a Labour-Plaid coalition is clearly the most popular single option. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is also the option that commands support from a majority of Plaid voters – it’s hardly a shock that those voting for a party would want to see it in government. Probably the most interesting set of findings, though, is that for Labour supporters. Intriguingly, a coalition with Plaid Cymru is also their most favoured option by a long way – more than twice as popular as minority government, and almost five times as favoured as a deal with the Liberal Democrats (the latter being an option that the arithmetic has now rendered largely superfluous).

A Labour-Plaid coalition does not appear to be what we will actually get. Given this, it may be interesting to revisit this question in a few weeks and see what people, and in particular Labour supporters, think of the actual outcome.

 

Comments

  • J.Jones

    I was looking for those figures last week. As they show; for the country as a whole, even the most popular coalition commands considerably less support than than the support shown for Labour at the Assembly elections. 27% against 34% or thereabouts. The currently popular statement (from Plaid) that the country voted for a coalition is likely to be false.

    The brief coming together of Tories,UKIP and Plaid is actually universally unpopular.

    I would also suspect that the support shown by Kirsty for Carwyn’s re-election as First Minister, without any known demand for concessions, may have rehabilitated the LibDems in the eyes of many Labour supporters.

  • Griff

    “The currently popular statement (from Plaid) that the country voted for a coalition is likely to be false.”

    Not sure these figures agree with your point at all there. These figures says that over 50% prefer a coalition of some sorts to a Labour minority government. They also show that what you deem the “brief coming together of Tories, UKIP and Plaid”, whilst not popular, is at least less unpopular than a Labour minority.

  • J.Jones

    How so Griff? These figures show that 50% of LABOUR voters would prefer to be in a coalition with Plaid rather than see Labour governing as a minority. For the country as a whole (voters of all parties) the figure is 27% in favour of a coalition between Plaid and Labour. And remember the starting point of the question;
    “If Labour does not have an overall majority in the Assembly elected on May 5 but is the biggest party…”
    This was a question asked before the outcome was known. Obviously the real preferred choice of Labour voters was a Labour majority.

    As for this statement:-
    “They also show that what you deem the “brief coming together of Tories, UKIP and Plaid”, whilst not popular, is at least less unpopular than a Labour minority.” Quite so; but it merely reflects the overall reality of the vote…not just in this election but in almost any election, the largest party represents a minority of the total electorate and so a majority of voters would like them NOT to be in power. Look at the “Don’t know” response for this question from the whole electorate…26%. That’s the trouble with hypothetical questions. Ask again now and see.

    There is an oddity to minority government depending on the type of arrangement that they come to with one or another minority party. In Wales, for Labour, both the conservatives and UKIP are “toxic”. Let’s take a “red line issue” (for Plaid) the M4 relief road. Labour can actually get its preferred option (black route) through without any deals. There are enough Tories and Kippers who would support or abstain. Plaid is playing “Pork barrel” politics…pandering to a faction in the South East but with the real objective of diverting funds to its own areas of high support( A55 improvements to benefit Gwynedd, Anglesey, Conwy and Denbighshire) whilst doing what Ieuan Wyn Jones wanted some years ago…improve North -South communications. Plaid would claim all the credit for local road improvements almost everywhere in Wales.

    Labour is in the position of gaining no credit for anything it succeeds in doing whilst Plaid will take credit for all spending decisions and avoid blame for all necessary cost cutting measures. Labour, in a case by case arrangement with Plaid is in a lose-lose situation and, in 5 years time that is what will surely happen. Do those people voting Labour, UKIP and Tory really see Plaid as a better option for government?

  • Griff

    “How so Griff? These figures show that 50% of LABOUR voters would prefer to be in a coalition with Plaid rather than see Labour governing as a minority. For the country as a whole (voters of all parties) the figure is 27% in favour of a coalition between Plaid and Labour.”

    Because I wasn’t referring to just a Plaid-Labour deal. I said that over 50% of this poll prefer a coalition of some sorts (61% to be exact). I agree that the majority ofLabour voters would prefer a majority government, but that’s not possible now.

    Anyway, a coalition will not happen, for two reasons mainly:
    1. Plaid have been burnt before. Their experience (and that of the Lib Dems) tells them that the minority party in coalitions are punished at the next polls.
    2. Labour don’t like to share

    If Labour were grown up, they would run a minority and go to different parties for support on different issues. For example with the relief road they would depend on the Tories. This is what the SNP did when they had a minority in 2007 and the electorate rewarded them with a majority at the next elections. Labour struggle to do this in Wales because they have spent so much time trying to build Tories up as the devil that everyone hates (‘Vote Plaid. Get Tory etc) and therefore if they do any deals with them they will become victims of their own previous spin.

    Your pork barrel comments is simply not true and smacks of the usual Labour “attack everyone else” routine. There’s nothing in Plaid’s manifesto that panders to North Wales, and since Plaid’s whole aim at the moment is to break out of their traditional areas of support, such an attitude would be whole self-defeating for them. The M4 relief road options and opinions are far more nuanced than “We prefer North Wales”. Some of the same reasons is why many Labour AM’s also support ditching the black route

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