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The June Welsh Political Barometer Poll

This week sees publication of the first Welsh Political Barometer poll to be conducted since the National Assembly election last month. Although it may seem a long time until the next general or devolved election, we were interested to see where the parties stand – and whether the post-election furore in the Senedd about the election of the First Minister had had any impact on their support levels.

First the Assembly, and we’ll start as per usual with the constituency vote. I’ll list here three sets of figures for each of the parties: their score in our new poll; their score in the previous Barometer poll, which was the one conducted immediately before the Assembly election; and their actual vote share in last month’s election.

Party New Poll Last Poll Election Result
Labour 34% 34% 34.7%
Plaid 23% 18% 20.5%
Conservative 18% 21% 21.1%
UKIP 15% 16% 12.5%
Lib-Dems 7% 8% 7.7%
Others 3% 4% 3.5%

 

Clearly we see Labour holding steady and still some way in the lead. But the big news would appear to be Plaid Cymru’s rating – up five points on the immediate pre-election poll. Some of this may be accounted for by that poll having produced a somewhat Plaid-unfriendly sample. But even so, our new poll has Plaid up 2.5 points on their election result. In short, there is absolutely nothing here to indicate that Plaid Cymru were damaged politically by the arguments following the stand-off over the First Minister vote in the Assembly. Elsewhere we see the Conservatives’ support ebbing, while that for UKIP remains robust.

If the changes from last month’s Assembly election indicated by this poll are projected uniformly across Wales, then that projects three constituency seats to change hands: Plaid are projected to gain Llanelli and Blaenau Gwent from Labour, and Aberconwy from the Conservatives. (Though please see my recent comments on the caution with which uniform swing seat projections should be interpreted).

http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/2016/05/16/still-swinging-both-ways/

 

We see a broadly similar picture for the Assembly regional vote, although the changes since our last Barometer poll are less dramatic here:

 

Party New Poll Last Poll Election Result
Labour 32% 31% 31.5%
Plaid 21% 19% 20.8%
Conservative 18% 20% 18.8%
UKIP 14% 16% 13.0%
Lib-Dems 6% 6% 6.5%
Others 8% 8% 9.5%

 

Our new poll seems to confirm the ranking of the parties that we saw in the election. And, once again, we see no sign of Plaid Cymru taking a hit over the First Minister controversy – if anything, the reverse would appear to be the case.

Again applying the assumption of uniform national swing, and taking into account the projected constituency results just mentioned, this gives the following projected outcome for the regional list seats:

North Wales: 2 Conservative, 2 UKIP

Mid & West Wales: 3 Labour, 1 UKIP

South Wales West: 2 Plaid, 1 Conservative, 1 UKIP

South Wales Central: 2 Conservative, 1 Plaid, 1 UKIP

South Wales East: 2 UKIP, 1 Conservative, 1 Plaid

 

This gives us the following overall projected outcome:

 

Labour 28 seats (25 constituency, 3 regional)

Plaid Cymru 13 seats (9 constituency, 4 regional)

Conservative 11 seats (5 constituency, 6 regional)

UKIP 7 seats (7 regional)

Liberal Democrats 1 seat (1 constituency)

 

What about for Westminster? Here are the figures from our new poll (with changes from the early May Barometer poll indicated in brackets):

 

Labour 39% (+3)

Conservative 22% (-3)

UKIP 18% (+1)

Plaid Cymru 14% (+2)

Liberal Democrats 6% (-1)

Others 2% (-1)

 

This is clearly quite a good poll for Labour, and more bad news for the Welsh Conservatives. And again, we see UKIP’s rating remaining robust, and Plaid Cymru also making a modest move forward. If we apply the changes since the May 2015 general election implied by this poll uniformly across Wales, we get the following projected result (with all seats won by a party at last year’s general election remaining in their hands unless stated otherwise):

 

Labour: 28 seats (gaining Gower, Vale of Clwyd and Cardiff North)

Conservative: 8 seats (losing Gower, Vale of Clwyd and Cardiff North)

Plaid Cymru: 3 seats (no change)

Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (no change)

 

Some people may be surprised to see Plaid Cymru moving forward in this poll across the board, despite them having taken plenty of public criticism after the recent First Minister vote. The voting intention figures here would seem to suggest very strongly that the issue did not damage Plaid at all. But to probe further on this, we included in our latest poll the following questions:

 

“Thinking about the recent debate surrounding the appointment of First Minister and formation of the Welsh government, following the Welsh Assembly elections, which, if any, of the following parties do you think improved its reputation the most?”

“And which, if any, of the following parties do you think damaged its reputation the most?”

The table below shows answers to both questions from our respondents:

 

Party Improved Damaged
Labour 12% 19%
Plaid 19% 11%
Conservative 4% 14%
UKIP 7% 11%
Lib-Dems 4% 6%
None of them 32% 10%
Don’t Know 22% 28%

 

This table is, I think, a salutary reminder of how issues that excite close observers of events in Cardiff Bay can fail almost totally to cut through to many people – even when, as in the case of the First Minister vote, those issue are picked up by the UK-wide media. Large numbers of our respondents simply chose the ‘None of them’ or ‘Don’t Know’ options for both questions. But the findings also show us how the views of political commentators are far from an infallible guide to the thought processes of ordinary people. To the extent that people made anything at all of the shenanigans in the Bay, our survey indicates that Plaid emerged as the most positively evaluated party, and Labour as the most damaged. That is not what most commentary would have led anyone to expect.

 

The poll for ITV and Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre had a sample of 1017 Welsh adults and was carried out by YouGov from 30 May – 2 June 2016.

 

Postscript: With some apologies for the delay – due to exam marking – here are the Ratio Swing seat projections.

 

For Westminster, Ratio Swing projects the following seat totals:

 

Labour: 27 seats (gaining Gower, Vale of Clwyd and Cardiff North, but losing Ynys Mon)

Conservative: 8 seats (losing Gower, Vale of Clwyd and Cardiff North)

Plaid Cymru: 5 seats (gaining Ceredigion and Ynys Mon)

Liberal Democrats: 0 seats (losing Ceredigion)

 

For the National Assembly, as with UNS, Ratio Swing projects Plaid Cymru to gain Llanelli and Blaenau Gwent from Labour, and Aberconwy from the Conservatives. But in addition, it also projects Plaid to gain Cardiff West from Labour. Taking into account these constituency ‘results’, Ratio Swing then projects the following outcomes for the regional list seats:

 

North Wales: 2 Conservative, 2 UKIP

Mid & West Wales: 3 Labour, 1 UKIP

South Wales West: 2 Plaid, 1 Conservative, 1 UKIP

South Wales Central: 2 Conservative, 1 Plaid, 1 UKIP

South Wales East: 2 UKIP, 1 Conservative, 1 Plaid

 

These are, of course, exactly the same regional results as projected by uniform swing. This leads to the following overall projected outcome under Ratio Swing:

 

Labour 27 seats (24 constituency, 3 regional)

Plaid Cymru 14 seats (10 constituency, 4 regional)

Conservative 11 seats (5 constituency, 6 regional)

UKIP 7 seats (7 regional)

Liberal Democrats 1 seat (1 constituency)

Comments

  • Harry Hayfield

    Using UK-Elect I have 25 Labour constituencies (-2), Plaid Cymru 9 (+3), Conservatives 5 (-1) and Liberal Democrats 1 (unchanged) and on the regional list UKIP 7 (unchanged), Conservatives 6 (+1), Plaid 4 (-2), Labour 3 (+1) which would see the Assembly with 28 Lab (-1), Plaid 13 (+1), Con 11 (unchanged), UKIP 7 (unchanged) and Lib Dems 1 (unchanged) so pretty much in line with your expectations (the constituency gains being Llanelli, Aberconwy and Blaenau Gwent) and with Westminster I exactly agree (3 Lab gains Vale of Clwyd, Gower and Cardiff North). Of course the problem is that by the next election none of those constituencies may even exist!

  • Richard Owen

    Do you think it is appropriate to use the word ‘shenanigans’ to describe the events referred to? Many journalists and commentators have used this word, but I think it can be argued that its use is prejudicial. The Oxford on-line dictionary defines ‘shenanigans’ as ‘secret or dishonest activity or manoeuvring’ or ‘silly or high-spirited behaviour; mischief’. As you know better than I do, it’s quite normal in many legislatures for different parties to nominate their leaders as first minister (or whatever the title may be), even when they have no chance of winning. So the nomination of Leanne Wood was not secret or dishonest or silly or mischievous; it was meant to remind Labour that they did not have a majority in the Assembly, and that they needed to have proper discussions with Plaid before the election of the First Minister. I suppose some would argue that the support given by the Conservatives and UKIP was ‘mischievous’, but they also wanted to dent Labour’s arrogance and sense of entitlement. As you point out, the opinion poll seems to suggest that the electors (or at least those that took any interest in the proceedings!) did not feel that what Plaid had done was wrong.

    • Roger Scully

      Diolch, Richard. You will note that I did not apply the word to any particular party. Different people will have their own ideas about who, if anyone, was misbehaving that day…

      • Richard Owen

        Diolch, Roger. I don’t think that anyone was misbehaving that day, and that is why I think the use of a word like ‘shenanigans’ is inappropriate. It feeds into negative stereotypes of the Assembly, ‘Look at them, they don’t know what they’re doing’ etc. They were acting like politicians, which isn’t surprising! I hope you don’t think I’m nitpicking or being too thin skinned! Anyway, I’ve had my say.

        It was lovely to see you in Aber the other day. Cyflwyniad diddorol a hynod eglur fel arfer. Edrych ymlaen at y nesaf!

  • Mark Evans

    Are there any Wales only EU referendum polls due as the dtat for the UK ones show Wales voting to Leave when it has been judged as a europhile country or are the poll data relaible

  • Rhys

    Will there be any projections for Ratio Swing?

  • Mathew

    Do we have the results for the 8% ‘other’ in the regional vote?

    • Roger Scully

      Yes – the detailed results are now available in the Opinion Polls section of the blog. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page).

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