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Analysing the Welsh Political Barometer Poll, 2

In my previous Blog Post, I discussed the UK general election voting intention results of the first Welsh Political Barometer poll. In this post I’ll turn to considering the results for the next devolved election.

The question wording for the constituency vote was unchanged from recent YouGov polls. The results can therefore be readily compared with those from the previous (July 2013) poll; the table below presents both, as well as the actual result of the May 2011 election.

 

Party

Vote Intention

(December 13)

Vote Share, 2011 NAW Election

Vote Intention

(July 13)

Labour

43%

42.3%

46%

Conservative

19%

25.0%

19%

Liberal Democrats

9%

10.6%

8%

Plaid Cymru

20%

19.3%

17%

UKIP

7%

6%

Others

3%

2.8%

3%

A first comment to make is that pollsters can only record the vote intentions that respondents choose to give them. That 7% of respondents chose to offer UKIP for their constituency vote intention, and another 2% nominated the Greens, even though both parties are unlikely to stand many (if any) constituency candidates in 2016, is not YouGov’s fault! It does suggest, though, that there may be a fair pool of constituency votes from supporters of these parties potentially up for grabs in 2016.

Second, as with general election vote intention in this poll, we see Labour’s support level in Wales ebbing slightly – albeit from a very strong starting point. This is, in fact, the lowest Labour constituency vote support level recorded in any Welsh poll since August 2010. But it is an indication of just how strong Labour’s position in Wales has been in recent times that the party can decline to a position that is still slightly stronger that its best ever performance in an Assembly election, and also still well ahead of all the other parties.

The Conservatives continue to perform steadily. As with their level of support for UK general elections, Welsh Conservatives will surely be pleased at the robustness of their support base: given both the political background of the Conservative-led UK government being in mid-term, and the rise of UKIP as a competitor for support on the right of centre. The Tories are not obviously advancing in support; but their ability to avoid a significant retrenchment in what one might expect to be difficult political circumstances is rather impressive. Their Westminster coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, will also likely view the results with a modest degree of satisfaction. An increase of 1% is clearly well within the margin of sampling error. But the picture suggested by both this finding and that for general election vote intention is that the Lib-Dems’ poll rating has, at least, ‘bottomed out’. Things seem to have stopped getting worse for them.

As with general election vote, the YouGov poll shows Plaid Cymru making a modest advance. Although this advance is just about within the margin of error, it will still be pleasing for Plaid to be scoring their highest poll rating for the constituency vote since January 2011. The party has a long way to go before it even comes close to realising Leanne Wood’s stated electoral ambitions. But it may, at least, now be moving (slowly) in the right direction.

If the swings suggested by the poll were repeated across Wales (again, assuming a uniform national swing), they would actually produce very little change in terms of seats. The only constituency to change hands from 2011 would be Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, being captured by Labour from the Conservatives.

I’ll be back later this week with another blog post, looking at the regional list results from the poll, and what they suggest for the overall shape of the National Assembly.

Comments

  • Jon Jones

    Probably this poll indicates an identical outcome to the last Assembly election. The rise of UKIP is interesting, not because I’m a supporter, but because enough people who (presumably) could have been counted as solid Tory are now prepared to write in UKIP.

    When reality bites what will those voters do? Reality will be finding no UKIP candidate on the ballot paper, in which case we could probably count on an increase of 5%-6% for the Tory party.

    Why wouldn’t UKIP candidates stand in the constituencies? Well they wouldn’t if candidates could only stand in either the constituencies or the regions. At the moment it looks like UKIP could win 5 seats in the regions but if there is nothing to stop candidates standing in both then I assume they will do so….and be strongest in Tory seats, robbing the Tories of votes.

    So that’s an odd situation. It looks like the Conservative interest in Wales is best served by preventing candidates from standing in both Constituency and Region.

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