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Allez Milord!

 

As many blog readers will be aware, Lord Ashcroft has for some years been running a regular polling operation. Yesterday he published full results of a very large sample poll, mostly concerned with investigating public attitudes towards the European Union. (It is perhaps worth noting that although the results were only published yesterday, the fieldwork, which was conducted on-line, was apparently done during January).

Because the overall size of the Ashcroft sample was very large (over 20,000), there are significant sub-samples in the major regions and nations of Britain (although not Northern Ireland – as with the vast majority of polls published in the UK, this poll did not sample opinion there). Analysing the results of regional sub-samples is usually a very hazardous business. First, the sample size is usually pretty small, thus meaning that even a perfectly-representative sub-sample would have a large ‘margin of error’. But secondly, and crucially, regional sub-samples reported are not normally wholly representative of the population in that region; the sub-sample has not been weighted for regional representativeness, but instead to help construct a sample representative of Britain as a whole.

Lord Aschroft’s poll, however, appears to overcome both of these problems. The sub-sample for Wales has more than 1,000 respondents. And the detailed regional breakdowns of results appear to have been specifically weighted within each region/nation of Britain. (I believe that this is the case, although I am trying to check). Blog readers may find many of the other regional breakdowns interesting – see, for instance, Scotland, where the SNP seem to be leading Labour in general election voting intention. But what about Wales?

The general election voting intention figures reported are as follows (with changes since 2010 in brackets):

Labour: 40% (+4)

Conservative: 24% (-2)

Lib-Dems: 6% (-14)

Plaid Cymru: 15% (+4)

UKIP: 13% (+11)

Others: 3% (-1)

If uniform swings since 2010 are applied throughout Wales, this produces the following seat outcomes:

Labour: 28 (all 26 won in 2010, plus gaining Cardiff North and Cardiff Central)

Conservatives: 8 (losing Cardiff North to Labour, but winning Brecon & Radnor from the Liberal Democrats)

LibDems: 1 (holding Ceredigion, but losing Brecon & Radnor to the Conservatives and Cardiff Central to Labour)

Plaid: 3 (holding the seats won in 2010)

UKIP: 0

In terms of general election opinion polls in Wales, here is the full list of published polls, up-dated to include this new one.

 

Lab

Con

LibDems

Plaid

UKIP

Others*

ELECTION RESULT, MAY 2010

36.2

26.1

20.1

11.3

 

6.2

ITV-Wales/YouGov, October 2010

48

29

8

11

 

7

ITV-Wales/YouGov, end-Jan–Feb 2012

50

25

6

11

 

9

Cardiff Uni/YouGov, mid-April 2012

50

23

7

12

 

9

ITV-Wales/YouGov, July 2012

54

23

4

10

 

9

ITV-Wales/YouGov, August 2012

50

23

7

9

 

12

ITV-Wales/YouGov, February 2013

51

22

9

10

7

2

WGC/YouGov, July 2013

48

23

8

9

8

4

ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, Dec 2013

46

21

8

12

10

4

ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, Feb 2014

47

22

7

11

9

4

Lord Aschroft, Jan 2014

40

24

6

15

13

3

BBC Wales/ICM, Feb 2014

42

24

9

14

7

4

*Including UKIP prior to 2013

 

If we compare Lord Ashcroft’s poll with those previous ones, a few points seem worth making:

  • First, we should exercise caution. There is no past record with sub-samples of Lord Ashcroft’s polling to look at. And, as mentioned earlier, the fieldwork was actually conducted in January.
  • This is Labour’s lowest general election poll rating in Wales since the 2010 general election. I have previously mentioned that Labour’s poll rating in Wales has appeared to be declining somewhat in recent months; this evidence, though it should be interpreted with caution, does nothing to counter such a view. Labour are still well in the lead, but rather less so than a year ago.
  • The Conservatives’ poll rating continues to be, by their historic standards in Wales and given the mid-term status of the UK government, quite robust.
  • There continues to be little cause for optimism for the Liberal Democrats. Although this is not their lowest rating ever (they did score 4% in a YouGov poll in July 2012), such a performance in a general election would place all their Welsh seats in some jeopardy.
  • Plaid Cymru’s rating in this poll equals their highest in any general election poll conducted this century. Although uniform swings do not project the party to gain any seats on this score, it must undoubtedly be welcome news; more targeted swings would allow them to challenge seriously in places like Ceredigion and Ynys Môn.
  • UKIP score well on this poll; although uniform swings do not suggest them coming anywhere close to winning a parliamentary seat in Wales, the broader message from this poll must be positive for UKIP’s prospects in May’s European Parliament elections.

 That’s probably enough for you all to chew on for now! I’ll be back later in the week with a look at some of the detailed results of the poll about attitudes towards the EU.

Comments

  • dAVE aLLEN

    Would it be a shock to you if plaid won 5 seats at this election? mon and ceredigion also, it seems possible does it not?

    • Roger Scully

      Annwyl Dave,

      Thanks for the interest. On your question – no, it wouldn’t be a shock to me, although it would not be, I think, the most likely outcome. To achieve 5 seats, Plaid will need to poll quite well, to have Labour slip, and to target resources effectively on those seats.

      Roger

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