First results from the new Welsh Political Barometer Poll

Results from the latest Welsh Political Barometer poll will be released this week. Later on today the first of the voting intention figures should be released by our partners at ITV Wales. I will, of course, be making full results available, along with some analysis, at this website.

The first figures released, however, relate to a couple of questions added to the latest poll by ITV Wales. These probe attitudes to, and experiences of, the NHS in Wales. The results thus tie in very well with the Ashcroft poll that I discussed here last week. Helpfully, YouGov also asked very similar questions to those in our Barometer poll to a sample of 1,344 English respondents, enabling us to get direct comparisons of attitudes in the two nations – and a much more up-to-date comparison than was available from the Ashcroft poll, fieldwork for which was carried out in November last year.

The first question asked about the NHS was: ‘How confident, if at all, are you that the NHS in Wales will provide you with a high standard of healthcare when you need it?’. Responses in Wales (and to the equivalent question in England) were:


Wales England
Very Confident 12 16
Fairly Confident 41 54
Not Very Confident 29 19
Not at all Confident 14 8
Don’t Know 4 4


As we can see, the majority of people in Wales did select one of the two ‘confident’ options. But, as we saw consistently in the Ashcroft poll, overall Wales’ NHS fares somewhat less positively than the English ones.

The second question asked in our Barometer poll inquired about people’s own experiences of the NHS: ‘How satisfied or dissatisfied would you say you are with the overall experience you have had when being treated by the NHS in Wales?’

Wales England
Very Satisfied 26 31
Fairly Satisfied 45 49
Not Very Satisfied 15 13
Not at all Satisfied 5 4
Don’t Know 8 3


Here we see very nearly three-quarters of Welsh respondents express satisfaction with the NHS in Wales as they have experienced it. But we once again see ratings of the Welsh NHS lagging behind those of the English service, if only narrowly.

In short, although our data about NHS attitudes is rather more up-to-date than that released by Lord Ashcroft, it comes to a very similar conclusion (and one also supported, as I mentioned last week, by a question in the latest ICM poll as well). There is a consistent gap in attitudes to the performance of the NHS between England and Wales, with Welsh respondents consistently less satisfied (with Lord Ashcroft’s evidence having suggested that the Scots are even more satisfied than the English with their health service). The gaps are not, in the main, huge. But they appear to be pretty consistent – across multiple questions, and also across surveys conducted by different survey companies.


  • Gareth

    Hi Roger,

    Is it possible that the Welsh attitudes to the NHS are influenced by the lower healthiness of the population? Is there data in the English NHS survey that indicate that less healthy English people have lower expectations of their NHS?

    Just trying to get an idea of whether these findings are related to the different demographic profiles of the two countries, or if they persist after controlling for all external variables.

    • Roger Scully

      Hi Gareth,

      I haven’t done any sort of formal controls: would be interesting to investigate. I would expect that population differences could account for some of the differences in findings, but probably not all.

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