As I mentioned in my previous post, we had details published yesterday of a new poll which YouGov conducted last week for Plaid Cymru. I discussed the results on voting intention in yesterday’s post; I also explained there that the poll had been conducted in the standard YouGov manner, and that the results had been weighted and presented in the normal way. Moreover, the ordering and wording of the questions on vote intention were perfectly standard. In short, although the poll was commissioned by a party competing in the election, and although I disagreed with aspects of the interpretation put on those results by Plaid Cymru, I can’t see any reason to question the basic findings of the poll itself. We can place as much – or, if you prefer, as little – credence on its findings as we would on any YouGov poll.
Vote intention was not, however,the only subject matter covered by the poll. Three other questions were included by Plaid in the poll – all of which tap into themes that Plaid have sought to emphasise in their election campaign. These additional questions – which came after those on voting intention, and so could not have ‘contaminated’ the vote intention responses – more clearly sought to play into a particular partisan agenda.
The first two concern the issue of ‘fair funding’ for Wales, which has of course been one of Plaid’s central campaign themes. The first question asked respondents:
“Do you think Wales receives more, less or about the same amount of funding as Scotland?”
The responses given were:
Wales receives more funding that Scotland: 2%
Wales receives less funding than Scotland: 77%
Wales receives about the same amount of funding as Scotland: 7%
Don’t Know: 14%
These responses are quite striking. While it would be useful to see the issue explored with some other, slightly differently-worded questions, they do suggest that on this issue Plaid has had considerable success in getting its message home to people – although this message does build somewhat on years of wider discussion on the matter.
The second question then followed directly on from the first one: having asked people what they think is the situation regarding funding, they now asked people what it should be:
And do you think Wales should receive more, less or about the same amount of funding as Scotland?
Wales should receive more funding that Scotland: 8%
Wales should receive less funding than Scotland: 4%
Wales should receive about the same amount of funding as Scotland: 78%
Don’t Know: 10%
While the responses to the first question were perhaps somewhat surprising, these ones to the follow-up are much more predictable. Questions such as this play into strong social norms regarding fairness. The key impact of these findings, though, is in the disparity between the responses to the two questions – there seems to be a widespread public view that, on funding, Wales is not being treated as it ought to be.
Finally, the Plaid poll also asked the following question:
Thinking of this General Election campaign, which political leader best stands up for the people of Wales?
This particular wording might be regarded as ‘stacking the deck’ in favour of Leanne Wood to some extent. Given that she has been, by a very long way, the most high profile Welsh politician during the election campaign, the first six words of the question might well be regarded as conducive to her receiving particularly good ratings. Whatever, a long list of politicians were offered to the survey respondents, and these are the answers given:
Leanne Wood: 29%
Carwyn Jones: 12%
Ed Miliband: 7%
Nigel Farage: 4%
David Cameron: 4%
Kirsty Williams: 4%
Stephen Crabb: 3%
Andrew RT Davies: 2%
Natalie Bennett: 1%
Owen Smith: 1%
Nathan Gill: 1%
Nick Clegg: 1%
Pippa Bartolotti: 0%
Clearly, Leanne Wood comes out well ahead of the field – something that does fit with other evidence that the election campaign has raised both her profile and her popularity within Wales. Nonetheless, it might be interesting to repeat this question, minus the first six words, outside the context of a general election campaign.
All the tables for the poll are available here.