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The Rest of the May Welsh Political Barometer, Part II

So what other goodies have lain undiscovered within the May Welsh Political Barometer? Well, there are a few further things.

First of all, our immediate pre-election poll once again asked about a number of the party leaders who had played a very prominent role in the election campaign. As in our previous poll, YouGov asked respondents to rate all of the party leaders on a simple 0-10 scale, “where 0 means strongly dislike and 10 means strongly like”. Using this scale, respondents to the Barometer poll were once again asked to rate all of the five main UK-level party leaders (David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage, and Natalie Bennett), and the following Welsh party leaders: Stephen Crabb, Owen Smith, Kirsty Williams, Leanne Wood, Nathan Gill, and Pippa Bartolotti.

Once again, respondents who were unsure of how to rate any of the leaders were able to choose a Don’t Know option. As I’ve observed previously, while some people choose this option because they are genuinely undecided what they feel about a leader, in the aggregate the proportion choosing Don’t Know seems to function as a good measure of the public visibility of a political leader. So how many chose Don’t Know for each politician, and how had this changed since our poll conducted before the first Welsh television debate? Here are the figures (and, in brackets, the change since the April poll):

  • David Cameron: 7% (+1)
  • Ed Miliband: 8% (+1)
  • Nick Clegg: 9% (+2)
  • Nigel Farage: 8% (+1)
  • Natalie Bennett: 31% (-4)
  • Stephen Crabb: 55% (+1)
  • Owen Smith: 64% (-2)
  • Kirsty Williams: 45% (+4)
  • Leanne Wood: 21% (-1)
  • Nathan Gill: 66% (no change)
  • Pippa Bartolotti: 59% (-9)

Clearly, the four main UK-level leaders remained the most well-known figures, although the evidence suggests that Natalie Bennett’s relative anonymity had been slightly reduced during the campaign. Among the Welsh leaders Leanne Wood was, by the end of the campaign, by far the most well-known. Indeed, at only 21%, the proportion choosing the Don’t Know option for Plaid Cymru’s leader was at exactly the same level as it was for Carwyn Jones the last time that the First Minister was included in a question like this in a Welsh Political Barometer poll.

But what about the attitudes of those who did have an opinion about the leaders? Here are their average ratings out of 10, for all those who gave a rating for a leader (with changes from April’s poll again in brackets:

  • David Cameron: 4.0 (+0.2)
  • Ed Miliband: 4.7 (+0.2)
  • Nick Clegg: 4.0 (+0.5)
  • Nigel Farage: 3.5 (+0.2)
  • Natalie Bennett: 3.9 (no change)
  • Stephen Crabb: 3.7 (+0.1)
  • Owen Smith: 3.6 (-0.3)
  • Kirsty Williams: 4.1 (-0.3)
  • Leanne Wood: 4.7 (-0.1)
  • Nathan Gill: 3.0 (no change)
  • Pippa Bartolotti: 3.5 (+0.2)

Most of the changes here from April’s poll, clearly, were very small. Nonetheless, it is interesting that the ratings of all the main UK-level leaders had risen slightly, while those for three of the Welsh leaders had actually declined slightly. The figures here go somewhat against what has become the normal pattern for Welsh-level party leaders to normally have higher popularity ratings than UK-level ones. Ed Miliband was some way ahead of the other UK leaders – although of course this was in a poll conducted in Wales, which remains one of Labour’s strongest areas in Britain. Interestingly Nigel Farage was clearly the least popular. Among the Welsh leaders, Leanne Wood was some way ahead of the others, although her rating had not improved since April’s poll.

Two other questions that were included in the pre-election Barometer poll concerned referendum voting intentions. First, regarding the referendum on British membership of the EU that now looks very likely to occur, we found a clear margin (47% – 33%) in favour of continued membership. The following table lists all the Welsh polls that have asked about this issue since 2013:

 

Poll % Remain % Leave % DK/ NV % ‘remain’ Lead
ITV-Wales/YouGov, February 2013 42 35 22 7
Western Mail/Beaufort, June 2013 29 37 35 -8
WGC/YouGov, July 2013 39 40 21 -1
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, December 2013 38 40 22 -2
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, Feb 2014 44 33 23 11
Walesonline/YouGov, June 2014 41 38 22 3
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, June-July 2014 41 36 24 5
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, September 2014 43 37 20 6
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, December 2014 42 39 19 3
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, January 2015 44 36 20 8
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, early-March 2015 43 36 22 7
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, late-March 2015 44 38 18 6
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, May 2015 47 33 21 14

 

As can be seen, May’s Barometer produced the largest lead yet seen for those wishing to stay in the EU.

 

We also asked about what now looks a slightly less likely referendum – that on income tax varying powers for the National Assembly. We again found the largest lead yet found in any poll on the subject – this time for those opposed to tax-varying powers. Such findings are unlikely to encourage the referendum to occur any time soon.

 

Poll % Yes % No % DK/ NR % ‘No’ Lead
ITV-Wales/YouGov, February 2013 39 34 27 -5
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, December 2013 35 38 26 3
Western Mail/Beaufort, December 2013 32 30 38 -2
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, Feb 2014 31 42 28 11
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, May 2014 33 39 28 6
Walesonline/YouGov, June 2014 34 41 25 7
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, June-July 2014 32 42 26 10
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, September 2014 38 39 24 1
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, December 2014 37 38 25 1
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, January 2015 37 39 24 2
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, early-March 2015 37 36 27 -1
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, late-March 2015 37 40 22 3
ITV-Wales/WGC/YouGov, May 2015 31 43 26 12

 

Comments

  • Han

    What do these findings mean for Kirsty Williams? I notice she has a huge jump of +4 in the first question, but then remains around the same in the second question?

    • Roger Scully

      I’m not sure the change in the number saying Don’t Know about her is that meaningful – probably little more than random variation.

      In general, Kirsty has done quite well in the leader ratings in recent years, and especially so given how unpopular her party has been through the last four years.

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