The Corbyn Bounce?

In the brief period since he became party leader, people have been wondering whether Jeremy Corbyn might produce a boost to Labour’s support. The few Britain-wide polls conducted have so far shown little signs of this. But our new Welsh Political Barometer poll provides the first evidence, in Wales at least, suggesting a ‘Corbyn-bounce’ for Labour.

We see this both for Westminster and for the National Assembly. When we asked about general election voting intention, we saw the following levels of support for the parties (with changes on our last poll, in June, in brackets):


Labour: 42% (+5)

Conservative: 26% (-2)

UKIP: 16% (+1)

Plaid Cymru: 10% (-2)

Liberal Democrats: 5% (+1)

Others: 2% (-2)


This is a significant rise in support for Labour, putting them well above the 36.9% of the vote they secured in May’s election. If we take the changes since the general election implied by this poll, and apply them uniformly across Wales, then Labour would be projected to make three gains from their result in May – capturing Cardiff North, Gower and the Vale of Clwyd, all from the Conservatives. That would reduce the Conservatives in Wales once more to eight seats (the same number they had before the election), and increase Labour’s total to 28.

What about the National Assembly? We might expect that any ‘Corbyn effect’ would be less strong at the devolved level – after all, Jeremy Corbyn leads his party from Westminster and will not be standing in Wales next year. However, here too we see Labour’s support boosted significantly since our previous poll. Here are the figures for the constituency vote (with changes on our last poll, in June, again in brackets):


Labour: 39% (+4)

Conservatives: 23% (no change)

Plaid Cymru: 18% (-2)

UKIP: 13% (-1)

Liberal Democrats: 6% (+1)

Others: 2% (-1)


On the assumption of uniform national swing since the last Assembly election, this poll projects only one constituency seat to change hands: Plaid Cymru gaining Llanelli from Labour.

The figures for the regional list vote were as follows (with changes from the previous Barometer poll again indicated):


Labour: 34% (+2)

Conservatives: 24% (+2)

Plaid Cymru: 18% (-2)

UKIP: 14% (no change)

Liberal Democrats: 5% (no change)

Greens: 4% (no change)

Others: 2% (-1)


Again assuming uniform swings from 2011 across Wales, and after taking into account the distribution of constituency seats when allocating the list seats, this gives us the following projected overall outcome for the National Assembly:


Labour: 29 seats (27 constituency seats + 2 list seats)

Conservatives: 12 seats (6 constituency seats + 6 list seats)

Plaid Cymru: 10 seats (6 constituency seats + 4 list seats)

UKIP: 8 seats (8 list seats)

Liberal Democrats: 1 seats (1 constituency seat)


With little more than seven months to go until the National Assembly election in May, Labour thus remain well ahead of the field. And after having had a disappointing general election, the boost we see in their support in this new Barometer poll must be heartening for them. The details of the poll point to Labour doing particularly well amongst some of those who voted for Plaid Cymru and the Lib-Dems in May’s general election: nearly a quarter of those in our sample who voted for Plaid Cymru, and almost a third of Lib-Dem voters, now say they would vote Labour in a general election. At the same time, we must remember that it is only one poll; and also that if there has been a ‘Corbyn bounce’ for Labour, the party will need to sustain that all the way to the Assembly election next year for it to produce tangible results.

For the Conservatives, this poll will also surely be encouraging. Although their support for Westminster has slipped slightly since our poll in May, for the Assembly their numbers remain impressively robust. This poll has them in a very clear second place on both ballots for the devolved election, a position on which they can look to build during the campaign. In contrast, for Plaid Cymru this poll must be a disappointment, with their vote slipping by two points across the board. That may simply be random sampling variation from one poll to the next, but this poll suggests that far from challenging the Tories for second place in the Assembly election, UKIP may even put them in danger of coming fourth in the popular vote. For UKIP, this poll is yet further evidence that their strong election performance in May was no one-off, and that next year’s devolved election is replete with potential for the party. For the Liberal Democrats, about the best thing you can say is that this poll suggests that things may have stopped getting worse.

I’ll be back with more later.



And for the real hard-core Elections in Wales followers out there, here are the Ratio Swing projections from the poll.

For Westminster, Ratio Swing produces exactly the same projected result as UNS – Labour gaining Cardiff North, Gower and Vale of Clwyd. No other seats are projected to change hands.

For the Assembly, Ratio Swing projects two constituencies to change hands (rather than the one projected under UNS): Llanelli (being won by Plaid Cymru from Labour) and Brecon & Radnor (being won by the Conservatives from the Liberal Democrats). Once the regional list seats are computed, we get the following projected outcome:

Labour: 29 seats (27 constituency seats + 2 list seats)

Conservatives: 13 seats (7 constituency seats + 6 list seats)

Plaid Cymru: 10 seats (6 constituency seats + 4 list seats)

UKIP: 7 seats (7 list seats)

Liberal Democrats: 1 seats (1 list seat)


  • Harry Hayfield

    Constituency Vote: Labour: 42% (unchanged on 2011), Conservative: 26% (+1% on 2011), UKIP: 16% (+16% as they didn’t contest any constituencies), Plaid Cymru: 10% (-9% on 2011), Liberal Democrats: 5% (-6% on 2011), Others: 2% (+2% on 2011) which would suggest that despite some real squeakers (such as Ceredigion, Brecon and Radnorshire and Ynys Môn) the constituencies will be unchanged on 2011 (Lab 28, Con 6, Plaid 5, Lib Dem 1)

    Regional Vote: Labour: 34% (-3% on 2011), Conservatives: 24% (+1% on 2011), Plaid Cymru: 18% (unchanged on 2011), UKIP: 14% (+9% on 2011), Liberal Democrats: 5% (-3% on 2011), Greens: 4% (+1% on 2011), Others: 2% (-5% on 2011) which might suggest UKIP getting at least five regional seats (one in each region) and maybe a couple of Conservative gains from Labour

    So overall yes I think that sounds a reasonable assessment (Lab 29, Opposition 31) the question is however, can those 31 opposition AM’s put their differences aside and nominate a First Minister who would be able to get all of those 31 to vote for them (if not, then Carwyn Jones wins another four / five year term)

    • Richard Owen

      In your first para. you have used the Westminster figures and not those for the National Assembly constituency vote.

        • Richard Owen

          I was replying to Harry Hayfield’s comment. He’s used the Westminster figures when discussing the National Assembly constituency projections.

      • Harry Hayfield

        Oops, sorry about that (my mistake)

        Constituency Vote: Labour: 39% (-3% on Election 2011), Conservatives: 23% (-2% on Election 2011), Plaid Cymru: 18% (-1% on Election 2011), UKIP: 13% (+13%, but didn’t contest any constituencies), Liberal Democrats: 6% (-5% on Election 2011), Others: 2% (-2% on Election 2011) which equals a swing from Lab to Con of 0.5%, Lab to Plaid of 1% which means that Llanelli would change hands (Plaid gain from Lab) but that would be the only one, but I think Lab 29, Opposition 31 is pretty much on the money

  • Syd Morgan

    Not a psephological point but in the next few months, Labour dynamics must change – favourably for them – by the addition of thousands of new activists here and the engagement of both party members and voters in open policy debates which shift politics leftwards. This promises to engage more young people and other non-voters in politics. Any evidence of the later in this poll?

  • Stephen

    Bear in mind that the polls were highly negative after May’s GE, and on the run up to choosing the new Labour leader. So even if Corbyn can recover support to the same support as Ed Miliband, whilst reclaiming Labour party principles, it should confound his critics and prove he was by far the best leader of those available. Unfortunately the press won’t spin it that way., they are quite shocked Labour support hasn’t collapsed completely and will be determined to create more bad headlines.

  • Gordon Gibson

    Would it be ok for us to post this up on the Celyn blog (Welsh green left platform) with all the appropriate credits please.

  • david gow

    Given the errors in the May 15 GE polling, pollsters need to publish supporting data to establish credibility in the results. As a minimum we need to see the assumed turnout % – if this has risen since the May 15 result then some scepticism on the result is justified. Secondly where has the 5% swing to Labour come from? Is it May 15 voters switching UKIP or Plaid to Labour or non voters in May now voting Labour? Publishing point voting intention figures without supporting evidence is slipping back to the bad polling habits pre May 15.

    • Roger Scully

      Thanks for the interest, David. You should find considerable details on the poll in the Opinion Polls section of the blog. Scroll down to the bottom, and detailed results from this poll are available.

      We didn’t have a turnout quesiton in this poll, although as we move closer to the Assembly election we will be examining the potential impact of turnout more closely.

      On the performance of the YouGov poll in Wales, please see this earlier blog-post: http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/2015/05/12/where-did-it-all-go-so-wrong/

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