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Analysing the Welsh Political Barometer Poll, 3

19 December 2013

For this next post on the inaugural Welsh Political barometer poll, I’ll be looking at the results for the National Assembly regional list vote, and then considering what the constituency and list votes combined suggest for the overall shape of the next Assembly.

As many Blog readers will recall – for those who don’t, please see this post, and this one – there has been some discussion on the Blog about the appropriate wording for the regional list vote intention question. From this poll onwards, we will be using a new question wording – only slightly changed from the previous version, but changed in a way that seems to generate substantial differences in the answers obtained.

While this does, I think, probably get us more accurate results than those in previous surveys, it also means that the findings from our new survey cannot be directly compared with those of previous YouGov polls in Wales. The table below presents the list vote results from the new poll, alongside the 2011 election list vote results and (for the record, although they are not comparable because of the question wording change) those from the most recent previous YouGov Welsh poll.


Vote Intention

(December 13)

Vote Share, 2011 NAW Election

Vote Intention

(July 13)









Liberal Democrats




Plaid Cymru












Because of the wording changes, we will need to see several Barometer surveys before we can establish trends. However, just on the basis of the data before us, we can say that Labour is performing strongly on the list vote. We have seen in past Assembly elections that Labour’s list vote share tends to be a little lower than for the constituency vote. That is the case in this poll as well (something which supports the use of our new question wording). But Labour is still well ahead of all the other parties on the list vote.

The Conservatives continue to perform reasonably well in their ratings; the score for the Liberal Democrats is also not too bad by the standards of recent times.

The party most disappointed with these list vote results is likely to be Plaid Cymru. Although the previous question wording had clearly been over-stating their regional list support, Plaid’s score here is surprisingly weak: particularly given the modest advances that the same poll has shown in both their general election and Assembly constituency vote ratings. At the very least, these figures suggest that any improvements that Plaid is making in its support level are still relatively ‘soft’; they have not made a robust, across-the-board advance.

UKIP’s performance remains strong by previous historic standards in Wales, although it is clearly not as strong as our previous question wording had suggested.

Applying uniform national swings from the 2011 election result, and taking account of the projected outcomes on the constituency vote (as discussed in my previous post), the list seats work out as follows (with the order in which the parties are listed indicating the order in which the four seats in each region would be won):

North Wales: 1 UKIP, 1 Conservative, 1 Liberal Democrat, 1 Plaid
Mid and West: 1 UKIP, 1 Labour, 1 Conservative, 1 Liberal Democrat
South West: 1 Conservative, 1 Plaid, 1 UKIP, 1 Liberal Democrat
South Central: 2 Conservative, 1 Plaid, 1 UKIP
South East: 1 UKIP, 1 Plaid, 1 Conservative, 1 Liberal Democrat


Combining these projected constituency and list results gives us an overall outcome as follows:









30 (no change)




11 (-3)

Liberal Democrats



5 (no change)

Plaid Cymru



9 (-2)




5 (+5)

These figures show that gaining their elusive absolute majority in the Assembly will continue to be difficult for Labour. But the poll also shows Labour continuing to be well ahead of all the other parties in Wales, while the non-Labour forces are even more fractured with the rise of UKIP.

This will almost certainly be my last Blog post of the year. I’ll be back in early January with some discussion of the referendum vote intention results from the Barometer poll. And I’m sure that there will be plenty more to discuss about elections in Wales in 2014.

In the meantime, Nadolig Llawen i chi i gyd.


  1. Jon Jones

    Tell me Roger; what does a future Welsh Assembly look like….and behave like, with 5 UKIP members?

    On the face of it Labour or a coalition of the “Left” will be cemented into perpetuity since a Plaid/Libdem/Tory/UKIP coalition is just not conceivable.

    Nevertheless the reactionary Right is strengthened since 16 seats may be shared between UKIP and the Tories. The drive towards Independence is certainly weakened since I suspect that neither the Conservatives nor UKIP (whatever their position on devolution) are inclined to see the gradual breakup of the UK and Plaid may gain votes but lose seats and become a very junior partner in any Labour led coalition.

    I still think that the most interesting question is; “WHY are the voters of Wales increasingly embracing UKIP?”
    We benefit from the EU, we are apparently comfortable with the (low) level of immigration to Wales and we are now comfortable with the level of devolution that we have…and vaguely in favour of further devolution.

    If I had to guess I would say that a significant minority just dislike the absence of opposition to political consensus between the 4 main parties in Wales. People are willing to vote UKIP in hope rather than concrete expectation……a desire to see random acts of political violence against the soporific consensus in the “Bay Of Tranquility”.

  2. Roger Scully

    On your first question, Jon, I don’t know – a lot would clearly depend on the balance between the other parties. If Labour continues to have 30 seats, and UKIP has 5 taken from the other parties, then I think Labour is strengthened further with the non-Labour forces being so fragmented.

    As to broader reasons for the rise of UKIP: Rob Ford and Matthew Goodwin have a book out soon, Revolt on the Right, examining that. Should be well worth a read.

    One further point: as some data from MORI showed very recently, public perceptions of various aspects of society are quite some way from reality. I suspect people in Wales think that non-UK immigration in recent years has been rather higher than it actually has been.

  3. Jon Jones

    Yes I saw that MORI “perceptions versus reality” poll and found it very interesting. Some years ago there was an Observer article about racism in Britain where they compared racist incidents notified to the police in relation to the percentage of Ethnic Minorities in the police area. North Wales came out as the worst place in Britain…far worse than South East Wales where there is a higher (but not high) percentage of ethnic minorities.
    I think that I also saw an “Issues” poll at the last Assembly election that showed that immigration was an issue to the forefront of voters minds in the North. Myself I just don’t see it as a motivator for UKIP in Wales…..but what do I know.

    Having said that there was also another study that I read that looked at attitude to immigration in relation to UK identity. Those Identifying as English or Welsh were less tolerant of immigration than those identifying as British.

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