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More from the February Welsh Political Barometer poll

26 February 2019

Publication of the new Welsh Political Barometer poll has met with universal acclaim from a grateful nation. Well, almost. A reminder that the latest voting intention figures, and seat projections for the parties, are available here.

I have also now updated the Opinion Polls section of the blog to include the full tables for the new Barometer poll, as well as all those from the Sky Data poll in December. As you will see, the two polls between them cover a wide range of material – not all of which I have yet been able to write about.

Among the things covered in the new Barometer poll are public ratings of the main UK and Welsh party leaders – asked using our now customary 0-10 scale. I have written a piece for the New Statesman, summarising what I think are the problematic implications for Welsh Labour of some of these findings.

As I have commented on before, these leader ratings questions generally contain two useful pieces of information. The first is the percentage of respondents who feel unable to give a rating, and simply choose Don’t Know. This is a reasonable approximation for the public visibility of a leader. Here are the percentage of people who listed Don’t Know as their response for each of the party leaders asked about in the latest Barometer poll. (Please note: as well as the main UK and Welsh party leaders, we also included two recent Welsh party leaders, Carwyn Jones and Leanne Wood):

Theresa May: 9%

Jeremy Corbyn: 10%

Vince Cable: 30%

Gerard Batten: 73%

Carwyn Jones: 27%

Mark Drakeford: 56%

Paul Davies: 74%

Leanne Wood: 32%

Adam Price: 72%

Jane Dodds: 76%

Gareth Bennett: 76%

As has been seen on many previous occasions, there is a stark gap in public awareness of the two main UK party leaders and just about all other figures. But none of the new party leaders in Wales, including the new First Minister, have yet managed to approach the levels of public visibility achieved by Carwyn Jones or Leanne Wood.

Here are the average ratings out of ten for each leader (or ex-leader), among those respondents who felt able to rate each of them – with, in brackets, the change on the last Barometer poll to ask this question, published in early December):

Theresa May: 3.5 (-0.4)

Jeremy Corbyn: 3.2 (-0.7)

Vince Cable: 3.8 (-0.1)

Gerard Batten: 2.8 (-0.3)

Carwyn Jones: 4.5 (unchanged)

Mark Drakeford: 3.9 (-0.1)

Paul Davies: 3.5 (-0.2)

Leanne Wood: 4.5 (+0.1)

Adam Price: 4.6 (+0.3)

Jane Dodds: 4.0 (+0.2)

Gareth Bennett: 3.1 (+0.1)

As has so often been the case in the past, the overall message here is probably one of the unpopularity of politicians – none of them can even manage a ratings of five out of ten. But it is also striking to see the decline in evaluations of the main UK party leaders. The Prime Minister’s ratings have fallen again, and are now at a very low level. Yet astonishingly – and in Wales, Labour’s ultimate electoral bastion – Jeremy Corbyn has fallen substantially further in public esteem and is now polling even worse than Theresa May. Indeed, Corbyn’s average rating with the Welsh public is now barely above that of UKIP’s Welsh Assembly leader, Gareth Bennett.

Among the Welsh-level politicians, it is notable that Mark Drakeford continues to poll quite poorly among those willing to offer a view on him. This continues something noted during the Welsh labour leadership contest: although the new First Minister was clearly rated highly by many of his colleagues, he has not yet been able to make the same impression on the Welsh public. There is some encouraging new for Plaid Cymru. Although most of the Welsh public do net yet appear to know who Adam Price is, among those who are aware of him his ratings have risen – indeed, he is (very marginally) the most highly-rated of all the politicians questioned about in the latest poll. The clear challenge for Mr Price, and his party, will be for him to cut through to a much larger proportion of the Welsh electorate.


  1. Geraint

    I think the high percentage of don’t knows for the current Welsh party leaders is a damning indictment of the media failing to cover Welsh politics.

  2. J.Jones

    I’m wrestling with the idea that this is is good news for Plaid and Adam price. The electorate is 2.26 million and 44% of them view Mark Drakeford as “a 3.9”, 28% of that electorate view Adam Price as “a 4.6”.

    Good news? Translate it into potential votes; who comes out on top?

  3. Christian Schmidt

    J.Jones – good point. You could argue it is better to increase the popularity (4.6 over 4.3) within the same group (72% unknown in each case) than making yourself slightly better known (44/41) as well as slightly less popular (3.9/4.0). But the numbers are so close, I doubt they are significant.

    I’m also prepared to bet that Mark Drakeford won’t reach Caryn Jones level of visibility or popularity, while Adam Price will only better Leanne Wood if he manages to become FM. I simply fear that much as I actually like much of what Mark Drakeford says and what he does (appointing Lee Waters!), he doesn’t look as cool / sparkly as Caryn did. And as to Adam Price and Leanne Wood, will he ever get an opportunity as good as she got in the leaders’ debate, and would he be able to seize it? (For in my view Leanne Wood really made her name in 10 seconds, whatever you think about Plaid and of Brexit, that take done of Farage was simple, accessible and spoke to many.)

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