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The 2017 General Election: some first thoughts, and a first seat projection

21 April 2017

That is not a headline I had expected to put over a blog post. Although I had been saying for months that I thought there was a compelling political logic to Theresa May calling an early election, until Tuesday morning it appeared as if she would not do so. Hence, I had booked this week as annual leave. With predictive skills like that, I am sure you will all look forwards eagerly to my thoughts on the election itself.

Some of my first thoughts on the election were published by the New Statesman here. To give you just a taster, the first paragraph says: “For almost a century, general elections in Wales have been about Labour victories. Labour got the most votes in Wales for the first time in the 1922 general election, and it has done so at every general election since then. But this could just be the election where that formidable run comes to an end. Yes, things really are that bad for Labour.”

In case anyone is thinking that I am being over-dramatic there, let us do the following simple analysis. If we take the swing since the last general election implied by the first two major GB-wide polls of the campaign (conducted by ICM and YouGov), and simply project those swings across Wales, then the Conservatives would capture all of the following seats from Labour:



Clwyd South


Alyn & Deeside

Newport West

Newport East

Cardiff West

Cardiff South & Penarth


Labour would also lose Ynys Mon to Plaid Cymru.

That is NOT a prediction of what WILL happen. But that is where the number are right now.


Meanwhile, the first Welsh poll of the campaign, the latest Welsh Political Barometer poll, is due to be published on Monday. I have just seen the results – and they are dramatic indeed. They will be worth the wait, I can promise you.


  1. Harry Hayfield

    Basing a guess on what the EU referendum result was, I think there’s a very good chance that North Wales and Mid and West Wales could become Labour free zones and that the Conservatives’s 1983 record high will be broken.

  2. First as tragedy, second as farce

    2017 = 1983
    Corbyn = Foot
    Brexit = Falklands
    Weak Labour leader + outbreak of Anglo-British nationalism = Con landslide with opportunistic, one or two-term candidates elected eg Mark Robinson, Keith Raffan,Robert Harvey

  3. oldnat

    An odd post this from Roger in some ways.

    That list of lost Lab seats based on applying “GB” (mainly English) trends to Wales makes sense in each of these scenarios for Roger’s Monday comment –

    1. “Wales behaves exactly the same way as England, so I’ve nothing more to add, and am off to the pub”.


    2. “Wales has a distinctly different response to this election – and here are the fascinating differences.”

    I do hope it’s scenario 2!

  4. Jtown

    Oldnat, I think the Brexit vote demonstrated that voting patterns in Wales are not particularly different to those in England, however much we might wish it otherwise.

  5. Bridgette

    I find it ‘interesting’ of some of the moaning by people that there maybe a few Conservative wins in Wales.

    The Welsh Assembly has been nothing but Labour since it’s inception nearly 20 years ago. Why have we not had the same ‘bleating’ about this ?

    Had the Assembly been run by the Conservatives for that amount of time – people would be whispering about a civil war. Change is good for democracy, otherwise you get very very complacent Politicians – take a look in Cardiff Bay for ‘living’ proof of that.

  6. Bill Roy

    Following the publishing of the results from the UK and Scotland in particular on Saturday evening the Wales Political Barometer results are awaited with baited breath.

  7. J.Jones

    Scotland looks interesting; two polls show SNP well ahead with 44% and 43% but coming up strongly is the Conservative vote with an increase of 18% to 33% with Panelbase and an increase of 13% to 28% with Survation.

    In other words, Conservatives in Scotland are nearer to the SNP than Labour is to the Conservatives in the UK. It is not credible that Wales will be immune to this trend although loyalty to established MPs will mean that some sitting Labour candidates will survive against the odds.
    It’s time to consider whether Jezza is a Tory sleeper recently activated.

  8. Nigel Marriott

    I am tracking the cross breaks of all polls at present and using some stat modelling to project the Welsh figures from that data. I predict the barometer will show the following.

    CON 39 (+12)
    LAB 26 (-11)
    PC 13 (+1)
    LD 9 (+2)
    UKIP 9 (-5)

    Uniform swing across Wales with these figures give the following seat projection.

    CON 24 (+13)
    LAB 12 (-13)
    LD 1 (-)
    PC 1 (-)

    These figures will appear on my blog later today at

  9. J.Jones

    Uniform swing has knocked off a couple of constituencies, PC?

  10. leigh richards

    Uniform swing across Wales with these figures give the following seat projection.

    CON 24 (+13)
    LAB 12 (-13)
    LD 1 (-)
    PC 1 (-)

    Cripes Nigel think i’d better get my application for an irish passport sorted double quick

  11. J.Jones

    But a word of caution and a reminder…

    It’s no secret that I am sceptical about Roger/YouGov’s panel, it would be easy to analyse their panel by country of birth as they do for polls in Scotland (they don’t) and we have to remember that this time there has been an awakening. Nearly 72% of eligible voters voted in the EU referendum as against 45.3% in the Assembly elections and 65.6% in the GE in Wales last time.
    This year there has been a rapid increase in registration to vote and I read this as younger people who realise that they could have stopped Brexit by voting Labour at the 2015 GE. Against that there will be a determination amongst those in Wales who voted FOR Brexit to reinforce their wish for a clean break.
    These two new elements will split in Wales to PC and LibDem amongst younger anti-Brexiteers and on the other hand the newly awakened UKIP voters will move over to Conservative to deliver the Leave mandate.
    Labour have cunningly placed themselves so as to appeal to neither side and have Jezza Corbin as a front man who even I, a “Donkey” Labour voter despair of.
    For pollsters in Wales this is an opportunity to be thorough and get it right…young voters in numbers not seen before, awakened by the fear of WW3 started by the equally rabid Trump and Kin Jong Un with the back-door help of a meddling Putin and a wave of Islamophobia in Europe, people who have broader views on global warming and think “liberally”, can only be sampled online or by cellphone…but are they on the YouGov panel in sufficient numbers?
    The curmudgeonly “Right”, which includes the disenchanted “Forgotten of Blaenau Gwent” may find the voting booths…but what will they do when they get there?

  12. John R Walker

    I suspect the landscape in Wales on the 9th of June may look a little like the 1983 general election with 14 Tories, 22 Labour, 3 Plaid, 1 Lib-Dem.

    Much depends on whether UKIP decide to turn up and split the vote(s). It will probably work out better for their primary BREXIT agenda if they don’t turn up and allow their supporters to vote tactically for the Conservatives.

  13. J.Jones

    I’d be tempted to buy you a pint if you were right John…not strongly tempted since I’m sure you have more money than me.
    One of the most interesting seats is Anglesey. I’m supposing that Nathan Gill’s following will evaporate almost entirely and that his voters may move across to Con. if they field a decent candidate. Nigel is supposing that Con will leap-frog Plaid who are salivating at the prospect of taking back Ieuan Wyn Jones’ seat…so much so that rumour has it that they will dust off IWJ himself. Another possibility might be the hero of the Assembly by-election, Rhun ap Iorwerth.

    Albert Owen is resilient but his Holyhead power-base has seen some changes in recent years with AAM closing down and not much to replace it.
    Plaid always get their vote out at Assembly elections…but there’s the rub; Plaid voters will number nearly 14,000 at Assembly elections but tend not to see Plaid as so relevant in the GE.

  14. david barnett

    i hope the torys hits labour hard get them out of wales

  15. Nigel Marriott

    It seems as though Roger’s figures were in line with my predictions I posted on his earlier post at the weekend. I am pleased about this as it suggests my crossbreak modelling exercise is on the right lines.

    BTW, the ICM crossbreak for Wales today had the Tories on 52%!

  16. david barnett

    I would suggest as a tory member we will probally win well over 100 to 120 seats to give our government a good majority

  17. Eric Willis

    Plaid have completely blown the Brexit debate, and so their support in this election.They didn’t listen to the people of Wales, which Plaid should do.Their emphasis should have been on making Wales Brexit ready, rather than just opposing Brexit. They should have gone to Teresa May with a One Wales type list to make Wales Brexit ready, and done a deal. That would mean maximum devolution and flexibility to respond to the Brexit challenge. Simple things like a deal to proportionately devolve Network Rail investment, a Regional Regeneration Deal type strategy for all parts of Wales (not just Cardiff and Swansea), delegated powers on air travel duty, control of 5% of corporation tax, and a guarantee that all of Wales VAT contributions to the EU would be recycled directly back to Wales after 2019. Also a guarantee that Wales would have an equitable share of the UK capital expenditure on new roads to rebuild the M4, A55 and A470. Now it is too late that horse has bolted, and Plaid will get next to nothing for Wales, and be stuck at their usual 13%. What a wasted opportunity.

  18. Eric Willis

    Just listened to your Golau podcast, can’t you take over from Nick Servini, so we can have someone with a brain reporting in Wales. Your figures don’t surprise me at all, due to the biggest new influence on political decision making in the UK – I Pads, Wi Fi and the free on line newspaper websites provided by the Daily Express, Mail, Telegraph and the Sun. The readership is massive, tens of millions. Most commuters and most pensioners read them several times every day. They have created a brilliant pro Brexit propaganda machine. Every detail of EU corruption, British bashing, EU waste and excess, and every traitorous act perpetrated by those nasty Europeans from Gibraltar to Calais is gleefully reported in a dozen stories EVERY DAY. The BBC may try and push the Remain propaganda but it is increasingly irrelevant. If you want to control politics in Britain take over these websites. Teresa May could do even better than predicted – with 6 weeks of undiluted propaganda on the websites still to go.
    It beats election leafleting
    hands down.

  19. david barnett

    hi yes I seem to think the conservatives will come out with more seats than I have predicterd 100 to 120 , I am 99.9 sure she well may get 150 and poss more , I am a long time tory supporter and worked hard all my life . iff labour ever got in again watch everthing happen job lossers high unemployment taxed to the back teeth fuel prices up then probally bankrupt this country I know them too well

  20. Rhys Hughes

    A lifelong Tory supporter and functionally illiterate. Often the case. People have short memories. God help Wales if they think the Tories will lift a finger to help.

    • david barnett

      with your latest comments it seems you don’t like change == well change is coming like it or not vote tory june 8th , this econermy never been so good low unemployment etc === this would never happen under labour , they would wreck the economy again strikes everwhere . iv never forgot what labour has done and I came from a mining family , so I wasent born with a silver spoon in my mouth iv had a good job all my life and worked hard until retirement last year

  21. Martin Rolph

    “Events, dear boy [and girl], events!” Since this flurry of posts the Tories have joined Labour in self destructive activities, eg the dementia tax aimed at their core vote, the affluent and relatively affluent members of the over 65s. Brexit will help keep their poorer supporters on board.

    Social justice demands rebalancing away from taxing the young, but bribing the affluent and relatively affluent old is one of the Tories’ not so secret weapons.

    If Cardiff West goes Tory, Labour at UK level in its current form would be finished for so long that new alignments would arise.

    The much mourned great Rhodri Morgan’s rise to eventual high office was eased by the loss of Cardiff West to the Tories in 1983, enabling him, as a new candidate, to take the seat in 1987.

    The UK level Labour and Tory parties care little or nothing for Wales. Blair and Brown did nothing significant for Wales. They could have reformed the Barnett Formula to better reflect Wales’ needs, poverty and population share, but trying to keep overfunded Scotland happy was more important to them as so many of their big hitters (once) came from there, and the SNP were (then) always more of a threat than Plaid Cymru.

    So my prediction is Cardiff West to stay Labour, Newport West will go Tory (it probably would have done anyway, but the 2018 bridge toll abolition will help swing a few votes there), as will 4 seats in NE Wales

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