The new Sky Data Welsh Poll: Voting Intentions19 December 2018
The first ever Sky Data poll in Wales covers a variety of topics. For this first set of results, I am going to focus on what the poll suggests about the electoral state of the parties in Wales: voting intentions for Westminster and the Assembly.
For the poll, we asked standard voting intention questions for both a general election and a devolved contest. To look at the former first: here are the figures that Sky Data generated (with, for the purposes of comparison, the figures from the most recent Welsh Political Barometer poll by YouGov alongside):
Westminster Voting Intention
Clearly, the figures from the two different polls are very similar. This is reassuring – and, indeed, what we would expect for two polls whose fieldwork was conducted only a few days apart. But these findings also very much fit in with the broader picture shown consistently in recent Britain-wide and Welsh polling: that all the turmoil and uncertainty in UK politics is currently having very little impact on levels of party support. Using the standard method for projecting electoral results from poll figures – computing uniform national swings since the last general election – the figures from this new poll suggest that absolutely no seats would change hands between the parties at a general election. This is exactly the same as suggested by the most recent Welsh Political Barometer poll, and would mean a general election having an identical outcome in seats as that in June 2017:
Labour: 28 seats
Conservatives: 8 seats
Plaid Cymru: 4 seats
And what about voting intentions for the National Assembly? Sky Data’s poll asked about voting intentions for both the constituency and the regional list ballots in a devolved election. Here are their findings – once more alongside, for purposes of comparison, YouGov’s figures from the December Barometer poll:
National Assembly Constituency Ballot Voting Intention
As with Westminster, for the National Assembly we see only modest differences between Sky’s findings and those of the most recent YouGov poll. Again, this strongly suggests that Sky’s first foray into Welsh polling should be taken seriously, while also reinforcing the picture of rather stagnant levels of party support. Using the uniform national swing method to project changes since the 2016 Assembly election, Sky’s new poll suggests that – as with Westminster – not a single constituency seat in the Assembly is currently on course to change hands.
What about the regional list vote? The Sky poll generated the following results (with the figures from the most recent Welsh Political Barometer poll once again presented alongside):
National Assembly Regional Ballot Voting Intention
|Abolish the Assembly||7%||5%|
Once more, Sky’s figures for all the parties in Wales are pretty close to those produced most recently by YouGov. Notable is that Sky’s numbers also show the long-standing pattern in YouGov Welsh polls – and, indeed, in actual National Assembly election results – of Labour doing consistently rather better on the constituency ballot than the regional list one. However, Sky seem to be showing a slightly better picture for Plaid Cymru than has typically been the case in recent YouGov polls; it may relevant to observe here that when ICM asked about Welsh voting intentions back in February, they found Plaid Cymru support at marginally higher levels than did a YouGov poll conducted just slightly later. For whatever reason, YouGov polls currently appear to be a little less favourable to Plaid Cymru than those of other companies.
Another striking feature of the Sky poll is the very strong showing by the Abolish the Assembly party. The most recent Welsh Political Barometer poll placed them ahead of both UKIP and the Liberal Democrats for the first time ever. Sky’s figures show them doing even better, and consolidating their position as the fourth party on the regional list vote.
Allowing for the constituency results already projected, and once again assuming uniform national swings since 2016, our new poll projects the following overall results for the Assembly’s regional list seats:
North Wales: 2 Conservative, 1 Plaid, 1 Abolish the Assembly
Mid & West Wales: 2 Labour, 1 Plaid, 1 Abolish the Assembly
South Wales West: 2 Conservative, 2 Plaid
South Wales Central: 2 Conservative, 2 Plaid
South Wales East: 2 Plaid, 1 Conservative, 1 UKIP
These figures, in turn, generate the following overall result for the National Assembly:
Labour 29 seats (27 constituency, 2 regional)
Plaid Cymru 14 seats (6 constituency, 8 regional)
Conservative 13 seats (6 constituency, 7 regional)
Abolish the Assembly 2 seats (2 regional)
UKIP 1 seat (1 regional)
Liberal Democrats 1 seat (1 constituency)
Overall, this first ever Sky Data opinion poll in Wales projects a broadly similar picture of party support in Wales to that which other recent polls have shown. Party support levels have changed little since last year’s general election, and Labour are still well ahead for both Westminster and the Assembly. The Conservatives are in a clear second place for a general election; in the context of a devolved election they are in a close contest with Plaid Cymru for second place. The Liberal Democrats continue to flounder, and UKIP are but a shadow of the electoral force that won seven seats in 2016. But Sky’s new poll suggests that there may be a new kid-on-the-block competing for some of the regional list seats in the Welsh Assembly: a grouping whose very purpose is the abolition of that institution.
Sky Data interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,014 Sky customers in Wales online 7-14 December 2018. Data are weighted to the profile of the population. Sky Data is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Tables for these results can be found here.
Non-partisan thoughts on elections, voting and political representation from Roger Awan-Scully of Cardiff University.