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The Next Welsh Political Barometer Poll

3 December 2015

The next Welsh Political Barometer poll should be published early next week. It should have all our usual goodies – vote intention figures for Westminster, the National Assembly and the EU referendum – plus a few other things as well. Christmas is going to seem quite the anti-climax after that, isn’t it?

Just a word on methodology. After the much-publicised difficulties encountered by the various polling companies at the general election various enquiries were launched. Some polling agencies, such as ComRes, have already made some substantial revisions to their methods of weighting samples. YouGov, who do the fieldwork for our Barometer polls, have not yet completed their post-mortems (although I understand they will be doing so before very long). Our December Barometer poll will therefore follow the same sampling and weighting approach as did those in June and September. To remind you (and in the words of Adam McDonnell, a Research Executive at YouGov who has worked with us on all our recent polls):

“Currently, while we work out our new sampling frames and weighting, we are using the same sampling methods as pre-election and the same weight variables with the exception of Party Identification. Instead of Party Identification we are weighting by 2015 general election result.”

As I mentioned in a blog post prior to the June poll, given that the final, pre-election YouGov Welsh poll was actually very accurate – only being about one percentage point too low for the Conservatives and one point too high for Labour, with the other parties being estimated very accurately indeed – these changes should not make much difference to the results. They should probably tend to reduce Labour’s reported support very slightly compared with the methodology YouGov was using before the general election, and increase that of the Conservatives by a tiny amount, while leaving that of the other parties more or less unchanged.

Moreover, given that there have been no methods changes at all since June, if we see in our new poll any substantial changes in reported support levels for the parties then it will not be methodology that accounts for the shifts. Changes in party support levels might reflect normal sampling variation between individual polls, or they might indicate genuine changes in the public mood. I hope this clarifies how we should respond to next week’s poll.

(By the way, in case you are wondering – at time of writing this I have not seen any results from the poll. So I am not trying to offer tantalising hints of what the findings are. I can’t do that because I don’t know – and nor does anyone else yet either!)


  1. J.Jones

    I can hardly wait…but I did wonder whether it’s worth testing the “accepted” view of the predominant unique Welsh attitude to some of the issues of the day. I was thinking in this instance of the Welsh perspective on bombing Syria. Of course we know that our MPs voted overwhelmingly against but do they represent the opinion of their constituents? Too late for this poll…and I suspect that by the next poll public opinion will have changed; it only takes a few shocking photos on the news or, heaven forbid, a downed aircraft and, as you said, what a difference a day makes.

    The question remains though; are we as pacifist as we think we are. Do we think the way we like to think we think….?

    • Roger Scully

      Interesting idea – as per usual – JJ. We don’t have any questions about that in our poll, unfortunately. And the GB-wide polls that have asked about the issue haven’t had large enough sub-samples to be very confident of any differences either.

  2. J. Jones

    ….and almost as if the Western Mail was reading my mind:-

    It’s a shame that there’s no link to the complete data but judging from the poll dates this is part of the Welsh Barometer…or hitched on to the same round of polling. Nice to see that some people are interested enough in Welsh opinion to use the opportunity to poll.

    From my reading Wales is out of step with its MPs (or MPs out of step with Welsh opinion) on bombing but there seems to be a clue to the popularity of UKIP Wales in the response to immigration; Wales doesn’t feel particularly tolerant towards immigrants…particularly when they aren’t fleeing conflict.

    Hopefully you will be exploring these other questions Roger?

    • Roger Scully

      Looks as if they did indeed add some questions, JJ. I didn’t actually know about this until seeing the paper – YG do respect client confidentiality! However, the data sets will be published (as YG are a British Polling Council member), and I’ll be interested to look at them. Perhaps particularly interesting will be the party breakdowns, notably among Labour supporters in Wales.

  3. J.Jones

    This is crying out for an article from you Roger:-

    Once more, oddly enough, I was talking to Adam MacDonnell from YouGov only yesterday asking him if he could analyse archived Barometer polls by “certain to vote” and unique characteristics of people in Wales. I was of course asking if people who spoke Welsh were more likely to vote in Assembly elections and less likely to vote in Westminster elections in comparison to non Welsh speakers.
    The problem for me accessing this data is that the polls belong to ITV and they have copyright. You might get over that.

    • Roger Scully

      I’ll certainly be doing something about YG’s methodology, JJ, but probably not until the new year. I’ll also be doing something about the Western Mail questions over Syria etc, probably next week.

      On the Welsh language and likelihood to vote – I’m fairly sure I’ve looked at that in the past. As I recall, once you accounted for other factors it wasn’t a strong influence. But when things calm down a bit I might go and try and look over that again on the most recent data.

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