Monday, 14 March 2016

No appitire for change in AM or MP numbers?

Roger Scully over at Elections in Wales has been doing not only he number crunching on recent BBC/ICM poll.

Part of the Poll asked how many AM and MPs Wales should have in Cardiff Bay and Westminster respectively.

 “There are elections for the Welsh Assembly on the 5th of May. There are currently 60 AMs but some people argue that should be increased to at least 80. Which of these statements comes closest to your view?

  • There should be fewer than the current 60 AMs: 23%
  • The current 60 AMs is about right: 48%
  • An increase to 80 AMs is about right: 13%
  • There should be more than 80 AMs: 7%
  • Don’t Know: 9%
 As Roger Scully Points out
Intuitively I would expect a question like this to attract a fairly negative response. More politicians rarely seems an attractive prospect, and the question did nothing to explain why some people might argue for the numbers to be increased. This is certainly not a question that might be argued to be pushing people to offer answers in that direction.
 “Wales currently has 40 MPs in the House of Commons. There are plans to cut the number of MPs to around 30. Which of these statements comes closest to your view?

  • There should be fewer than the current 40 MPs: 18%
  • The current 40 MPs is about right: 52%
  • There should be an increase to more than 40 MPs: 28%
  • Don’t Know: 2%
 Interestingly  whilst as I would have bet my House on in both polls the Status quo was the preferred option there was a marked difference in those calling for an increase over a decrease in MPs

This may well reflect that Westminster is still seem as the major influence on Welsh lives.

Indeed it throws up some interesting facts according to Roger Scully as looked at the figures in depth.

What is perhaps most interesting about these responses, however, is where support and opposition to reducing the number of Welsh MPs comes from. I would have expected that those favouring reducing the number of Welsh MPs would have been mainly people who also favoured increasing the size of the National Assembly – supporters of greater devolution who wished to see the primary locus of political representation moved from London to Cardiff. And I would have expected those who oppose devolution, or oppose taking it further, to take the opposite stances: wanting to keep a strong Welsh body of representatives in Westminster, while firmly resisting enhancing the size of the Assembly as much as they opposed increasing its powers.
That was what made sense to me, at any rate. But I was wrong – on the latter of these two questions, at least. When we look at the details of the responses to the question on the number of MPs, we find something very striking in terms of who most supports a reduction in numbers and who most takes the opposite view. It is among those wishing to abolish the National Assembly (or the few wishing to retain it but reduce its powers) that we find a particular tendency also to support reducing the number of Welsh MPs. Even more strikingly, it is those who favour greater powers for the Assembly (or even independence) who are most likely to support increasing the Welsh voice at Westminster. The latter position might seem somewhat bizarre, even wholly illogical – how could one support Welsh independence while also wanting to have greater representation at Westminster? Without further information on the respondents we cannot be certain, but it would appear to suggest a general desire for a stronger Welsh political voice – and one could quite conceivably support Welsh independence in the long-term while also believing that, until it arrives, Wales needs strong representation in Westminster.
Actually the last sentence is probably close to my own position.
One can only number if Wales already had 80 AM and say 50 MPs how different the Poll would be.

I suspect there may be little difference .

Certainly I doubt anyone can responsibly use the above figures to claim support for their own views. 

I think that this is an Interesting Poll  only  when you see Roger's analysis.

And this is maybe the point simple figures  are not enough. How the question was frames being only one of the issues.

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