Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Three Party Politics in Wales, both at Westminster and the Senedd.

The Welsh Political Barometer poll shows some comfort for all the three major Welsh Parties and its telling that there now appears to be only three as the Liberl Democrats fall off the map.

In his analysis  Roger Awan-Scully says 

After an April Barometer poll that produced the highest-ever ratings for the Welsh Conservatives, and then a poll in June where their ratings had plunged and Labour was back in the lead, this time around we see much smaller changes in the standing of the parties. As always, the latest poll explored voter preferences for both a general and a devolved election. First, Westminster: here are the voting intention figures (with changes since the June Barometer poll in brackets):

Labour: 41% (+2)

Conservatives: 33% (-2)

Plaid Cymru: 15% (no change)

Brexit Party: 4% (+2)

Greens: 3% (no change)

Liberal Democrats: 2% (-3)

However I think we need to look at the  2019 General Election result.


Conservatives: 36.1%

Plaid Cymru: 9.9%

Brexit Party: 5.4%

Greens:1.o %

Liberal Democrats: 6.0%

15% would be Plaid's highest share of the vote since they started to fight every welsh seat in 1970 and the lowest Liberal (Lib Dem) vote ever.

What might be the implications of these numbers in terms of parliamentary seats? Using the standard method of projecting swings since the last general election uniformly across Wales we see the following projected outcome in terms of seats (with changes from the December 2019 election result indicated in brackets):

Labour: 24 (+2)

Conservatives: 11 (-3)

Plaid Cymru: 5 (+1)

The projected Labour gains from the Conservatives are in Bridgend and Delyn; Plaid Cymru are narrowly projected to gain the three-way marginal of Ynys Mon, also from the Tories.

Professor Scully also does hisa number crunching on the forth coming Assembly Election. 

A somewhat similar picture of only modest change in recent months emerges when we examine voting intentions for the Senedd. For this part of our poll, and given the inclusion of 16 and 17 year olds in the franchise for next May’s election, we made sure to include respondents from this age group in our sample. In practice, this makes only a small difference to the reported support levels for the parties; nonetheless, it is important that these young voters are included, as they will be for all Barometer polls between now and the Senedd election next May.

Here are the figures for the constituency ballot (with changes in support since June once again indicated in brackets):

Labour: 34% (no change)

Conservatives: 29% (-2)

Plaid Cymru: 24% (+2)

Brexit Party: 4% (+1)

Liberal Democrats: 3% (-2)

Greens: 3% (no change)

Others: 3% (no change)

As with the figures for Westminster, we see here only small changes in the reported support levels for the parties since early summer, with all changes well within the polling ‘margin of error’. Just as we see for a general election, though, there is a modest consolidation of the Labour lead; a robust rating for Plaid Cymru; and historically bad numbers for the Welsh Liberal Democrats. 

Despite the poll indicating Welsh Labour support being almost at the level it was in the 2016 Senedd election, a uniform swing projection of changes since then indicate Labour to currently be on course to lose seven constituency seats that they narrowly held last time. The Conservatives are projected to gain the Vale of Glamorgan, Vale of Clwyd, Gower and Wrexham; at the same time, Plaid Cymru are projected to capture Llanelli, Blaenau Gwent and Cardiff West. However, local factors since 2016 may make both of those latter two gains for Plaid much less likely than the mere arithmetic suggests.

For the regional list vote, our new Barometer poll produced the following results (with changes since the June Barometer poll once again indicated in brackets):

Labour: 33% (+1)

Conservatives: 27% (-1)

Plaid Cymru: 23% (-1)

Abolish the Assembly: 4% (no change)

Brexit Party: 4% (+1)

Greens: 4% (+1)

Liberal Democrats: 3% (-2)

Others: 2% (+1)

As with the other vote intention figures there are very modest changes since June. Once again Labour’s lead has apparently extended slightly; Plaid Cymru are in a strong third place; and the Liberal Democrats are taking a beating. As with the constituency ballot, this is the worst poll rating that the Welsh Lib-Dems have ever recorded; this is also the first time ever that the party have been reported to be in seventh place for 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 Senedd’s regional list seats]

 North Wales: 2 Plaid, 2 Labour

Mid and West Wales: 3 Labour, 1 Conservative

South Wales West: 2 Conservative, 2 Plaid

South Wales Central: 3 Conservative, 1 Plaid

South Wales East: 3 Conservative, 1 Plaid

From all these figures we thus produce the following overall projected result for the Senedd:

Labour: 25 seats (20 constituency, 5 regional)

Conservatives: 19 seats (10 constituency, 9 regional)

Plaid Cymru: 15 seats (9 constituency, 6 regional)

Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (1 constituency)

There has to be some perplexion in Plaid circles in that the current apparent surge in support for Independence has not materialised in a marked rise in votes in the Assembly elections.

This could to some degree to a summer in which the party has struggled to find a voice amongst the corona virus as  First Minister Mark Drakefords profile has risen and it's possible , that devolution has aided the Labour partyw two recent polls published  suggesting  that the Welsh Government is more trusted on Covid-19 than their counterparts in the UK Government.

OfCom’s media consumption survey showed that 82% trust information from the Welsh Government compared to 62% who trust the UK Government.

Meanwhile, a YouGov/ITV poll showed that 62% think the Welsh Government is handling the pandemic well, while only 34% said the same for the UK Government.

There was also a significant gap in how the leaders of the Welsh and UK Governments were deemed to have performed.

With ‘don’t know’ removed, 66% thought First Minister Mark Drakeford had done well while only 39% said the same about Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Whilst I doubt any of Welsh Labour's would want the Corona Virus crisis to take us into May next year , they will no doubt trust the "Trust" in the current Welsh Labour  Government.

Nevertheless the Assembly election could see a three party spilt and a Labour-Plaid Coalition.

With just one from another Party Kirsty Williams relying on  her profile in her constituency , to win Brecon and Radnor , she could could  herself  surplus to the next Welsh Government and struggling to find her voice  in opposition.

Still who knows , there may be a fall out from the Scottish Independence campaignt and if not an earthquake a major tremor.

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