Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Plaid face a selection problem as it rises in the polls.

The latest The April Welsh Political Barometer poll, certainly leaves Plaid Cymru with the largest smile.

Professor Roger Awan-Scully, over at Elections in Wales has once again done the number crunching for us.

Here is what YouGov found (with changes from the previous Barometer poll, published in late February, in brackets):
Labour: 33% (-2)
Conservative: 26% (-3)
Plaid Cymru: 15% (+1)
Change UK: 9% (+9)
Liberal Democrats: 7% (+1)
Brexit Party: 4% (+4)
UKIP: 3% (-3)
Others: 3% (-5)
Professor Awan-Scully, writes 

These are sensational results. They show the combined Labour and Conservative vote share below 60 percent – having been at 82.5 percent in the June 2017 general election. The apparent resurgence of two-party politics that we saw just a couple of years ago seems to be in something close to free fall. Just eighteen months ago Labour alone were at fifty percent support in Wales; now they are not much above thirty percent.
What is also striking, though, is that the support that the old duopoly are leaking is going in various directions. Plaid Cymru’s poll rating is impressively robust – their highest showing in a Welsh poll since July 2016. The Liberal Democrats have also avoided being further squeezed by new competitors. Meanwhile, Change UK actually edges ahead of the Lib-Dems, while the Brexit party are also marginally ahead of UKIP. Overall, these result suggest a public having little faith in the two leading parties – but still being undecided about where else to turn.
Using the normal method for projecting electoral results from poll figures – uniform national swings since the last general election – this new poll suggest that five seats would change hands at a general election. Given Labour’s domination of current Welsh MPs, and the large decline in their support since the general election suggested by this poll, the five projected changes are all Labour losses: with Cardiff North, Gower, Vale of Clwyd and Wrexham all projected to be gained by the Conservatives, and Ynys Mon by Plaid Cymru. That would give the following overall outcome in terms of seats:
Labour: 23 seats
Conservatives: 12 seats
Plaid Cymru: 5 seats

The fact that 10% of Welsh voters are prepared to vote for Change , a party that has produced no policies , and are yet to declare just what they will "change", show just how fed up people are with mainstream politics . As Professor Awan-Scully it seems to be only Plaid and the Liberal Democrat who are at least for now undamaged .

It still leaves only five seats changing hands and local issues and a popular incumbent ,especially Ynys Mon where historically voters seem to be reluctant to change their MP, may play apart.

Professor Awan-Scully, continues,

Meanwhile, what about voting intentions for the National Assembly? YouGov as per usual asked about voting intentions for both the constituency and the regional ballots in a devolved election. Here are the findings for the constituency ballot (with changes from the April Barometer poll once again in brackets):Labour: 31% (-1)Plaid Cymru: 24% (+1)Conservatives: 23% (-3)UKIP: 7% (no change)Liberal Democrats: 6% (-2)Change UK 4% (+4)Others: 6% (+1)Here again we see a decline in the position of the two main Britain-wide parties. Labour’s support edges down again: well within the margin of error, but the lowest reading for Labour on this ballot in two years (ie. just before the Corbyn surge in the 2017 general election campaign). Meanwhile, this is the first time that YouGov have put Plaid Cymru ahead of the Conservatives for the Assembly constituency ballot since July 2016.Once again deploying the assumption of uniform national swings since last time (the National Assembly election of May 2016), this poll would project six constituencies to change hands. As with Westminster, all the projected changes are seats currently held by Labour: the Conservatives are projected to gain the Vale of Clwyd and Vale of Glamorgan. Plaid Cymru are projected to pick up Blaenau Gwent, Cardiff West, Caerphilly and Llanelli. Labour’s projected twenty-one constituency seats would be clearly their worst-ever performance at a National Assembly election.
Personally  I think Plaid will struggle in Blaneau Gwent to match their last surprise result and if Neil McEcoy is not their Cardiff West candidate , they probably will lose out . There is a question over Dwyfor Merionnydd and what effect Dafydd Elis Thomas may have on the Plaid vote and whether Labour will put up a candidate who could win on a split vote.

Which makes the regional lists even more complex.

Professor Awan-Scully, continues,

Now the regional list vote. YouGov produced the following results (with changes from April’s Barometer poll once again in brackets):Labour: 28% (-1)Plaid Cymru: 22% (-1)Conservatives: 20% (-4)Brexit Party: 6% (+6)Liberal Democrats: 5% (-1)UKIP: 5% (-1)Change UK: 5% (+5)Greens: 3% (-1)Abolish the Assembly: 3% (-1)Others: 2% (-2)These results further confirm the decline in the former dominance of Conservatives and Labour – but also the lack of public consensus on the alternatives. Both Labour and Plaid Cymru are more or less stable since our last poll, but the Conservatives see their vote share slip by several points since February. But several parties – the Brexit party, Change UK, the lib-Dems and UKIP – are all at about the same level of support: a vote share that could see them teetering on the edge of winning regional representation in the National Assembly.Allowing for the constituency results already projected, and once more assuming uniform national swings since 2016, our new poll projects the following overall results for the Assembly’s regional list seats:North Wales: 2 Plaid, 1 Conservative, 1 Brexit PartyMid & West Wales: 2 Labour, 1 Plaid, 1 Brexit PartySouth Wales West: 2 Conservative, 2 PlaidSouth Wales Central: 2 Conservative, 1 Plaid, 1 Brexit PartySouth Wales East: 2 Conservative, 1 Brexit Party, 1 UKIPThese figures therefore generate the following overall result for the National Assembly:Labour: 23 seats (21 constituency, 2 regional)Plaid Cymru: 16 seats (10 constituency, 6 regional)Conservatives: 15 seats (8 constituency, 7 regional)Brexit Party: 4 seats (4 regional)Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (1 constituency)UKIP: 1 seats (1 regional)
Not winning Blaneau Gwent and even losing out in Caerphilly would probably see Plaid retaining its Regional seat though they may consider running Delyth Jewel who has been impressive since joining the Plaid group in a a target seat particularly  Caerphilly.

Indeed the dilemma for Plaid if they continue to rise in the polls , is in making sure that they best  people get elected and not lose out if they win more constituencies , with perhaps  less impressive  candidates.

Certainly having duo candidates where "Stars" fight winnable constituencies, whilst also placing them top of the regional lists seems to be the best option  .

The danger of course is that constituency parties may resist what they see as imposed candidates, and a resulting party row .

 Winning may not be as simple as actually getting more votes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Labour party has only ever managed to get the third spot in Dwyfor Meirionnydd since the seat was established. A split Plaid / Baron D.E.Thomas vote is more likely to let the Tories in. I'm sure that would be a powerful message to get the progressives in the seat to vote Plaid.Even DET would be ashamed to be the reason for an extra Tory seat in the Assembly. Coming fourth or fifth under those circumstances would be a sad way to end a career.