Cardiff Central

2015 Result:
Conservative: 5674 (14.7%)
Labour: 15462 (40%)
Lib Dem: 10481 (27.1%)
Plaid Cymru: 1925 (5%)
Green: 2461 (6.4%)
UKIP: 2499 (6.5%)
TUSC: 110 (0.3%)
Independent: 34 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 4981 (12.9%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: Wales, South Glamorgan. Part of the Cardiff council area.

Main population centres: Cardiff, Roath, Pentwyn, Cyncoed.

Profile: A compact seat which includes the city centre itself, the Millenium Stadium, the university area of Cardiff, the Victorian avenues and terraces of Roath and the leafy suburb of Cyncoed to the north. It is very much a university seat, with one of the highest proportions of students of any seat in the country.

Politics: Containing some of the more affluent and desirable suburbs of Cardiff, Cardiff central was a Conservative held marginal during the 1980s. However since then the Liberal Democrats surplanted them in second place, and ultimately won the seat in 2005 before losing it again in the post-coaltion rout of 2015.

Current MP
JO STEVENS (Labour) Born 1966, Swansea. Educated at Manchester University. Former solicitor. First elected as MP for Cardiff Central in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 7799 (22%)
Lab: 10400 (29%)
LDem: 14976 (41%)
PC: 1246 (3%)
Oth: 1730 (5%)
MAJ: 4576 (13%)
Con: 3339 (9%)
Lab: 12398 (34%)
LDem: 17991 (50%)
PC: 1271 (4%)
Oth: 1133 (3%)
MAJ: 5593 (15%)
Con: 5537 (16%)
Lab: 13451 (39%)
LDem: 12792 (37%)
PC: 1680 (5%)
Oth: 1382 (4%)
MAJ: 659 (2%)
Con: 8470 (20%)
Lab: 18464 (44%)
LDem: 10541 (25%)
PC: 1504 (4%)
Oth: 3274 (8%)
MAJ: 7923 (19%)

2015 Candidates
RICHARD HOPKIN (Conservative) Born Wales. Educated at Cambridge University.
JO STEVENS (Labour) Born 1966, Swansea. Educated at Manchester University. Solicitor.
JENNIFER WILLOTT (Liberal Democrat) Born 1974, Wimbledon. Educated at Wimbledon High School and Durham University. Researcher to Lembit Opik. Merton councillor 1998-2000. Contested Cardiff Central 2001. MP for Cardiff Central 2005 to 2015. Government whip since 2012.
CHRIS VON RUHLAND (Green) Born London. Biomedical scientist. Contested Cardiff North 2010.
MARTIN POLLARD (Plaid) Born 1977, London. Educated at Cardiff University. Education officer.
KAZIMIR HUBERT (Independent)
Comments - 323 Responses on “Cardiff Central”
  1. I now see from Anthony’s list of candidates that Jo Stevens has been selected as Labour candidate here. Can we have information about her as the quality of the Labour candidate will be of considerable importance in this seat?

  2. Peter, I don’t think I am partisan. It is my opinion that the Lib Dems will narrowly hold this seat. I have predicted that they will lose many seats that people here think they will hold (Yardley, for instance, and St. Austell, and possibly Bermondsey), and generally have not been incredibly partisan.

    Yes, I do think, and it is my right to think, that they have a vague shot at gaining Maidstone. I have never, nor will I ever, say that I think they WILL gain Maidstone, I have simply said, and I continue to say, that they COULD gain Maidstone, due to local circumstances and a weak incumbent.

    I am also not a Lib Dem. It is unlikely in the extreme that I will vote for that party in 2015, although I have in points in the past (albeit not regularly).

    In other words, each time you talk about my positions and opinions, you get them wrong. Please think before you post, and actually do research into what you’re accusing me and other posters of before you launch into your silly, insulting, and baseless tirades.



    I agree, Jenny Willot will be further damaged by the fact she is a government minister and will be tainted by the Coalition’s policies more than if she had just been a backbencher.

  5. Given the large student electorate in this seat, I agree with Joe James B also, but it is still worth wondering exactly how large the swing will be against Jenny Willott, and what the turnout will be given that both Labour and the Liberal Democrats will likely put in a good effort

  6. 2012 local elections (top vote)

    LD 8518 (40.3%)
    Lab 6396 (30.2%)
    Con 2308 (10.9%)
    Green 2046 (9.7%)
    PC 1631 (7.7%)

    An interesting set of results, which will give the Lib Dems some hope (though I appreciate the argument that students are rather less likely to vote in local and general elections and may well be a decisive force in 2015 given that they constitute a third of the constituency’s residents).

    The Lib Dems won full slates of councillors in the wwc ward of Pentwyn, and the middle-class professional wards of Penlyan and Cynocoed. Adamstown went for 1 LD and 1 Lab and Cathays went for 3 Lab and 1 LD (3 Lab gains). Lab made 4 gains from the LDs in Plasnewydd to achieve a full slate there.

  7. I should emphasise that I think Labour will gain the seat, albeit fairly narrowly.

  8. TORY

    Very interesting analysis of Cardiff Central local elections – you don’t have the 2008 results by any chance so we can compare the two sets of results – may give some indication of how much better Labour do in GE relative to LE?

  9. I can do those shortly, Paul. What I suspect they will confirm is that the LDs tend to overperform here in local elections relative to general elections.

  10. This would by no means be a comfortable Labour gain. Even in 1997 their majority was solid but prone to be knocked down. There was clearly a Lib Dem vote back then. This was followed by a bad slump in Labour’s second landslide victory in 2001. If the Lib Dems maintain a healthy level of support in Cardiff Central, the seat could continue to go back and forth between in itself and Labour.

  11. 2008 figures. I have them down as

    LD 10002 (47%)
    Lab 4268 (20.1%)
    Con 3580 (16.8%)
    PC 1471 (6.9%)

  12. TORY

    Thanks for that – those figures suggest Labour did about 10% better and the Lib Dems 7% worse – enough for a Labour winin GE2015!

  13. Paul-

    Yes, I think that is a fair conclusion subject to the caveat that Labour obviously did a bit better in 2010 overall than they did in the nadir of 2008.

    Like you I tend to think that Labour will do enough to win this in 2015.

  14. A very narrow win for Labour which is handicapped by an unpopular local authority & by an incumbent MP to unseat. However a massive swing in the Assembly elections decimated a 10000 LibDem majority & a national swing (in Wales) against the prospect of another Tory majority government plus the student tuition fee factor which helped win the seat for the LibDems will see Labour home by a couple of hundred votes. This is not a natural Liberal seat so they are not embedded here, also a small Tory revival here could harm their chances marginally.

  15. Ashcroft (and by the way all these are the “in your parliamentary constituency” question responses):

    Labour 36%
    Lib Dem 23%
    Cons 17%
    UKIP 9%
    Plaid 9%
    Green 5%

    Hard to see Willott pulling back from that.

  16. Don’t rule the Lib Dems out!

    They’ve been blitzing the seat with glossy leaflets, as this is one of the two seats in Wales that they could conceivably defend. Also, they’re getting a company (based in London, by the sounds of them) to call electors and ask questions about how the area could be improved.

    Also, don’t discount the impact that a strong UKIP showing will have on the seat, or the degree of strength a Green Party will draw from the student element of the electorate.

  17. Plaid might have some appeal to left wing students too. They scored 9% in the Ashcroft poll.

  18. I agree with Michael

  19. I’d be reluctant to rule Willott out, though it does look very much like this will be a Labour gain.
    ‘this is one of the two seats in Wales that they could conceivably defend’
    Which of B&R and Ceredigion do you expect to be lost? I’d expect both of these to be holds, unlike this seat.

  20. “Which of B&R and Ceredigion do you expect to be lost? I’d expect both of these to be holds, unlike this seat.”

    Both B&R should be safely LD. It’s also likely that Montgomeryshire should come back into the fold, given its Liberal History, and the fact that we don’t have Lembit clowning around there.

    Cardiff central is everything to play for at this stage/

  21. Think the LD vote will drop.

    LD (25.3%)
    Lab (30.2%)
    Con (20.9%)
    Green (19.7%)
    PC (13.7%)

  22. what startling insight.

  23. hang about – 19.7%? What planet are you on?

  24. The percentages appear to add up to 109.8%

  25. Well, Iain, the Lib Dems will do so badly at this election that other parties will succeed in getting so many votes that it will no longer add up to 100 percent, obviously.

    I’d expect the Lib Dems to hold Ceredigion and B&R. I don’t think they’ll retake Montgomeryshire this time, although I could credit it, and Willott, while the underdog, isn’t to be ruled out.

  26. Think this seat will be something like:

    Labour: 34%
    Lib Dem: 31%
    Conservatives: 19%
    UKIP: 8%
    Plaid: 5%
    Green: 4%

  27. A (false) poll has been going round saying Jenny Willott is standing down and will be replaced by a man. Dodgy Labour tactics?

    Labour are favourites anyway. Their council is pretty shoddy and the LD’s do alright amongst the permanent constituents, but the student vote will probably sway it Lab’s way. Green party influence will be worth watching though.

  28. Strange that Plaid Cymru doesn’t seem to be gaining support in national polls, but in both Cardiff Central + Brecon and Radnorshire (the only seat specific polls taken in Wales) their vote is up by 6%.

  29. Its interesting that a lot of contributors – often on places other than the seat profile! – have got this chalked up as a Labour gain , probably influenced by the Ashcroft poll.

    Yet the actual polling since 2010 showed Labour making the most narrow of gains in the Assembly vote and the Lib Dems clearly ahead in the 2012 council elections.

    Further Willott has a track record when it comes to squeezing the Conservative vote – see 2001 and 2005 results.

    So I think this could be a very close result between Labour and the Lib Dems. Maybe only a 3 figure majority either way.

  30. It should be closer than the Ashcroft poll, yes, but Willott will lose.

  31. This seat is not quite dead in the water for the lib dems in the vein of Brent Central, Manchester Withington, Redcar or Norwich South but it is a probable loss. The Lib Dems aim here should be to remain a healthy second place which will give them a good base to take this seat back when the political weather is more favourable. This clearly is a seat with Liberal inclinations (local elections and Welsh assembly elections) and while the state of the lib dems nationally is almost certainly too much for Willott to overcome I expect this seat will return a lib dem mp again in the not so distant future.

  32. The only marginal Lib Dem seat, where Labour is in second place, which is highly likely to remain with them is Birmingham Yardley. They’ve done well locally in those wards and Ashcroft polling not too long ago has them ahead.

  33. …Oh and of course Edinburgh West.

  34. Wouldn’t say either of those two are more likely holds than Bermondsey….and “highly likely” holds does not apply to any of them…..I’d describe them as 50:50 shots.

  35. He did say marginal. Bermondsey on paper isn’t marginal in the usual sense, though it has to be regarded as such at the moment.
    I tend to agree with Pepperminttea re Cardiff Central. There is nothing at all unusual with the LDs (and in Cardiff North, the Conservatives) doing much better, and Labour considerably worse, in local than in national elections. They aren’t, in my opinion, a very reliable guide to the general election outcomes. It’s probably true to say that Labour does worse in local than in national elections almost everywhere in Wales, even to some extent in the Valleys.

  36. If the liberals keep cardiff central they may be put in a position to keep the tories in. Iv never voted labour but i might this time

  37. didn’t anyone watch Inside the Commons, the Lib Dem here featured in a few episodes with her small kids, seemed like a nice girl, though I am suprised she could juggle family life and work in parliament. She resigned the whip to try and hold on here.

    Huw: I doubt the LDs will form another coalition with the Tories even if they wanted too, their membership would refuse I suspect.

  38. I’m a Labour supporter so would be happy if Stevens won but would also feel sorry for Willott as she seems like a lovely lady.

  39. This seat is basically too tight to call. The poor performance of the labour council will only help the lib dems.
    Having been in Cardiff Last weekend for the rugby I visited some old friends of whom half normally vote labour and half Lib Dem.
    Now it is about 40% labour, 50% Lib Dem and 10 % don’t know or not voting.
    The main reason being the poor performance of the Labour Council.

  40. surprised shaun hasn’t got to this one yet. perhaps his dinner is ready 🙂
    l don’t think this is too close to call. the ashcroft poll here was pretty conclusive. unless & until it’s contradicted by firm evidence, l’m going for a labour gain in this seat by something in the region of 1,750.

  41. On the face of it – a comfortable Labour win.

    I cant see how this will adversely affect Labour disproportionately, however, this seat has seen a massive drop in the electorate:

    ONS figures*:
    @1/12/13. .62,870

    Btw Ceredigion – 10,500 – also seen big drops, comparing 6/5/10 with 1/12/14.

    There was only 27 ‘attainers’ registered in Ceredigion ( those 17/18 y.o) suggesting shortfall is mostly students.*

    * ONS published March 15

  42. Is anyone interested in a bet on no seats changing hands in Wales?

  43. suprised that this has so little comments, but from the Ashcroft poll you have to go with Labour, unless he re polls and shows up something very different in the next couple of weeks

  44. ANDYJS…If you’re saying you think none will change hands, then yes I am interested.

  45. It would be interesting to know what the campaign pitches going on here are. I’m sure it’s going to be a Labour victory – interesting to know to what extent the local Liberals have “gone maverick” as some of the more successful LD defenders seem to be doing.

  46. “ANDYJS…If you’re saying you think none will change hands, then yes I am interested.”

    Okay, it’ll have to be a relatively small bet though, something like £20 or £25.

  47. The odds of no seats in Wales changing hands would have to be huge to tempt me….20/1 or longer

    Given that a Labour gain in Cardiff North is a virtual certainty and very very likely in Central also.

  48. ANDYJS:
    OK. £25…I say one seat or more in Wales will be won by a party who were NOT the winner at GE2010.

  49. I will take your silence as a “No”.

    You must now be aware that two seats are likely to swap (Cardiffs C & N), another one fairly likely (Arfon) & one possibly (Ynys Mon).

    HH- Would not say no seats change in Wales is a 20/1 chance..more like 10/1.

    AJS- I would agree – with what I think is your overall sentiment however – Labour will not perform brilliantly overall in Wales.

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