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. if arfon changes hands, ynys mon certainly won’t.

  2. Not necessarily – Ynys Mon has the potential to swim completely independently from the rest of country.

    I will preface this by saying that I do expect Labour to win here, but it would be worth noting that constituency polls have no track record of success, and if you discounted the Ashcroft poll as unreliable this would appear to be a very close race – Labour very, very narrowly won the Assembly seat with the incumbent standing down, while the Lib Dems topped the poll comfortably in the council elections.

  3. This seat was won after the Lib Dem ‘Tuition Fees’ promise. Angry students are now volunteering in droves to turf out the LibDem and in a constituency like this it’s boots on the ground that count. A big anti LibDem student vote will see them lose this seat. Remember the LibDems were saying they would hold the Assembly seat easily and they didn’t and there the majority was far bigger. I expect the LibDems to lose here and in Brecon & Radnor to the Tories plus I think they could also lose Ceredigion to Plaid.

  4. Iain is forgetting that 2011 is a long time ago….the Lib Dem poll ratings were about double what they are now (IIRC they got about 16% nationally in the local elections that year). If the Lib Dems remain below 10% on election day and Labour are within spitting distance of the Tories then the idea that they will hood this seems somewhat absurd to me.

  5. No Iain is not forgetting that, he was merely pointing out that there is an argument that the seat could be close.

    I personally expect Labour to take this reasonably comfortably, I was merely pointing out the tendency of many on here to treat the Ashcroft polls as gospel despite the fact we have no way to know whether or not they are in any way accurate. I think they’re probably fairly accurate, but it would be valid to pretty much completely ignore them.

  6. In most cases the Ashcroft polls are very sensible and confirm what we would expect to happen anyway. The most interesting thing about them is the high UKIP percentage even in marginals. What happens to that will be the decider in many of the seats that are not easy wins.

  7. My straw poll taken earlier in the year makes this a Labour gain with a 8% lead
    LIB DEM—-30%

  8. PLEASE provide some sort of backing data on these. Dear lord.

  9. Iain, I agree with you. As I posted back in January, the actual local election results since 2010 and Wilotts track record suggest a close contest. Still see no reason to change my opinion – especially given the recent Ashcroft poll for Cambridge. An established Lib Dem candidate may be able to hold a “university” seat.

    Richard : This seat was not “won after the Lib Dem ‘Tuition Fees’ promise”. Wilott won it in 2005 and came within 659 votes of winning it in 2001.

    Paul Way: You need to provide further details as to how and when (“earlier in the year”) you are conducting your straw polls if you want them to be taken seriously. A straw poll in Adamstown would probably differ significantly from a straw poll in Cyncoed – but both are in the constituency.

  10. Paul Way, NO Way

  11. Richard,
    Its interesting that you think students are queuing up to turf out the LKIB Dems over tuition fees by voting Labour!
    It was of course the Labour Party that introduced tuition fees in the 1st place (no mention in their manifesto)!
    Even now they have accepted tuition fees at 6k a year…a policy that could only benefit the better off middle class.
    I don’t expect this policy to hold for long…many in the Labour Party believe Ed Balls has got it wrong

  12. I’m sure a lot of students will be thinking about policy that was introduced when they were two.

  13. who are all these people in the labour party then?

  14. PLs Pls folks register to vote this election this election could take us back over 100 yrs or move us forward to a better future. If tories get back in it will be a wrecking ball to the reforms of 1945

  15. Any news from anybody on the ground here and in Cardiff North? Both very interesting seats.

  16. Canvass returns shows the LibDems losing this seat and Labour gaining it comfortably. Put it this way I’ve been asked to canvass in the Vale of Glamorgan nearby and Labour teams are being diverted from here to the Vale as their that confident. The message has also gone out to the Valleys seats too.

  17. Sounds like a LibDem ruse to send you off into the distance!

  18. Whose canvass returns?

  19. In my youth (in the distant days of Gaitskell and Wilson) I was a Labour activist. Our agent always used to say “Take your canvass returns with a pinch of salt”. Having said that, the Lib Dems will have to work extremely hard to hold this.

  20. The right sort of canvass returns tell you a lot.

    For example, to work out the mood on the ground we canvassed 2005 lab 2010 Con voters.

  21. I think if you had a fully professional canvas team, trained to ask the same questions all the time, not saying what party they are from, and getting a representative sample of 1000 voters spread right across the constituency and weighted for social class and previous voting intention, then they could be quite good! Oh yes, but that is an Ashcroft poll, isn’t it!

    Otherwise they are a bit rubbish, with results very personal to the canvasser in my experience! Canvassing is a means of finding supporters and tactical voters and persuading them to turn out… It also gives the lie to “no-one ever calls on ME”. I always used to reckon that on an evening canvassing I could gain 2 votes on average. Of course if you go down the same street where everyone put up a poster for you last year and this year they all set the dog on you, then you can draw an obvious and painful conclusion… But mostly people are over polite and tell you what they think you want to hear…

  22. Canvass returns are useful as a gauge for how your natural voters are feeling. If swathes of your natural supporters are slamming their doors in your face (eg Tories in 1997), you know you’re in big trouble. But canvassing can’t tell you much at all about voters who don’t support you, because even if they don’t slam their doors on you they are very unlikely to tell you much.

  23. They are contacts built up over several elections through telephone conversations & door knocking and council elections. They are computerized and include mean named personal correspondence can be sent to individual voters. They also include opposition voters and undecided voters and how often people vote from the marked register. So by all this regular contact you can tell switchers and hold a get out the vote campaign in certain wards. I would have thought by now in a targeted seat like this all the parties have an idea where things are going so they can decide where to deploy vital resources. I think these two seats were on the list of 100 Labour target seats which hadf full time canvassing teams in them.

  24. Early canvassing can also give you an opportunity to get people to sign up for a postal vote.

    But a word of caution or a caveat to that. Try to establish whether they are likely to vote for your party first.

  25. well, I live in a seat (Pudsey) that has been a Labour target seat and LAB/CON marginal for 10 years or more and no-one in my family has been canvassed by anyone in that time, in person or by phone…

    If the party machines were so efficient as to be going back to the same people time and again, surely that would not be the case??

  26. I’d be surprised if the Lib Dems don’t get slaughtered here, to be frank. I wouldn’r be surprised either if they ended up third.

  27. Jasper Moronnen,

    Don’t be silly! There is absolutely no evidence to support a Lib Dem 3rd place in this seat. Indeed as I have posted above, there is good reason to expect a close contest.

  28. The electorate of Cardiff Central dropped by more than 10,000 between December 2013 and December 2014:

    1st Dec 2013: 62,870
    1st Dec 2014: 51,334

  29. Do we know what the final register is Andy?

  30. Andy JS: do the figures you quote take into account the last minute voter registration drive?

  31. No they don’t but they’re the most up-to-date figures I have at the moment. If anyone has a link to the final figures I’d be interested to see it. But I don’t think the final figures will be much different to the December 2014 figures.

  32. People happily lie to canvassers. Don’t count your chickens.

  33. Was your comment addressed to anyone in particular Hawthorn? It seems unconnected to any of the comments which preceded it, none of which had anything to do with canvass returns.

  34. I should have said those comments that immediately preceded Hawthorn’s. There were some related comments back last month.

  35. LAB gain 1750


    You are right, I did not note the date of the post to which I was responding.

  37. Well I called this wrong.

    Easy Labour Gain

    Lab 15,462 40.0%
    LDem 10,481 27.1%
    Con 5,674 14.7%
    UKIP 2,499 6.5%
    Green 2,461 6.4%
    PC 1,925 5.0%
    Other 144 0.4%

    Majority 4,981 : Swing 12.7%

  38. Cardiff city centre was in Cardiff North from 1950 to 1983

  39. Cardiff Central was created in 1983, and does indeed include most of the old Cardif North seat (less Roath which was then part of James Callaghan’s patch:, Cardiff South-East). Cathays, which is the City Centre ward, was indeed before 1983 somewhat bizarrely in the old Cardiff North seat.

    Cardiff North is effectively the old Cardiff North-East seat, which was abolished in 1983.

    Callahan’s old seat of Cardiff South-East was extended in 1983 to include Penarth, and was renamed Cardiff South and Penarth.

    The seat which has changed least is Cardiff West which, although the boundaries have changed a bit at the margins, has always consisted in effect of that part of Cardiff West of the Taff.,

    Many of the constituency changes have consisted as much of rather confusing name changes in 1983 as of actual changes of geographical area. Things were perhaps easier to understand between 1918 and 1945 when there were Cardiff Central, Cardiff East and Cardiff West constituencies.

  40. There’s a Welsh EU referéndum poll out today showing Leave 55%, Remain 45% excluding Don’t Knows. Theré’s also a Welsh Assembly list seats poll which puts Labour on 31%.

  41. Latest YouGov/Welsh Election Study opinion poll for the Assembly election constituency vote:

    LAB 34 (-)
    CON 22 (-)
    PC 21 (+2)
    UKIP 15 (-3)
    LD 6 (+1)
    OTH 3 (+1)

    And for the list vote:

    LAB 31 (-)
    CON 22 (-)
    PC 22 (+3)
    UKIP 14 (-4)
    LD 5 (+1)
    GRN 4 (+1)
    OTH 3 (-)

    Fieldwork in ‘early March’, so possible Tories have gone backwards since…

    On these figures Professor Roger Scully is predicting CON gain Cardiff North, LD gain Cardiff Central (v. unlikely I think, but this is being done on a uniform swing from 2011) and PC gain Llanelli. LAB would have 27 seats, PC 13, CON 11, UKIP 7 and LD 2.

    That type of result would be satisfactory for LAB, who could easily form another minority govt., rather disappointing for CON and decent if unspectacular for PC.

  42. The LD gaining this seat in the Assembly is based on the 2011 results where Labour won by 38 votes.

    Labour will hold this seat, which is a shame, because Labour need taking down a peg or twelve in the Assembly and the local AM here is almost a complete non entity.

  43. It should also be said that any glance at the GE results suggests the Tories should fairly easily gain Vale of Glamorgan and Brecon and Radnorshire, although on a uniform swing these don’t fall (though the Welsh LD leader is the AM for Brecon – not sure how high profile is or if she has a personal vote). The real battleground is Vale of Clwyd and Gower I think. If LAB can hold on to those at Assembly level they are still in a very dominant position, if they lose them then they probably face governing with less than 25 seats which is very doable given the divided opposition but not a great position to be in.

  44. Kirsty Williams does have a high profile and a personal vote. I would not be surprised if she held her seat despite the Conservatives easily taking the Westminster seat last year. If she does hold it things would be difficult for the current Lib Dem Regional AM unless there is a reasonably high Lib Dem vote in Montgomeryshire and Ceredigion without the Lib Dems winning either. Split voting between the Assembly and Westminster does happen – Ceredigion has always had a Plaid Cymru AM but still has a Lib Dem MP so it may happen in Brecon and Radnor or, less likely, Cardiff Central.

  45. I suspect that this seat will rather unenthusiastically return Labour in May.

    I know there is a Conservative comeback in Wales but I reckon the liberal-idealist vote in this university seat will be too strong for them.
    The LibDems have not fully recovered from last year and too many of the voters here are English for Plaid to win.

  46. P.S. I wouldn’t bet the house on it though.

  47. In the 1980s, this seat had more than its share of members of the Militant tendency. It is one reason Labour failed to win in 1987, as the cliques forced the candidate to purchase poor poster and literature form clique sources when the neighbouring Labour maginals (Cardiff Norht and West) had exceptionally good campaign materials.

    One wonders how far this seat still has a far-left reputation. For instance, onc can imagine that Momentum might have a considerable number of supporters in a middle-class student seat like this.

  48. Surely the main reason why Labour failed to win this seat in 1987 was that they started in third place, 17 points behind the Conservatives.

    Whatever the local party may have done wrong with its ideology or leaflets, Labour still achieved a 6% swing. This was really a very impressive result in a year when the national swing to Labour was only 1.7%.

    It’s true that Cardiff West saw a slightly higher 7% swing, but Cardiff North actually had a 1% swing to the Tories.

  49. To correct my own figures in the last bit, Labour did achieve a 4.5% swing in Cardiff North in 1987 (again from 3rd place), but that means that the result in Cardiff Central fell neatly between those achieved in Cardiff West and Cardiff North.

  50. “In the 1980s, this seat had more than its share of members of the Militant tendency.” As it also did in the 70’s when I lived in it.

    I was astonished when Ron Davies stood down as AM in Caerphilly, the the current but retiring AM Jeff Cuthbert was selected. When I went to UWIST in 1974, he was the first Militant supporting SU president that had been elected in the UK, on the Labour Club ticket at University College Cardiff, SU.

    You’d never have guessed from his performance as an AM.

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