ICM poll of Wales

The BBC have commissioned that rare creature, a Welsh opinion poll. On the downside, since it was commissioned by the BBC, there are no voting intention figures. Full tables of the ICM poll are here

Asked about how they would prefer Wales to be governed, 13% supported a completely independent Wales (either outside or insider the EU), 34% supported Wales remaining part of the UK, but with a proper Parliament with full law making and tax raising powers, 10% supported giving the Assembly law making powers, but not tax raising powers, 21% supported the status quo and 19% wanted to see the current Assembly abolished.

With the balance of opinion in favour of greater powers, a second question on how people would vote in a referendum on giving the Welsh Assembly full legislative powers unsurprisingly showed people would back it, 52% to 39%.

Rhodri Morgan continues to enjoy a net approval rating of plus 44, with 65% thinking he is doing a good job and 21% thinking he is doing a bad job. However, asked how well the Welsh Assembly was developing policies to combat the recession, only 17% said well, 34% said badly.

12 Responses to “ICM poll of Wales”

  1. It sounds like Blair was wrong once again to say that giving the Welsh an assembly would satisfy their demands for greater autonomy, just as he was similarly wrong in Scotland that a parliament there would stifle support for independence.

  2. Asking people if they would like more power is like asking children if they want sweets.

    Would you like more power: Yes/No ?

    Oh NO, please don’t give me any more power, I might not use it wisely. In fact, please take back what you already gave me.

    Not likely is it ?

    If you want to find whether Devolution has been worthwhile, then the questions need to be focused on how well devolved power has been used, and whetehr it is seen to have delivered either improvements or value for money. Offering a wishlist – as per this poll – is at best a waste of time, but at worst, likely to create dangerous expectations.

    Unless the Beeb have a hidden agenda, they really have a knack for messing up polling !

  3. “Asking people if they would like more power is like asking children if they want sweets.”

    That’s why the decision of the people of the north-east to reject an assembly was and is so much to be congratulated.

  4. We could actually do with a poll of voting intentions in Wales. See recently posts, including mine, for Cardiff South. This was included in the large-scale poll of marginal seats last Autumn to make up numbers in Wales, but then the poll found that the Tories were in line to win.
    I know that you can untangle some figures from GB wide polls, but the numbers are then small. Also, the validity of a poll in Wales or Scotland now depends on being able to disentangle voting intentions for Westminster and for Cardiff/Edinburgh, as it is clear that for various reasons substantial numbers of electors vote differently at the two levels.

    I’m glad to see Rodri’s still popular. It looks like he may get one of those rare things, a political career that ends happily. The trouble is that neither Westminster nor Cardiff Bay have other politicians reaching the same combination of exceptional ability, idealism and humanity, and it takes more than one to deliver a political programme. As usual, the Welsh electors are no fools when it comes to knowing the political situation.

  5. We could certainly do with some Welsh polls on voting intentions as we do Scotland – and indeed we should have them for England & Northern Ireland too.

  6. Interesting article in Todays guardian;


    It would be interesting to see a poll on something like the options on Scotland that used this method to see what on a 1, 2, 3, 4 choice would create.

    If devolution “max” got most firsts it could still lose out to a strong Independence vote which racked up less firsts but a lot more seconds.

    I would have my doubts about using this system but it would be interesting to see what result it would give.


    Could you get the information to work this out from existing yougov data or would you need a new poll using three questions or a matrix ( who knows if you float the idea to the Scottish press someone might be even pay to have it done).


  7. Interesting point re the NE referendum, however the no campaign was well organised and framed the question in terms of “Do you want more politicians?” and also in an anti-European way too. In contrast the yes campaign did not set out how more power would benefit the region.

  8. I agree that the referendum for the NE was helped to fail by a sensible ‘do you really want more politicians’ argument.

    But it was also going to fail as there was no sense of a NE need for a separate ‘Assembly / Parliament’; Scotland and Wales parliaments answered a need already in the population to a greater / lesser extent. (A sense of a separate nation needed to be answered in some way…)

    As such, the parliament was going to be imposed and so the people rejected it.

    Labour misread devolution; it wasn’t a call for people to have more local power, it was more importantly a call (rightly or wrongly) for some sort of ‘national’ body.

  9. Re the first comment. I agree.

    I think Blair will be remembered in a 100 years when many PMs will not be; he may have well thought devolution was a simple issue. he got it wrong. I think it is a process he started which will end with the breakup of the UK.

  10. Anthony

    Can you help me? 35% of those who took part in the poll said they either spoke Welsh fluently (14%) or spoke “enough to get by” (21%).

    According to the 2001 census fully 71.5% of the population reported “no knowledge of Welsh”.

    Even allowing for a growth in the proportion of Welsh-speakers since 2001 this seems like a very high proportion now claiming they can at least speak Welsh with sufficient proficiency to get by.

    Is it possible that ICM over-sampled Welsh-speakers, or is there something else going on that explains this rather high base? Perhaps ICM assume that some people essentially inflate their proficiency?

    Do you have any insight?

  11. Adam,

    Maybe if you live in parts of South Wales no knowledge of Welsh is “enough to get by” ?


  12. Given that Welsh is a core subject in Welsh schools, and has been for decades now, one would certainly expect more than 30% of the population to have some knowledge of Welsh, in terms of “knowing enough to get by”.

    The suspicion must be that respondents, and the Welsh are quite shrewd in manipulating responses, are replying not in relation to the facts but in relations to the implications they perceive of their responses. One way of looking at this would be to see how the responses break down by area, e.g. in relation to Gwent and Pembroke where quite a lot of people are actively anti-Welsh speaking. Even in Cardiff, there are specific areas (so specific they would be hard to poll, as neighbouring streets may be Welsh speaking) where people feel forgotten because they idenify strongly both as being Welsh and as being English rather than Welsh speakers.

    In the past, it was notorious that many people in rural Welsh would pretend, e.g. in shops, that they did not know English, when of course in fact they did.

    More technically, there are serious problems in assuring the validity of questionnaire items in Wales about language speaking. There are probably better methods of identifying language community allegiance, e.g. factual information as to school attended, which could be compared against other questionnaire items.

    Incidentally, just a thought. What language was the survey conducted in? Where all the pollsters bilingual? And if questions could be answered in either Welsh or English (and what about other languages e.g. in Cardiff), how many respondents used each language. If asked about their language, people with some knowledge of Welsh might answer differently to English-speaking and Welsh-speaking pollsters.