Voting intention polls in Wales are fantastically rare, but we do appear to have have one here!

The poll was commissioned by Plaid Cymru and carried out by Beaufort Research. The topline voting intention figures, with changes from the last time Plaid released figures from their poll back in September 2008, are CON 22%(-2), LAB 41%(+2), LDEM 12%(-1), PC 17%(-1) (though see the end of this article before paying too much attention to the changes!).

Voting intention in Welsh Assembly elections stands at CON 16%(-3), LAB 35%(nc), LDEM 12%(nc), Plaid 27%(+1) (changes are, once again, from a Beaufort/Plaid poll back in September 2008). It’s not clear whether this question referred to how people would vote in constituencies or the regional vote, but it’s probably not hugely relevant this far from an Assembly election – polls by Beaufort and NOP before the last Welsh Assembly election asked both and found little difference between how people said they would vote in their constituency and their region.

At the Westminster level this represents a swing of only around 1% from Labour to the Conservatives. On a straight uniform swing the Conservatives would gain only Aberconwy, Plaid Cymru would take Ynys Mon and Arfon (which becomes a notional Labour seat on new boundaries). In reality of course, there is variation in swing, and an election where the shares of the vote were almost static would see seats changing hands in both directions.

All that aside though, how much weight do we give to this poll? Beaufort’s past record on voting intention polls is not fantastic. Their closest poll to the Assembly elections in 2007 was for the Western Mail, and had shares of CON 19%, LAB 36%, LDEM 13%, PC 26% for the constituency vote compared to the actual result of CON 22%, LAB 32%, LDEM 15%, PC 22% – so Plaid and Labour were overstated and the Conservaties understated, though not embarrassingly so, and the gap between Labour and Plaid was right.

Unfortunately, the 2007 Western Mail poll was based only on those certain or likely to vote. In contrast, Morus at political betting has been playing detective and ringing up Beaufort and confirms that this poll isn’t filtered by likelihood to vote. Neither did it have any form of past vote or party ID weighting. The likelihood is, therefore, that this poll will be overestimating Labour support and underestimating Conservative support (who knows what affect it will have on Plaid Cymru).

What all this means is the poll is, sadly, not particularly useful to us; we can’t even draw any conclusions from the changes since the last time Beaufort did a voting intention question for Plaid back in September, since as far as I can tell the figures Plaid released then were filtered to include only those likely or certain to vote.

4 Responses to “A Welsh voting intention poll?”

  1. Bizarre that they asked separate questions on elections to the Senedd (May 2011) and to Westminster (any time up to June 2010), but not for the Euro Elections on 4th June this year.

    If we compare these Westminster figures with the actual Euro 2004 results we get:

    Con: 22% vs 19% = +3%
    Lab: 41% vs 33% = +8%
    PlC: 17% vs 17% = nc
    LD: 12% vs 11% = -1%
    (No UKIP figures given here but they polled same as LDs in 2004)

    That would suggests that the Euro results will be a mind-blowing: Lab 2, Con 1, PC 1 – i.e. no change. But then, either Lab would have to climb above 50% or Con or PC fall below 15% for there to be any change. Both Con and Plaid could see a 5% increase in their score with it making no difference to the result.

    Note that for LDs to claim an MEP in Wales they would have to overtake either Plaid or Con. Actual % is immaterial unless they get past half of Lab’s vote – which seems unlikely.

  2. What a stupendously useless poll this seems to be !!

    Wonder how robust the sampling is?

  3. er, I didn’t leave that second posting though it’s unclear why anybody should feel the need to impersonate me !!!!

  4. How strange – I’ve deleted it.