ITV Wales have a new poll of Welsh voting intentions by YouGov. Topline voting intentions, with changes from YouGov’s previous Welsh poll in November are CON 32%(+1), LAB 35%(+1), LDEM 13%(-1), Plaid Cymru 13%(-1).

This represents a swing of 9.15% from the general election, so represents a slightly bigger swing than YouGov’s polls are showing in the country as a whole. If repeated at a general election then on a uniform swing it would result in the Conservatives winning 12 seats (up 9 from now), Labour 20 (down 9), the Liberal Democrats 2 (down 2) and Plaid Cymru 5 (up 2).

YouGov also asked how people would vote in a referendum on extra law making powers for the Welsh assembly. 49% would vote yes, 32% no.


79 Responses to “Latest Welsh voting intentions”

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  1. Lib Dems and Plaid not doing well in Wales. Plaid have joined up with Labour and Lib Dems are using Lab slogans and attacking Tories. Tactic might work in in parts of England in Lib-Con marginals but very few, if any in Wales.

  2. Interesting that the Tories are up by more than 10% in this poll since 2005, compared to just 7-8% in the national polls.

  3. Anthony

    Is there any simple formula to use this poll to ‘reverse-engineer’ the midlands figures from the pollsters’ ‘Wales and Midlands’ subsamples?

    Given that apparent stability of the Welsh figures, I suspect that the best value for this poll is that it may allow us to obtain a more accurate view of the status of the large number of marginals in the midlands.

  4. GM

    I’m no expert in Welsh politics! but Plaid seem to be largely unchanged since 2005 and it’s a minimal change since the last YouGov poll.

    However, while the Unionists pursue their love affair with FPTP, a projected net gain of 2 seats seems to be encouraging for them.

    In the longer term, a 17% lead for increasing Assembly powers suggests that they are catching up with the Scots! :-)

  5. @Oldnat,

    I think you should be careful about polls asking people if they “want more” of something, as the answer is almost always yes.

  6. @Andy Stidwell

    If you look at the “regional” swings from YouGov, they have tended to show larger swings to the Tories in areas where they’re weak. The small sub-samples for that might make it look a little dodgy, but 1992-2005 concentrated the Tory vote in the South, so perhaps this is just a reversal.

  7. Neil A

    Actually, I don’t think you are right on that. A poll by the National Centre for Social Research last year in Scotland showed 60% in favour of the Scottish Parliament having control over social security, taxation etc (known as Devo Max here) while only 31% wanted control over defence and foreign policy.

    (I’m still confused as to what the 3% who did want Scottish defence and foreign policy, but not independence wanted to remain at Westminster! :-) )

  8. Wow, that seems a pretty narrow lead for Labour in Wales… who knows, 2010 might even be a realigning election, marking the end of Labour dominance in Wales, especially if last year’s Euro elections are anything to go by. Of course, it’s probably more likely that this is just a short term trend or even just a statistical blip, but it’s still worth remembering that just because a region has been safe for one party in the past, that doesn’t mean it will always be so.

    @Neil A: Don’t dismiss the devolution poll just because of the way the question is phrased – after all, there’s every chance that a referendum on the issue would be phrased the same way!

  9. Maybe if Labour had a Welsh leader they would still be doing well in Wales but not so well in Scotland.

  10. Well we are reading a lot about the main parties changing in Wales but what of the other parties any figures on how they are fairing on the lead up to the election

  11. There is a higher rate of unemployment in Wales than in the rest of the UK. This could be why the Conservatives have improved here

  12. Without wishing to butter up the Scottish contingient, let us not forget that the English Bad King Teds conquered Wales but never Scotland. Wales is therefore a principality, Scotland is a nation with every right to be independent.

  13. While it is only two polls, it would seem that both this and the previous YouGov Welsh poll in November indicate that the landslide change in Wales at the Euro-elections was no mere flash in the pan.

    Labour will undoubtedly be relieved to have recovered back to mid 30s and holding a lead over Cons, when compared to 2009, but there is no disguising that this is a massive shift since 2005.

    If Cons emerge with 10-15 Welsh seats at GE, and Lab fall to +/- 20, then this bodes ill for Lab at the 2011 Assembly elections.

    What price a Con / Plaid coalition in Cardiff next year ?

  14. That was seven centuries ago, Roland. And for the record Wales is not legally a Principality. Prince of Wales is largely a courtesy title and even in the Middle Ages didn’t confer sovereignty over the area.

    Rather more relevant here is the Act of Union of 1707.

    Not that either really matters – the constitutional status of Wales and Scotland will in the end come down to the wishes of the voters.

  15. Amazing Poll-confirmatory I know-but nevertheless this is Wales-Ancestral home of the Labour Party.

    Current Lab working majority is 63 ( I think)
    -so 9 from Con to Lab knocks 18 off this-it’s quite significant. Much more so than Scotland which is discussed interminably here!

  16. We should be wary of drawing conclusions from a small sample. Furthermore it is unlikely that there will be a uniform swing in Wales. It is very unlikely that the Tories will gain nine seats. The Plaid/ Labour coalition in the Assembly is seen as effective and this could help those two parties. The result of the European election has been seen as a temporary protest vote in Wales. I expect Labour to be up to the high thirties in the GE. The sense of Welsh nationhood is increasing and Rhodri Morgan is a good campaigner for Labour in Wales. Now that he has ceased to be leader in the assembly he will take an active part in the GE.

  17. @ Lin Rees

    “It is very unlikely that the Tories will gain nine seats.”

    Labour’s already going to win almost twice the number of seats for 10% more votes; I can’t see Labour benefitting much more from any “anti-Tory” sentiment because they already have. There’s far more scope for anti-Labour resentment in Wales.

    Of course, that’s no guarantee, but what is Labour supposed to do to stop Tory gains, if they barely beat them in total Welsh votes and those votes are already spread across a disproportionate number of seats?

  18. So according to a Labour stalwart another poll that is utter rubbish. I wonder we bother to take any interest in such inaccurate statistics.

  19. @ Roland Haines

    “…let us not forget that the English Bad King Teds conquered Wales but never Scotland. Wales is therefore a principality, Scotland is a nation with every right to be independent.”

    Right on. I’ll be expecting Scottish independence soon, then? Right after Andalucia proclaims its independent caliphate and Mercia secedes from Wessex, I’m guessing. And, whilst you’re there, remind the South of France to take the Parisian government to the ECHR for atrocities committed during the Albigensian Crusades, and the Crimean peninsula to unilaterally declare allegiance to the Greek state.

  20. Wales has actually been shifting to the Conservatives from Labour on a long-term basis, since the 1960s (apart from 1987 and 1992).

  21. @RICHARD MANNS
    What about Cornwall and Brittany teaming up as Camelot?

  22. OldNat:

    “(I’m still confused as to what the 3% who did want Scottish defence and foreign policy, but not independence wanted to remain at Westminster!)”

    Obviously these were extreme free marketeers and believers in “Choice” who wanted to contract out defence and foreign policy to the more efficient Scottish Parliament. There have been problems with the current American contractors and apart from the Welsh Assembly, the only other available contractor with an interest is the EU which doesn’t appeal to some.

    Another thing we could contract out is the monarchy. That could be a nice little earner and reduce the number of people dependent on the state.

  23. John B Dick

    :-)

  24. Lin –

    It’s a proper sized sample, not a cross-break from a larger poll.

    If there isn’t a uniform swing, then it would more likely favour the Conservatives rather than punish them. The biggest reason in my view to doubt a uniform swing here is that it simply doesn’t seem plausible to expect the Conservatives to gain 10 points in the Welsh valleys. That, of course, would be good for them, since they can’t possibly win seats there and any votes there would be wasted.

    For there to be a non-uniform swing that punished the Conservatives the increase in their vote would have to be concentrated in either the 3 seats they already hold, or seats they cannot possibly win like the Welsh valleys.

  25. Can anyone answer how many English retirees live in Wales? Is the percentage increasing?

  26. Anthony et al
    I have been looking at the Pippa Norris data once again and have looked at the swing in the marginals 2001-2005:- In 2005 the national swing L-C was 3.1%. But in the 31 seats won by C which L were defending, the average swing was 5.2%, as you said you would expect them to do better in the seats that they won. In the next 21 target seats which Labour were defending (described by Ms Norris as ‘ultra marginal’) the average swing was 4.87%. The next 50 (described as ‘marginal’) = 4.68%. Overall in the seats L were defending against C, swing = 3.6%
    In the seats C were defending against L, the swing was 2.6%, which sort of stacks up with a national average of 3.1%
    Does this prove anything? It does support a hypothesis that C might do better than the national uniform average swing in the seats that they need to win and where the electorate are aware that their vote counts.

  27. Spot on Anthony , I would expect the Conservatives to do best in the seats they hold and the marginals where they have a good chance and so as you state possibly do better that a uniform swing would imply though I am sure they would be pretty happy with 12 seats given they had none not so long ago. I think this poll indicates they are target to take their target seats and maybe a few surprises. Always more difficult to predict when there are four main parties involved.

  28. Whilst we’re on ancient history…. surely Wales was a Principality already before the English conquered it? So in theory it could secede and become a sovereign principality again (like Monaco for example).

    Anecdotally, I know of several English people who have moved to Wales in recent years. Usually the motive is to buy a smallholding or country retirement home (much like the West Country). I would say they would mostly shade towards voting Tory, and mostly in rural seats which are fairly likely to be marginals with Tories in contention.

  29. @ SEAN FEAR
    “Wales has actually been shifting to the Conservatives from Labour on a long-term basis, since the 1960s (apart from 1987 and 1992).”

    Is this true Sean?

    Wiki gives :-
    ( Westminster/%/seats)

    1964- 27.6 / 6
    1970 – 27.7 / 7
    1974 – 23.9 / 8
    1979- 32.2 / 11
    1983 -31 / 14
    1987 – 29.5 / 8
    1992 – 28.6 / 6
    1997 -19.6 / 0
    2001 – 21 / 0
    2005 – 21.4 / 3

    32% & 12 seats looks like a mirror of 1979.

    But that was 30 years ago.

  30. Jack

    The England & Wales census will break down the following by age, but for what it’s worth

    “Nearly 97 per cent of the population of Wales were born in the UK, including 75 per cent born in Wales and 20 per cent born in England.

    The Welsh authority with the highest proportion born in the UK is Blaenau Gwent (98.9 per cent) which also has the highest proportion born in Wales (92.1 per cent). Flintshire had the highest proportion of people born in England (44.7 per cent). One in 20 (5.5 per cent) of the population of Cardiff were born outside the EU – almost twice as many as any other part of Wales”

  31. Colin,

    I haven’t had a chance to analyse that list of numbers for Tory Welsh votes but shouldn’t it be seen in the context of how the party fared overall in the UK in the year in question?

    For example the Tory vote was well down in Wales in 1997 but then it was well down everywhere. It might be better to compare years when they won a Westminster majority (1970, 1979, 1983, 1987 and 1992) and years when Labour did (1964, 1974, 1997 onwards).

    At a quick glance it seems to me that the vote in Wales more or less reflects the overall success nationwide. In 1964 27.6% Tory vote lead to a Labour majority of 4. In 2001 21% Tory vote lead to a Labour majority of 167.

  32. The weightings applied to the N Wales breakout of results is based on Wales wide weighting (including the “Valleys”). As others have said this would tend to skew the Cons polling result down in N Wales as compared with actuals. There could be a disproportionate swing to Cons in marginals.

  33. Just a reminder that Conservatives topped the vote in 16 Welsh seats at the Euros. Dewi kindly provided a link to the results on the Wales Euro-Page if anyone wants to see which ones they were.

    None of these were in the Welsh Valleys. Conversely, Lab did not do at all well in rural Wales, with Con well ahead across North, Mid and West Wales.

  34. Fairly predictable cross-breaks by party on the extension of legislative powers.

    Party, Yes, No
    Con, 34%, 52%
    Lab, 51%, 31%
    LD, 48%, 31%
    PC, 87%, 8%

  35. Colin,

    Between 1966 and 2005 the Labour vote share fell by 19% in Wales, compared to 12% across the UK as a whole. The Conservative vote share fell by 7% in Wales, compared to 8% across the UK as a whole. That represents a swing of 6% from Labour to Conservative in Wales, compared to 2% across the country as a whole.

    In 1983, Labour led the Conservatives by 6.5% in Wales, compared to a Conservative lead of 16% across the country as a whole. An 11% Conservative lead would now generate a similar result in Wales, assuming uniform national swing (however, Yougov are showing a continued above-average swing).

    Basically, in both good years for the Conservatives, the swing has tended to be above average in Wales, and in bad years, it’s been below average, since 1966.

    However, Labour started with such a huge Welsh advantage in 1966, that they’ve remained dominant in terms of seats for most of that period. This is actually the first election since 1931 where they face the prospect of not winning a majority of Welsh seats.

  36. Reading your post again, it’s fair to consider why this 6% swing hasn’t been matched by a big shift in seats from Labour to the Conservatives.

    The Conservatives after all won 3 seats in 1966, and 3 seats in 2005. Labour though have fallen from holding 32 out of 36 to 29 out of 40 (on new boundaries).

    One reason is Plaid’s regional success. All the seats which they hold were won by Labour in 1966.

    Others are (as elsewhere) the shift of disproportionately Conservative voters from urban into rural areas and anti-Conservative tactical voting.

    Also interesting is the Lib Dems’ failure to advance in Wales to anything like the extent that they have in other parts of the UK. Once Welsh Liberalism was killed off in the Fifties, it never recovered.

  37. NEIL A

    I was really really just questioning Sean Fear’s assertion that Cons had been gaining in Wales since the 60s

    Indeed the context you mention highlights the Tory decline in Wales during their last 18 years of government at Westminster.

    This Poll still looks pretty striking to me-particularly when compared to 1997/2001/2005.

    Perhaps the point you make-looked at in mirror image-indicates that when Tories get 32% in Wales, they are in Government at Westminster ( 1979-working majority 43) ?

  38. @Neil
    To answer you history question.

    Before being conquered by Ted 1, Wales was a group of smaller kingdoms (such as Gwynedd etc). This is what made conquering it easier for Ted 1 as he never faced a united welsh army, just lots of little ones.

    Ted2 didn’t have any success in Wales before he was disembowelled. Come to think of it, he never had any success after…

    @AW- sorry for going off topic but at least it wasn’t partisan!

  39. Sean-thanks for your posts.

    Much more thoughtfull than mine.

  40. Colin, my point was not that the Conservatives were gaining overall in Wales, since 1966, but that they were gaining relative to Labour. The Conservative vote share has held up far better than the Labour vote share over that period.

    But it does mean that in a good year, the Conservatives are likely to get a higher vote share than in the past. Back in 1979, they needed to win 45% in Great Britain to achieve 32% in Wales. Now it seems they only need to win 40-42% in Great Britain to achieve 32% in Wales.

  41. SEAN-yes I understand-thanks again

  42. I really do like reading the comments from the Labour stalwarts on here. It reminds me of the 1980’s when I used to be able to tune in to Radio Moscow on my little radio while living in Kent. From our western perspective living in Russia was miserable and soul-less but according to them it was a never ending round of record breaking coal and tractor production and regional soviet committee jamborees………

    Yet again with a set of polls showing strong Conservative performance, it is somehow a success for Labour. I don’t get it. Unless my memory deceives me, the Tories were pretty well destroyed in Wales not long ago. Yet here they now appear to be neck and neck with Labour. This comes on top of concrete electoral proof of Tory success in wales; the Euro elections. The biggest issue that this throws up for the Tories is how come they are doing so well in Wales and so totally hopelessly in Scotland?

    Lin Rees’s point about Rhodri Morgan standing down in order to help Labour’s election campaign is interesting. Perhaps Gordan Brown could do the same; the evidence would suggest that many of his colleagues would be ever so grateful if he did.

  43. “how come they are doing so well in Wales and so totally hopelessly in Scotland?”

    HardpressedTQY-may I suggest that you read posts by OLD NAT & John B Dick to discover the answer to that question.

    A far away country of which we know nothing it would seem.

  44. HARDPRESSEDTQY
    I think in some cases its to cause wind-up in idiots like me who bite the bait. However, you must remember, if GB is called before Chilcot and shown to be a war criminal, it will have no impact on Labours election chances. If DC stumbles over his words explaining married couple taxation policy, it will mean Tory meltdown.

  45. @COLIN
    It seems highly probable both celtic groups are running out of faith with Labour. The very well led Scottish Nationalists are doing damage in Scotland and the Tories are getting strong again in Wales. Perhaps Plaid are to like Labour to get the benefits the Nats do in Scotland. Of course as Old Nat himself has explained many times, there are parts of Scotland where Labour is in blood cells, but certainly not all of Scotland and AS
    has capitalised.

  46. Roland Haines

    We are arranging blood transfusions! :-)

    More seriously, what might affect the Scottish polls in the future is that Labour here are increasingly posing as the Glasgow party, not a party for Scotland.

    Their strategy here seems to be to protect their heartland (note the singular!). Demanding that other areas of Scotland give up even more of their share of a declining budget to boost spending in one city is certainly a remarkable policy for a national party to take.

  47. Oldnat – Do we know how stong the Labour vote is in Edinburgh? – I presume it remains solid in Kirkcaldy?!

  48. @OLD NAT
    As a member of the Stupid Party it is difficult for me to comprehend the value of retreating into South Yorkshire, Tyneside, Central Manchester ect and to hell with middle England. Now you, the Caledonian spokesman tell me the self same thing is happening in Scotland. He is to clever by half that Gordon.

  49. JamesS

    (Sorry Wales! I have taken an interest in you, but I can’t resist a request to talk about my own country! :-) )

    Re Edinburgh. It’s difficult to know, as all we have to go on are the regional cross breaks in the Scottish polls, and all the usual caveats apply). In the most recent poll with regional cross breaks (TNS in Nov 09) the Lothians had the 2nd lowest Labour support (32%) – even lower than in the Highlands.

  50. Roland Haines

    Odd, isn’t it?

    The only explanation that comes to mind is that regaining Glasgow East is more important to them than retaining Aberdeen South, Dundee West, or Edinburgh North & Leith.

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