Regular readers may recall a YouGov poll of Welsh voting intentions back in July for Roger Scully’s elections in Wales site. It produced some rather strange results – not least because it had Labour at 46% in the Welsh Assembly constituency vote (perfectly reasonable), but only 25% in the Assembly regional vote, which seemed implausible. In 2011 Labour’s vote was 5 points lower in the regional vote, but 21 points lower seems extremely unlikely. This had happened several times in YouGov’s Welsh polls in the last couple of years, apparently starting since YouGov changed their blurb at the start of Welsh polls in 2012. The suggestion was that people who might not be too familiar with the voting system were misinterpreting the question, and instead of giving a regional vote, were giving a second preference.

Anyway, as Roger explains here, YouGov did a bit of testing to find out. Using a three-way split sample they tested three different wordings. The first was the wording that YouGov used to use pre-2012:

“If there were an election to the National Assembly for Wales tomorrow, and thinking about the constituency vote, how would you vote? And thinking about the regional or party vote for the National Assembly for Wales, which party list would you vote for?”

The second was the wording YouGov have been using since 2012 – note the phrase “your second vote” in there:

“In elections to the National Assembly for Wales you have two votes. One is for an individual member of the Assembly – or AM – for your constituency. The second is for a party list for your region. If there were a National Assembly for Wales election tomorrow, which party would you vote for in your constituency? Now thinking about your second vote, for a party list in your region, which party would you vote for?”

The third group got some new wording, very similar to the current one, but taking away the words “second vote”:

“In elections to the National Assembly for Wales you have two votes. One is for an individual member of the Assembly – or AM – for your constituency. The second is for a party list for your region. If there were a National Assembly for Wales election tomorrow, which party would you vote for in your constituency? Now thinking about the regional or party vote for the National Assembly for Wales, which party list would you vote for?”

As you’d expect, the different wordings made virtually no difference to how people answered the constituency vote question, but it made a massive difference to how people answered the regional vote question:

Old wording (no explanation)- CON 18%, LAB 39%, LDEM 4%, PC 21%, UKIP 9%
Current wording (“second vote”) – CON 16%, LAB 19%, LDEM 8%, PC 24%, UKIP 20%
New wording (“regional vote”) – CON 18%, LAB 35%, LDEM 5%, PC 21%, UKIP 14%

Using the current “second vote” wording there was once again an implausible 19 point difference between Labour’s constituency and regional vote. Using the old wording, or the new wording that takes away the phrase “second vote” the gap between Labour’s constituency and regional vote becomes a far more realistic 3 to 5 points. Going forward, YouGov will be using the new wording, using the words “regional or party vote”, rather than “second vote”.

Note, for the record, that these figures aren’t comparable to normal Welsh polls for sampling reasons (basically a proper Welsh poll will have a sample targeted at Welsh demographics, this was all about the comparisons, so it just went to a big lump of Welsh respondents, split three ways).


93 Responses to “Polling Welsh Assembly voting intentions”

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  1. http://smh.drive.com.au/motor-news/holden-to-cease-manufacturing-in-2017-20131211-2z5mp.html

    Australia is very interesting economically. There is a major boom in the mining sector, which has increased currency values, property prices and wages. But other sectors are suffering, as they deal with change.

    Should the Australian government intervene, by using earnings from the mining sector to subsidise other industries ?

    My take on it, is that it is dangerous to lose certain industries, as you then lose important skills. It would be better to use money earned elsewhere in the economy to subsidise companies to help them modernise/invest in new equipment/R&D.

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  2. @TOH

    “LOL, However my comments appear to be backed up by poll analysis.”

    True enough, but I’m pretty sure there are precedents that suggest that the Conservatives can’t win as well (and many thousands more for the Lib Dems).

    Perhaps not a immovable object and unstoppable force scenario, but more of an immovable object meets and immovable object :P

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  3. @TOH – have you seen Cameron’s approval ratings? Very poor for a 1st term PM and wonder if his ‘prime-ministerial’ ratings will be done any harm in light of the ‘selfie pics at Mandela’s service scattered in today’s papers.

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  4. Alex Salmond in 2007 and 2011 rigged the regional vote by using the phrase ‘Alex Salmond for First Minister-Scottish National Party’. This appeared at the top of the ballot paper, because the first word in the sentence was A.

    Thus the vote for the SNP in the second or regional vote was little short of their high vote in the constituency allowing them to pile up list MSPs in addition to their constituency total. That is how they achieved an overall majority, abusing the PR system and democracy. By my reckoning, and because the Labour vote in the constituency vote in Scotland was unchanged more or less from 2007, they were probably denied several more regional seats as a direct result of this abuse of the system by the SNP, and had the SNP simply been listed as all the other Parties were, then they would not have achieved an absolute majority.

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  5. The Sheep

    Try Mike Smithson’s website.

    Chris

    Just look at EdM’s.

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  6. I’m usually the first to point out how tiny differences in wording can make a big difference in poll response[1], but I have to say that the size of difference produced by what looks like an innocuous change shocked even me. When the July poll came out we were all scratching our heads over what was clearly a problem which had also appeared in the February poll. But I don’t think we thought it would be mostly caused by wording.

    It’s worth saying that there will actually be a real difference between VI for the two votes. Some of this is ‘conventional’ tactical voting – other Parties’ supporters voting for the ‘least bad’ lead Party in their constituency and then making their ‘real’ choice on the Regional vote. So voters for some PC, Green and smaller Parties of the left (who may not even have a constituency candidate to vote for) will be part of this.

    But there may be another, more subtle form of tactical voting. The more clued-up Labour supporters may realise that their Party will get most of the Constituencies in the region and so not be entitled to any top-up seats on any likely percentage they get on the list. So a regional vote for Labour will be ‘wasted’, not because they will certainly fail but they will certainly be too successful. So it may be more useful to lend your vote to another Party you are sympathetic to in the hope it may help them to a regional seat[2], possibly at the expense of the Conservatives. So this may well be happening in the polls as well, boosting PC, Greens, maybe even UKIP.

    If you compare previous Welsh Assembly elections the constituency and regional percentages that Labour got were:

    1999: 37.6 – 35.4 = -2.2

    2003: 40.0 – 36.6 = -3.6

    2007: 32.2 – 29.6 = -2.6

    2011: 42.3 – 36.9 = -5.4

    So there is clearly some effect, maybe even an increasing one. Similarly in the 2011 Scottish elections Labour had a 5.4 point drop between the two. But this phenomenon clearly wasn’t enough to explain the 20 point differences we saw in the February and July polls.

    It would be interesting the look at other elections where the terminology of the ‘second’ vote may have been used (London?).

    [1] This could be called the Cr*p Effect, from the famous case when inserting that word altered opinion about the Twitterjoke case.

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/2880

    [2] With AMS it’s threoretically possible for a Party (A) to game the system by setting up a paralell Party (B), technically different but ideologically the same, which stands for regional seats only. You then get your supporters to vote Party A in the constituency and B in the regional. So if you get, say, 40% of the vote but 60% of the seats in the constituencies, rather than getting none of the compensating seats in the regional you get 40% there as well. I think this has been done it Italy (natch) but no one seems cheeky or organised enough to have done it in the UK.

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  7. @toh – sorry to break it to you but it’s a bit hard to look prime ministerial when your not PM! Comfortably ahead on many softer but no less important issues.

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  8. Chris

    try reading my original post again.

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  9. But you still have the word ‘second’ – as in ‘In elections to the National Assembly for Wales you have two votes. One is for an individual member of the Assembly – or AM – for your constituency. The second is for a party list for your region.’ Would it not be more consistent to change this to ‘other’?

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  10. @R Huckle

    The issue with the car industry in Australia is that a) it’s already had a large amount of Government subsidy b) despite this it’s 30% more expensive to make a car in Australia than Asia.

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  11. nickp

    “NHS did my knee last year and sorting out the missis’s internals soon. ”

    I’m sure “the missis” will be delighted that you shared that with us.

    Trust it goes well though.

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  12. toh

    “try reading my original post again.”

    You are joking Howard?!

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  13. I guarantee that by 2015 Labour will have presented a “We actually ARE all in it together” One Nation thingy – and add, but, unlike both other parties, WE will protect the weakest.

    They will then support that vision with concrete proposals.

    I think we also know what the Tories and Cobber will do and the LDs will bang on about how essential they are to “balanced” govt but no-one will listen.

    There are no precedents for the next GE so all of that is irrelevant in my view.

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  14. rosieanddaisie

    LOL.

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  15. toh

    “rosieanddaisie

    LOL.”

    I may have to report you for LOL-ing at my serious posts.

    But as I am not sure if you share DC’s understanding of LOL I shall let it pass.

    LOL from me also, if that was the case.

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  16. @Julian

    I suggest you find a candidate for your preferred party with the first name of ‘aaron aaronson’.

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  17. rosieanddaisie

    My posts are equally serious. No serious offence intended as i know we do not agree on politics, it’s just that what you posted made me laugh and brightened my day.

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  18. @THE SHEEP

    In the 2012 US Presidential Elections it was ‘On the side of people like me’ that one it for Obama.If you look at the Exit poll results there is a direct correlation between the answer to the ‘On the side of people like me’ and the Obama vote. Best for the economy etc quite often Romney won on that.

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  19. Christian Schmidt

    But you still have the word ‘second’ – as in ‘In elections to the National Assembly for Wales you have two votes. One is for an individual member of the Assembly – or AM – for your constituency. The second is for a party list for your region.’ Would it not be more consistent to change this to ‘other’?

    Without seeing the tables and sample sizes etc, it’s difficult to be sure, but there may be some effect even with the revised (new) wording shown. It might be better to use “The other” or simply “One is” again so as to avoid only suggestion of rank. But the new wording does seem to get rid of most of the difference and it may be that some explanation is needed to prompt how people will actually vote in real life.

    Certainly in 2011:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Assembly_for_Wales_election,_2011

    all four Assembly Parties lost share between the two votes:

    Labour 42.3 – 36.9 = -5.4

    Conservative 25.0 – 22.5 = -2.5

    Plaid 19.3 – 17.9 = -2.4

    Lib Dems 10.6 – 8.0 = -2.6

    The surplus 14 or so points went to smaller Parties many of which stood in no or few constituencies. It wasn’t enough to get any of them into the Assembly though, though UKIP could certainly get seats on any on the figures shown here, probably at the expense of the Lib Dems.

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  20. TOH

    That’s very nice, thanks.

    I don’t really think political differences are that important to be honest: its all theory in a way, with very little empirical evidence, especially in a rapidly changing world, of what would work best.

    Paul

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  21. ps

    That’s why so few of my posts ARE serious.

    What matters most to me is my family, our little dogs and music….. and, increasingly, as I get older, a love for my own country’s beauty and character – even the rotten ole weather.

    All the rest is periphery.

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  22. Anthony has commented cogently on inconsistencies in relation to polling methodology,fortunately this has naff all impact on How people actually vote!

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  23. Typically London-centric news from the spivs, speculators and BBC weather people down South saying:

    “Fog delays planes at Heathrow.”

    Not a single mention of “Fog in BARNEY spoils Rosie and Daisie’s walk” or that we lost owr ball.

    Disgraceful.

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  24. Rosieanddaisie

    Almost total agreement with your last two posts.

    What matters most to me is my family, music that moves me, botany and ornithology, growing vegetables and yes the beauty our countryside.

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  25. @ToH

    As you like some ornithology -

    Much to our surprise, we had a single lone fieldfare in our small back garden on Monday. Haven’t seen as many fieldfares or redwings this winter as last 2 – maybe a better summer in Scandinavia.

    Does that chime with anything you’ve seen?

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  26. Chris Riley

    Not that common in Surrey so far this year so in line with your own observations. Probably implies that the Scandinavian autumn is milder than normal. Expect an influx if it gets colder.

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  27. @ToH

    Very interesting. Same in Cheshire. Suppose it’s a bit too much to hope for another influx of waxwings this year then!

    Shame, as I am very fond of winter thrushes. Not seen many migratory finches either – we often get a lot of redpoll and siskin and have seen neither. I am glad they might have an easier time of it than the last couple of years, of course.

    Can’t imagine it’s been easy crossing the North Sea of late either.

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  28. I saw a goldfinch our garden last week. The first time I’ve seen one for over 10 years.

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  29. “I would love all big 4 supermarkets to walk. Yes it would see a lot of people out of work but just think of the business opportunities for local firms such as CJ Lang and Scotmid, plus the dozens of others who would spring up.

    “Okay so it will never happen and whatever the result is the big 4 are here to stay. Shame really.”

    Allan Christie December 11th, 2013 at 12:34 am

    But you would eventually (10-15 years?) get back to another steady state of four or five large companies dominating the market. In the meantime all that inefficiency will add to shoppers’ costs. For example, Asda were once small — asda = Associated Dairies, a group of Yorkshire farmers.

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  30. Anyway, let’s all take a look at how thoroughly the people who *really* caused the financial crisis have mended their ways.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/10510228/Lloyds-fined-28m-for-sell-or-be-demoted-incentive-plan.html

    Ah, not one little bit.

    I would suggest that until the Government actually take this sort of thing head on, they will neither receive credit for economic recovery from the electorate []

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  31. @Norbold

    Depending on where you are, sunflower hearts will get you lots of goldfinches.

    Nyjer seeds are supposedly even better, but they never touch them in our garden!

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  32. al urqa

    “But you would eventually (10-15 years?) get back to another steady state of four or five large companies dominating the market. In the meantime all that inefficiency will add to shoppers’ costs.”

    I’m sure that wouldn’t change the masterplan – the next lot could “walk” then.

    Perhaps we should extend the idea to all successful businesses – can’t see any flaws myself…………

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  33. @rosieanddaisie

    Labour is great, blah….blah. How often do we have to hear these posts day in and out.
    If you have an opinion then great but please, please less Daily propaganda !

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  34. Heh, edited.

    Ok, let’s try a different tack.

    Any Government, regardless of its’ stripe, that does not actively take on the behaviour of our finance industry and ensure it acts in the long-term national interest, will not earn the trust of the electorate on economic issues.

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  35. Hi Marco,

    Labour is focus-group-focused, terrified of the Daily Mail, and nowhere near bold enough to tackle the problems it will (barring slaughtering itself electorally) inherit. It does, however, recognise that money and power will never cease to seek yet more money and power, and that, unchecked – in a country with limited resources – leaves large numbers of people destitute and a large ‘squeezed’ middle that struggles. Hence its reliance on the concepts of the ‘state’ and taxation of wealth.

    An overbearing state brings problems of its own, therefore the means by which the state taxes and redistributes need to be simple, universal, and to require little in the way of ‘policing’. No such system exists, but reliance on debt and the printing of money, which created illusions of prosperity until recently, has only a very limited shelf-life. A redistributive, sharing government needs new tools, therefore.

    The alternative, as currently pursued, is austerity for the poor and the middle, while power and money continues empowering and enriching themselves. Labour’s currently steady 38 per cent VI reflects (I can only say I hope) a distaste felt among a large block of voters for what is being allowed to take place. But I have no idea whether the current Labour machine can rise to the challenge these voters (hopefully) are setting them.

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  36. The tables are now also available via Roger Scully’s blog:

    http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/wp-content/uploads/sites/100/2013/12/December-2013.pdf

    I don’t know if they will appear on the YouGov archive as well. Scully’s blog says he will be doing more posting over the next few days, so there may be more associated tables to come. We don’t have the methodology three-way tables yet

    These figures show a higher Lib Dem regional vote that would keep them at their current Assembly strength with UKIP also getting 5 seats at the expense of Conservatives and PC. However it could be that the results in individual regions vary enough to give some surprise results with even the Greens picking up a seat of two if the can beat Lib Dems or UKIP in individual regions.

    Ironically the figures also show that UKIP might actually lose their Welsh EU parliament seat as they and PC fight it out for the fourth seat (after Lab 2, Con 1 on these figures). The poll suggests that they would both get 13% with effectively no increase on the 12.8% UKIP had in 2009. This is another hint that UKIP operates only up to a ceiling and presumably that is lower in Wales. That said it’s 5-6 months from the election and this is an increase on the February poll (apparently the July has been wiped from history).

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  37. It’s always the way. You wait weeks for a poll from the celtic fringe and then…

    YouGov’s Scottish independence poll is another quarterly Scottish poll reminding us it’s now about nine months to the date:

    http://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/2r7gjlmi92/YG-Archive-131209-Scotland.pdf

    It shows no real movement at all from September’s figures of:

    Yes 32% No 52% DK 13%

    to 6-9 December:

    Yes 33% No 52% DK 13%

    so if we’re talking movement it’s at the level of rounding and way withn MoE

    John Curtice on his blog has wondered if together with the MORI and (non-BSP) Progressive one this indicates a slight post-White Paper shift. But he gives the impression of a man becalmed in the polldrums desperately chasing the slightest breath of breeze in an attempt to make things interesting.

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  38. @WOLF
    @R Huckle

    “The issue with the car industry in Australia is that a) it’s already had a large amount of Government subsidy b) despite this it’s 30% more expensive to make a car in Australia than Asia.”

    ————-

    But given economies of scale, and consumers wanting lots of choice, and transport costs etc., SE Asia cannot hope to corner all the car production. Krugman got a Nobel for showing that, and the Germans prove it regularly…

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  39. marco

    “@rosieanddaisie

    Labour is great, blah….blah. How often do we have to hear these posts day in and out.
    If you have an opinion then great but please, please less Daily propaganda ”

    Absolutely no idea what you are on about but if you have specific example then do let me know or report them to Anthony.

    Was my post at 1.15 perhaps offensive to you?

    “I don’t really think political differences are that important to be honest: its all theory in a way, with very little empirical evidence, especially in a rapidly changing world, of what would work best.”

    tata

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  40. New thread- I dare someone to mention Scottish Supermarkets (it is a Scottish thread so you are entitled!)

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  41. Have you noticed how The Other Howard Is like a Barometer when the Labour lead is 7,8,9,10 he does not post when drops to 4,5 he starts to post again, you don’t have to read the posts to see how the Blues are doing just look for Howard

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  42. RogerRebel

    If you have read my posts in the past you would know i am not a Tory, indeed I do not like a lot of things this Government has done. I do admit that a Tory Government would be infinitely preferable to a Labour one though.

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