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. A fascinating piece AW, thank you.

    But what has Ann in Wales done to deserve a set of gears at the top of the thread? What’s wrong with this?

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_Wales.svg

  2. Luvly, luvly, luvly.

  3. Who came up with the dodgy wording? I think s/he should be named & shamed. ;-)

    Actually, I don’t know if s/he is appropriate because I’m not aware of any YG women who write or speak about political polls! If there’s any, they seem to have a low profile.

  4. Reading through all the stats etc I think we are looking at UKIP possibly winning several seats in Wales, at least on the list vote.

    That really would be a breakthrough.

  5. PHIL HAINES

    Well spotted and agreed.

    Come on Mr Wells put the dragon up.

  6. Well done YouGov for testing their methodology and catching and fixing the error.

    The two main parties must be relieved you’re not sticking with the second wording- they were both behind Ukip!

  7. I have to say, for any Ukip AM who dares to get themselves elected the Welsh Assembly is going to be a tough crowd.

    Labour, Plaid and the Lib Dems already team up to kick the Tories, which is rather unkind since the Tories are only the Opposition and the opposition parties really should be teaming up to kick the Government. I can’t imagine what they’d do to a Ukipper.

  8. The fact that such an apparently innocuous shift in wording in a second question on VI can produce such startling shifts in VI is a finding in itself.

    That’s something to bear in mind when considering Lord Ashcroft’s polling in marginals, because many seem willing to discount the results of his initial standard VI question in favour of a similar but slightly reworded second VI question. In those Lord Ashcroft polls we need some control polling based on split samples to have any confidence that the second question is the one which really matters.

  9. SPEARMINT

    Absolutely. The Welsh media and public would give them a tough time. I think they would be treated as an outsiders party. One which is more in tune with the South East of England, a sort of little Englander (not meaning to be disrespectable) party sneaking its way up and doon the valleys.

  10. Question 2 shows you what a tough job poor Leanne Wood has, too. Plaid Cymru is Wales’ clear second choice, but that Welsh Labour vote is just so solid- even on the lists where it’s practically a wasted vote Plaid can’t make much headway.

    Although I suppose up 3% in two years isn’t terrible.

  11. @Spearmint

    “I can’t imagine what they’d do to a Ukipper.”

    Based on past performance, call him/her a lot of bad names then refuse to answer the questions to the questioner’s satisfaction (UK politics 101).

    For those that are interested, I have posted something in the previous thread, which was pertinent to the topics therein. I would have posted something about Wales, but I don’t know anything about Wales, other than Ryan Giggs. Spent a week in St. Davids once. Nice place.

  12. Very interesting — and very relevant for Scottish Parliament elections, too! Has YouGov always been using the same wording in Scotland and Wales?

  13. YouGov 3 x 5 point leads in a row. Almost the same as yesterday.

    Incidently has anyone heard anything about how the supermarkets in Scotland are possibly going to charge more if Scotland goes independent? I’m sure I read it somewhere but can’t remember where….

  14. Financial crunch?
    Posters should remember that the very last front-line politician to deny there was a banking crisis was A Salmond who attacked the “spivs and speculators in London” for the crisis in the Royal Bank of Scotland.
    Even later, all SNP cuncillors on pension trusts were ordered (sic) to vote against the takeover of HBOS by Lloyds on the grounds that HBOS was a sound business which did not require help.

  15. barney

    “Posters should remember that the very last front-line politician to deny there was a banking crisis was A Salmond who attacked the “spivs and speculators in London” for the crisis in the Royal Bank of Scotland.”

    Sacrilege.

  16. SHEVll

    “Incidently has anyone heard anything about how the supermarkets in Scotland are possibly going to charge more if Scotland goes independent? I’m sure I read it somewhere but can’t remember where”
    _____

    I read it on the Huff post but it’s origins came from the FT when Morrison’s and Asda were quoted as saying prices might go up in a independent Scotland. Sainsbury’s and Tesco declined to comment which I found to be very wise .

    If I was a retailer then I would stay out of the debate because whichever side you come out in favour of then others will be upset and could harm turnover.

    Personally speaking I would like to see the big 4 take a hike and maybe we would get our high streets back. Not just in Scotland but throughout the UK.

  17. BARNEY

    “Posters should remember that the very last front-line politician to deny there was a banking crisis was A Salmond who attacked the “spivs and speculators in London” for the crisis in the Royal Bank of Scotland”
    ________

    Thanks for sharing that with us but it didn’t do Salmond any harm at the polls so I doubt the public are too concerned what was said.

  18. @ SHEVII

    Thanks for that about the supermarkets. It could be the most fascinating subject ever broached by anybody and it would be a shame if it was not fully explored on this thread.
    Where’s Alec when you need him?

  19. Headline figures from the new YouGov polling in Wales have been released by ITV.

    Changes from GE 2010
    Lab + 10%, Con-5%, Plaid + 1%, UKIP +8%, LDs -12%

    Lots more on the Assembly as well

    http://www.itv.com/news/wales/2013-12-10/new-poll-tracks-welsh-voters/

    Looks like being a regular series, so AW really needs to get that Welsh flag sorted.

  20. LDs just lost 60% of their VI then.

  21. To be fair pups, that’s about what they’ve lost nationally!

  22. And the tories with a ‘Scottish’ sort of result.
    Hegemony, what hegemony?

  23. What’s all this about egg money?

  24. Guymonde

    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.

  25. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/10459541/Britains-leading-supermarkets-lose-market-share-as-Aldi-and-Waitrose-soar.html

    Tesco and Sainburys are very South oriented. The other two are less so. Definitely proof that more choice is good for consumers.

    Similarly, more political choice is good for the electorate (if the options are good).

  26. @Phil

    Thanks for that link. I see there is also a Wales 2014 European election poll included: (changes from 2009 Euro election result)

    Labour 41% (+21%)
    Conservative 20% (-1%)
    Plaid Cymru 13% (-5%)
    UKIP 13% (no change)
    Liberal Democrats 8% (-3%)
    Others 5% (-12%)

    Although I think Anthony has told us before that EU election polls this far in advance of the election are meaningless, I think that those expecting a UKIP first place may be wrong.

  27. STATGEEK

    Great link and it is heartening to see other supermarkets gaining increased sales and the big 4 or 5 dropping. I also note that Aldi and Lidl are buying more Scottish and in the south British products so none of the big 4 can say they alone buy British.

    I can’t see what all the fuss is about Morrisons and Asda having to put prices up in an independent Scotland when Lidl and Aldi who are both much bigger than Morrisons and Sainsbury’s operate in over a dozen countries.

    I seriously think Asda and Morrisons will pay a heavy price for interfering in what is a very sensitive issue for many voters.

  28. Um, people, the reason why you’ve got the gears rather than the dragon is that this is a methodology post rather than a Welsh one. Presumably when the tables are available (later today?), we’ll get all the details as trailed by Phil and Richard above and Anthony will do a post looking at the results rather than how they got them.

  29. Looking at the latest yougov I think it’s clear that FPTP is going to destroy the Tories. All their vote is in the South East and appears to be aging fast too.

    They need to make real headway in the Midlands as their vote still sees to be shrinking in the North, Scotland and Wales. many of their policies seem “aimed” at shoring up said support but so far Lab seem to be maintaining a lead (but Wales might be confusing the Yougov regional picture).

    It’s probably true to say that some areas look perpetually Tory…where I live for instance. But whereever there is a marginal is the Tory support shrinking?

    Somebody said on the last thread that a post-independence Scotland won’t be going Tory. It looks the same for England, to me.

  30. Good Morning All.
    Good Morning Nick.

    I know a teacher who tells his students that the ideal scenario is to live in a Tory area, while voting Labour

  31. Morning Chris.

    As you teachers have it so easy with your long holidays and gilt-edged pensions (read it somewhere) you must be practically broken up for Christmas by now, if you haven’t retired with the contents of Fort Knox bleeding into your bank account.

    I find myself living in a Tory area and it is very nice, thank you. No shortage of services as far as I can see…but that might be because I don’t need them except the kid’s schools, occasional doctor and the roads. NHS did my knee last year and sorting out the missis’s internals soon.

    But that might be because the area is wealthy rather than run by Tory wizards!

  32. Labour lead at 5

    Latest YouGov / The Sun results 10th Dec

    Con 34%
    Lab 39%
    LD 9%
    UKIP 12%
    APP -22

    That’s 3 leads of 5% in a row from YouGov

  33. But that might be because the area is wealthy rather than run by Tory wizards!

    ………….or perhaps because it is!

    Just to ensure balance.

  34. Yesterdays 5 pt lead had app of -30 whilst todays is -22 (the best for a while I think) but with the cons only getting an extra 1% on VI?

    We saw this before the conferences with approval improving but VI only a little.

    Only one poll but reckon worth keeping a eye on the approval rating as if the improvement is real the Government will expect some VI benefit eventually.

  35. @chrislane1945 – ” …live in a Tory area, while voting Labour”

    Living in a Labour (town centre) ward within a Tory area can be a different matter.

    I had a chat with the planning director once, and mentioned the difference in overall conditions urban/suburban. In urban areas, businesses/network rail/highways agency etc leave the environment looking very harsh and rubbish strewn compared to the manicured suburban landscape.

    I was making an argument for some better quality street furniture… the busy pavement under a railway bridge had been almost blocked by roadsigns/cctv ironmongery. I was told: “Give these people something decent and they will only smash it up.”

  36. “Where’s Alec when you need him?”

    Just nipping out to get the groceries. Have you seen the prices these days? Something should be done.

  37. For those who poured scorn on my prediction for 2015, there is a piece by Atul Hatwal at Labour Uncut which supports my view………….

    “The fundamentals of politics do not change. Voters generally make their electoral choice on the basis of who they feel is best suited to be prime minister and which party they feel is the most economically competent. No opposition has ever won an election while being behind on both economic competence and leadership. ”

    Food for thought for some who post here I think.

  38. [There seem to be a lot of posts about Scotland given that there’s no Scottish flag visible. Jus’ sayin’ like…]

    I would have liked to see a version that removed the word “second” from the preamble, too.

  39. Morning Everyone,

    @The other Howard – food for thought indeed – quite a way to go though based on recent polling but this weeks polling shows it could be on the move at last – but only just.

  40. @The Other Howard

    “Food for thought for some who post here I think.”

    http://xkcd.com/1122/

  41. SINE NOMINE

    Agreed.

  42. Depends what is meant by economically competent, TOH. Competent to balance books? Competent to secure ‘my livelihood’? Right now the two clash and it’s not hard to show why. Best PM tends to mean best able to run an economically competent government, so again it’s all down to what the economy means to the voter in the booth.

  43. Anarchists Unite

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

  44. Hi Sine N,

    This week’s polling merely shows the Conservative VI firming a little. The Labour VI remains the same.

  45. @Roger M
    “Um, people, the reason why you’ve got the gears rather than the dragon is that this is a methodology post rather than a Welsh one.”
    _____________

    Ah. But looking back, the official Welsh symbol seems to be the ubiquitous bar chart, which is hardly any more appropriate, even if the red is always ahead of the blue. The point still stands – why do only the Scots deserve a flag?
    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/7043

  46. As Anarchists demonstrates, these ‘rules’ are not irrefrangible (I love that word!) but any Lab supporter who thinks 2015 is a done deal is not realistic.
    I think the serial bungling of the current lot (to quote something else that Hatwal said) is likely to continue, and provide periodic boosts, and the economic recovery is built on sand that may not hold together until 2015, but Lab needs a much more developed narrative.

  47. A question to Welsh voters. Do you receive party literature telling you how to vote so as to remove the misunderstandings revealed by Anthony?

    So sample voting slips with the items displayed?

  48. GUYMONDE – Good summary

  49. GuyMonde
    ” Lab needs a much more developed narrative”

    true – but not yet (if I were it).

  50. @TOH

    Can you point me in the direction of evidence that shows that “Voters generally make their electoral choice on the basis of who they feel is best suited to be prime minister and which party they feel is the most economically competent”?

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