ICM Welsh poll

BBC Wales had a new ICM poll of Wales out this morning, conducted in the aftermath of the Scottish referendum. Westminister voting intentions in Wales, with changes from the previous ICM Welsh poll in February, are CON 23%(-1), LAB 38%(-4), LDEM 7%(-2), Plaid 13%(-1), UKIP 14%(+7). This puts UKIP up into third place in Wales, though on a uniform swing wouldn’t give them any seat (on his blog Roger Scully projects these figures would produce 28 Labour MPs (up 2), 8 Conservatives (unchanged), 1 Lib Dem (down 2) and 3 Plaid Cymru (no change)). Asked about Wales’s constitutional future just 3% would support Welsh independence, 49% would support extra powers for the Welsh Assembly, 26% support the status quo, 12% would like the Assembly abolished.

Meanwhile tonight’s YouGov GB poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 37%, LD 7%, UKIP 13%


528 Responses to “ICM Welsh poll”

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  1. Considering some of the reckless duffers sitting in the HoC right now who were we presume selected by their local constituency party, I’m really not sure that party managers selecting MP’s would be such a bad thing. We might get more brainy wonks and fewer alcoholics

  2. @RogerH

    “””
    But the candidates invariably have to be from a pre-approved central list. Even UKIP requires parliamentary and EU candidates to go through an assessment process.
    “””

    Indeed, with most parties the intent is to make sure that the candidate won’t be an embarrassment during the campaign or once elected — though given UKIP’s form perhaps the reverse is true for them.

  3. Two by elections coming up. One Tory which UKIP are almost certain to win and one Labour which, according to the Times, they fancy their chances of winning. If they won them both and on the same day, wouldn’t that be an upset that would put the cat amongst the pigeons?

  4. Robert

    winning bye elections never really helped the lib dems that much. But I’m looking forward to nigel’s “prepare for govt” speech

  5. @Robert Newark

    Current best odds on UKIP are 4/1 in Heywood.

    Slightly longer than at Newark, where they also fancied their chances.

  6. Or put the fox amongst the chickens!

    If that were to happen it would play perfectly to Farage’s line ‘we ‘re gaining votes from all the parties”.

    I think more importantly is whether those elected would have enough traction to survive past 2015.

  7. On the constitutional future question, one way to interpret the results is to note that a record low supports indepence (as was the BBC’s first highlight). Another way would be to state that a majority of respondents want further powers (and later BBC reports noted).

  8. Jack Straw and Tony Blair to thank for the absurd closed list system.

  9. @Phil Haines

    “Current best odds on UKIP are 4/1 in Heywood.
    Slightly longer than at Newark, where they also fancied their chances.”

    Smart move by Labour to hold the Heywood by-election on the same day as Clacton. UKIP will throw the kitchen sink at Clacton, as will the Tories, giving Labour a bit of a free hit in Heywood, away from the public glare.

    Clacton should be an absolute crackerjacker.

    :-)

  10. Double the size of constituencies, give everyone two votes and elect two MPs F&SPTP

  11. @Spearmint, Hornet et al

    Spearmint gives an even-handed evaluation of the voting system question that I agree with almost entirely. It is a question of priorities.; there is no best system. But.. we are not restricted to using one system because our legislature is bicameral. We can use different systems for each. Elect the House of Lords by list PR (I’d use national lists St Lague method) and return some powers to the new UpperHouse and you have local reprentation and proportional reprentation at the same time.

    You also (usually) end up with a clear majority government (no backroom deals to form post election coalitions) in the Commons. But the government will almost always be in a minority in the Lords, so need to seek wider approval to govern, bill by bill. A good thing says me.

    And much better than that dreadful fix STV!

    Unlike the “single transferable vote” both FPTP and St Lague list are straightforward easily understood systems where voters make a simple choice the consequences of which they can understand, if they put their minds to it. The List system also allows a full range of opinion – STV (using 5 seat constituencies as usually suggested) simply bumps up representation for a 3rd or 4th party, and works against smaller groups just as FPTP does.

  12. “Two by elections coming up. One Tory which UKIP are almost certain to win…”

    With Douglas Carswell ousting Douglas Carswell. It’s not really going to demonstrate anything much.

  13. @Dave,
    If you had two-seat constituencies, there’d be a tendency for each major party to stand two candidates, and the same party would tend to win both seats. It’s actually been shown that multimember districts tend to lead to less proportional (so less representative) results than single-member, for this reason. The key exception is if you have PR (e.g. STV), in which case the more members the more representative, the fewer the less representative.

  14. “Unlike the “single transferable vote” both FPTP and St Lague list are straightforward easily understood systems”

    STV is a perfectly straightforward and easily understood system. It’s what the Tories use to select the leaders and parliamentary candidates, after all. It does require parties not deliberately spreading misinformation about it, though.

  15. @Chrishornet

    The only advantage I can see in FPTP is that it provides single member constituencies, which I think give much more direct accountability of the MP to his/her constituents. That’s one of the reasons I supported AV and still think it would provide the best system for the UK.

    Failing that, your additional member system has merit. The simplest way is to have a formula allocating seats to the hard-done-by parties, then give the seats to those parties’ candidates with the highest number of votes.

    Apart from simplicity, this has the advantage of rewarding effective campaigning and reducing the ‘wasted vote’ effect by encouraging voters to stick with their real preference.

  16. Oh, and a further advantage. You would have a number of ‘shadow MPs’ who would have 5 years to demonstrate their effectiveness and build up support, while keeping the elected MP on her/his toes. Should appeal to believers in competition and free markets!

  17. Playing Devils Advocate for a bit…

    Among all this clamour for increased devolution, I don’t see much consideration of the consequences of multiple tax regimes on a single market.

    Would it be more efficient to only have wholesale devolution of spending but maintain centralisation of taxation to prevent ‘races to the bottom’ and over-complex and expensive bureaucracy on large companies with nationwide operations?

    To ensure some fiscal justice, there would still be redistribution of tax revenues from rich to poor parts of the country.

  18. The problem with that Passepartout is that the centrally controlled finances would be controlled by a centrally elected government which would from time to time be controlled by Tories on the back of the votes of the densely populated SE of England.

    And seeing as the entire point of regionalism is for the regions to decide to spend more money on themselves, that might not really solve the problem.

  19. Passepartout,

    Made this point on one of the super long threads.

    I wondered if local sales taxes (hotel taxes etc) are practical as they have them in other countries.

  20. Passepartout – “Among all this clamour for increased devolution…”

    There isn’t any great clamour for increased devolution amongst the majority of the general public. The whole discussion bores them silly.

    It’s only political obsessives that are obsessing about it – and do you know how that looks to the voter?

    Like the political class is more interested in creating structures that will provide more layers of govt and hence more jobs for THEM, while the ordinary voter is waiting in vain for someone to do something about the things that affect their lives – low pay, over-crowding, the cost of transport and the like.

    If, as looks likely, the SNP gains seats in Scotland, EVFEL resolves itself as neither a Labour or Conservative govt will be relying on Scottish MPs. Hand some more powers to the Scottish parliament and job done, everyone is happy. Then politicians can focus their real jobs – you know, sorting out the issues of day

  21. “I don’t see much consideration of the consequences of multiple tax regimes on a single market.”

    Must be plenty of examples from elsewhere in the EU.

    “There isn’t any great clamour for increased devolution amongst the majority of the general public.”

    Don’t agree. It may not be dressed up as devolution but there’s enormous dissatisfaction with the remoteness of much decision-making.

  22. @RogerH
    I can safely say, without loooking it up, that STV isn’t used to select candidates or leaders in the Tory party, because STV is essentially a multiple winner system. I haven’t noticed dual leaders of the party, or two candidates for one seat recently.

    You may be quibbling that AV is STV for a single winner, which is true in a very narrow technical sense, but untrue in terms of its practical use and effects. AV is not a proportional system.

    The complexity of STV as usually proposed here arises from the multiplicity of choices offered. With 5 member seats you could easily have to rank 20 candidates in order of preference. Of course you need not do that ( though Australia obliges you to in Upper house elections) but if you don’t you are abstaining part of your vote – not something anyone would want voters to do. Worse still, some voters, despairing of choosing between candidates they don’t know or care about simply vote their lower preferences down or up the ballot paper, giving names at the beginning or end of the paper a bigger chance of being elected, and forcing the use of random ballot papers.

    And even if you do make the effort to fill in the paper as best you can, do you really know who you may be electing by those lower preferences. It can be shown mathematically that you don’t!

    In effect, parties issue guidelines to their supporters on how to vote for other parties, but even then a voter can’t rely on his favoured party to give objective advice – deals are struck about these recommendations which may not be in your interest. It has been known in Oz for the extreme parties of right and left to recommend each other as second preference as part of a voting deal, causing over-representation of those parties!

    Like all other attempts to square a circle, STV is a failure.

  23. “I don’t see much consideration of the consequences of multiple tax regimes on a single market.”

    I commented the other day on the complexities that allowing variable income tax would bring. On what basis should I be taxed? Where I live? Where I work? Where I choose to be registered for tax purposes? If I live in Scotland but work in Carlisle, who gets my taxes and what rate do I pay? What if I have a second home in North Wales?

    It makes most sense for all devolved tax-raising to be based on physical location – i.e. things such as council tax (or whatever the authority chooses to use instead, e.g land value tax), business rates, local sales tax, tourist tax (surcharge on hotel rooms/B&B).

  24. Robin – the threads were so long for a few days that I missed your comment which mirrors mine.

  25. ROGERH

    “There isn’t any great clamour for increased devolution amongst the majority of the general public.”

    Don’t agree. It may not be dressed up as devolution but there’s enormous dissatisfaction with the remoteness of much decision-making.

    That’s life. There’s a lot of dissatisfaction round here about decisions taken in the West of the Borough, fully 5 miles remote. It’s simply because the East of the Borough is Toryish and the Borough is Lab. There has also been clamour to secede from the Borough and join the Tory controlled neighbour… except that’s now gone Lab too :p

    Quite a lot of the Aye campaign was fought on similar grounds

  26. @Robin,
    I presume this question has already been decided, as Scotland has income-tax-varying powers, though it’s not used them.
    Doesn’t the EU require a uniform national rate of VAT? There are some derogations (e.g. a northern Italian town bordering Switzerland has no VAT) but I think a single rate (or set of rates, rather) might be the general rule. (Can you really go applying sales taxes on top of that?)

  27. Voting in Australian Upper House elections is a bit weird. You can order candidates by preference, but if you distribute preferences manually you have to fill in all the boxes – and there can be 50+ candidates.

    Most people vote “above the line” which means voting as we do in European elections for a party list. Then the party decides where its votes will go in the event of STV eliminating it.

    So if you vote for the Australian Sex Party, your vote will be counted for them initially, then when they’re eliminated it will be distributed up through the Green Party and finally to Australian Labor.

    The results of the Victoria Senate race from last year show this quite well: http://www.abc.net.au/news/federal-election-2013/results/senate/vic/

  28. Question for the polling / stat experts.

    First let’s leave aside the 95% confidence interval of polling and pretend that the examples below are from the 19 ‘good’ polls.

    Let’s use the YouGov five polls per week as an example. The five polls last week had samples of (with MoE in brackets):

    1703 (2.42%)
    1977 (2.25%)
    2029 (2.22%)
    2072 (2.20%)
    2126 (2.17%)

    Now if we take the sum of the samples (9907) we get an MoE of 1.00% for the average of the five polls…correct?

    Assuming correct…if we start weighting each poll based on age (say lose 5% for each day gone by), do we also have to adjust the weight of the MoE if using these differently weighted polls to come to an average?

    If so, how do we do this?

    Or does the MoE for each older poll remain constant, regardless of its weighting, and thus the MoE of any average is also constant?

  29. My problem with transferable voting is that a voter with preference
    A>B>C can have a very different power in effecting the result to one with preference B>C>A.

    In the case where B gets eliminated in a first round, the second voter gets to express their preference of C>A whereas the first voter never had a chance to express their preference for B>C and perhaps affect the first round result.

    The way that candidates are eliminated does create a differential between
    which preferences are considered.

    One system which would fix this, would be for N candidates, count the total votes of rank 1 to (N-1) OF REMAINING CANDIDATES. (so if someone’s 1st rank vote gets eliminated his 2 becomes his new 1, his 3 becomes his new 2 etc)

    I concede that without electronic voting the count would become impractical but it does allow every preference to be considered and not just particular preference orders.

  30. Alan – if A achieves the quota without the need for full transfers from the bottom then the excess is divided proportionately so every vote for A end up being worth a notional full vote.

    The STV Elections I have voted in use your ranking.

    So if A Eliminated votes transfer to B/C/D or whoever.

    Then if say B reaches quota their excess is split and in the case of the vote who voted A the proportion would be to the third choice (or their next preference not eliminated)

  31. “You may be quibbling that AV is STV for a single winner, which is true in a very narrow technical sense,”

    Well not quibbling, just assumed that’s what was meant (and AV does involve the transfer of a single vote between candidates). However I see that you were using it in the narrower sense of multi-member constituencies. Although that may be slightly more complicated the Australians and even some Americans seem to manage OK.

  32. Doesn’t the EU require a uniform national rate of VAT?

    The standard rate of in the Republic of Ireland is 23% – which is good news for shops in NI towns near to the border.

  33. @GUYMONDE

    “That’s life. There’s a lot of dissatisfaction round here about decisions taken in the West of the Borough,”

    Not sure what your point is here. That there isn’t a demand for devolution or that there is but it should be ignored?

  34. “Doesn’t the EU require a uniform national rate of VAT?”

    It specifies a minimum (15%, I think) but there are some derogations permitted, e.g. the UK’s zero-rated goods.

  35. The big advantage of FPTP is that it usually gives us majority governments. I believe that the public rejected AV because they thought it would mean having the LibDems permanently in coalition. The chance to “throw the blighters” out is invaluable.

    I would keep FPTP for the House of Commons, but have PR and party lists for the Second Chamber, with all parties getting more than 5% in a general election having a proportional share of the seats in the SC. In order to stop gridlock, and keep the primacy of the Commons, while the SC could delay government bills for up to a year and send amendments to the Commons, it would need a two-thirds majority to finally defeat a bill that had been passed by the Commons.

  36. I think the public rejected AV because a) the Tories went on and on with a dishonest argument about it giving some people two votes and b) Labour supporters were damned if they were going to do anything to please Clegg. Oh, and the pro-AV campaign was embarrassingly bad.

    I don’t think the merits of the system got much of a look-in.

  37. @KILLARY45

    “The big advantage of FPTP is that it usually gives us majority governments.”

    And is a majority government, particularly one with minority support, really an advantage?

  38. re the idea of FPTP allowing us to “throw the blighters out”, this can be done with PR if there is a 5% threshold as in Germany. There they really do get thrown out!

    Or perhaps the 5% threshold might allow them into the parliament, but not allow them to enter a coalition.

  39. What I meant by uniform national rate was a single set of rates for each member-state.

    I didn’t mean to deny the existence of reduced rates or zero rates, or different rates between different member-states, or different rates within the same nation (Ireland) where that nation is divided between two member-states. What I meant was, I’m not sure that an EU state is allowed to vary its rate in the sense of having different rates for different regions, e.g. a higher standard rate in the south of England or in Scotland (which is a region of the UK as far as the EU is concerned, even if we don’t like to use the word “region”). For example, my understanding is that to give Scotland the right to reduce VAT back to 17.5%, while leaving the English rate at 20%, would be disallowed by the EU.

  40. RogerH – “Don’t agree. It may not be dressed up as devolution but there’s enormous dissatisfaction with the remoteness of much decision-making.”

    If that was the case, people would have embraced elected police commissioners. Sort of “Yay, I get to choose who controls policing instead of that remote council”. But no, it was a total failure.

    Same thing with elected mayors – Birmingham, the second biggest city in the UK rejected the idea of an elected mayor in a referendum.

    It’s not the structures people are dissatisfied with, but the performance of the people within those structures. It’s a personnel problem.

    If you have new structures but the same old useless people occupying the new roles, what do you think will happen?

    And the cause of this personnel problem? The shrinking of political parties. Fewer people join so there are fewer good people to choose from. There are dozens of competent people on this board alone who wouldn’t dream of standing for office because it would ruin the peaceful tenor of their lives.

    Unless you reverse the dying of the political party no amount of structural reform with extra layers of politicians will help. It might even make things worse as a glorified job-creation scheme for useless politicians. Roll up, roll up, we’ve created extra political roles so everyone in the local party can have one. Full expenses too. Lovely jubbly.

  41. @Alan
    For an in depth look at that anomaly you could start by looking at Condorcet voting in wikipedia. Condorcet methods look at all preferences to find, if possible, a candidate who would beat every other candidate in 2 person run-offs.

    StV proponents will miss your point on this, as JimJam has done.

  42. And is a majority government, particularly one with minority support, really an advantage?

    Every government in my lifetime has had minority support. But how many people vote for a coalition? As a Labour supporter I would prefer to have a Tory government than a Tory-LD coalition. That just doubles the agony as far as I am concerned.

    Having a PR Second Chamber would give voice to all parties in proportion their votes, and while in my favoured solution this chamber would not usually be able to prevent the government from putting its agenda into Law, it would be a much more effective and representative opposition than the outnumbered opposition in the Commons.

  43. “If that was the case, people would have embraced elected police commissioners.”

    I don’t think so.

  44. Agree postage – i have missed it or not understood it as I thought I addressed it?
    I guess any system which means votes beyond the 100 (max) key seats matters would be an improvement for me.

  45. @Killary45,
    So the upper chamber would be more representative, and thus have greater democratic legitimacy in many people’s eyes, while having much less power? Is that really sustainable?

  46. @RogerH

    Mr N’s remarks about the Sex Party in Oz are a good example of why I reject Multi-member STV and why the Ozzies don’t really cope with it, they mostly let their most favoured party cope with complications of it all, and have a formal system for doing that. To me that’s a system that disempowers voters. I would reject STV for all purposes though. It’s probably the best method for a committe to select a sub-committe.

    I don’t have the same objection to AV, and campaigned for it.

  47. @Candy

    And just to add before I disappear for a while, neither PCCs or elected mayors are devolution as no powers are being devolved. They’re just different structures for managing existing powers.

  48. @ROGERH

    I think there is a case for devolution, but to entities that see themselves as such. Scotland is an excellent example, as is Greater London. Wales is a touch more debatable given the difference between urban South Wales and the rest.

    If you devolved to (say) the North West, this is not really an entity. Greater Manchester probably is, and Far Greater Liverpool but rural Lancastrians and Cumberlanders probably have more in common with Sussex than Manchester.

    I think it would be better to devolve in England to ‘supercouncils’ rather than regions, possibly in a similar manner to French Regions (of which there are 22) though I am far from an expert.

  49. @Killary
    The electorate were misled, if the evidence of AV in Australia is anything to go by – one coalition in 90+ years of using AV doesn’t suggest that the LibDems would be permanently empowered. In fact it suggests that the squeeze on centre parties is stronger under AV than under FPTP.

    That didn’t stop a lot of the LibDems believing it though.

    I think that their idea was that if they managed another coalition under AV, even with reduced seats, they could force another referendum on STV. AV was but a step to bliss.

  50. The real power in Australia is held by Chinese iron ore and coal buyers. Canberra has about as much real power as Ken Livingstone did in 1984.

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