New Welsh polls

This week there have been two new polls for the Welsh Assembly elections. The first was by Beaufort Research for the Western Mail and conducted between April 16th-23rd. We don’t know much about how Beaufort’s polls are weighted or adjusted other than that the poll is based only on those certain to vote. The full figures are:

Constituency vote: CON 19%, LAB 36%, LDEM 13%, PC 26%
Regional vote: CON 20%, LAB 35%, LDEM 12%, PC 26%

This is Beaufort’s first media poll of the campaign, though Plaid Cymru did release figures from a private poll conducted by Beaufort earlier in the campaign which showed figures of CON 14%, LAB 37%, LDEM 14%, PC 30%. It wasn’t clear whether they were regional or constituency figures, but either way Plaid are now lower than in Beaufort’s previous poll and the Conservatives higher… or, of course, there is a difference in how the polls were weighted or filtered and they aren’t comparable.

The second poll is by NOP for ITV Wales, conducted between April 19th and 23rd. It is not a brand new poll, but a call back to around half the sample who participated in their poll earlier in the campaign. Their voting intention figures are below, with changes from the last poll, and show a big advance for Plaid at the expense of the Conservatives.

Constituency vote: CON 19%(-4), LAB 32%(-4), LDEM 15%(nc), PC 26%(+6)
Regional vote: CON 18%(-6), LAB 34%(-1), LDEM 15%(nc), PC 24%(+4)

The levels of support for the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru are pretty similar in both polls, with Labour doing slightly worse in NOP’s figures and the Lib Dems slightly better. I am somewhat dubious about the NOP poll though. As a callback poll it should be very stable indeed – the basic truth is that people really don’t change their voting intentions that much, most of the change in voting intention polls is just sample error – yet in a matter of three weeks we have party support altering by 6 points. It seems strange.

14 Responses to “New Welsh polls”

  1. Yes, I agree that the NOP poll does seem rather strange and I would take it with a pinch of salt. Wales is such a difficult country to poll or compartmentalise (sorry for the jargon). I would think that the natural alternative home for Valley’s voters was Plaid but in other areas of Wales such as the North West with some high-profile marginals such as Aberconwy, Clwyd West, Vale of Clwyd and Delyn the oppostition vote will probably go to the Tories. Similarly in the cities of the South (bar Cardiff North) the libs would probably benefit. Some pollsters and pundits should get out more and realise that the Valleys are only one part of the Welsh political landscape and that they don’t, and never have, represented Wales as a whole. All parties will benefit at Labour’s expense but I think Plaid won’t do as well as in ’99 simply because there’s a lot more credible opposition in the Libs and Tories these days and talk of Plaid propping up Labour won’t go down very well in the less radical parts of the principality.

  2. I meant North East not North West there, i.e. the preserved county of Clwyd.

  3. At the risk of being accused of being anti-Conservative once again, I must say that these polls are rather disappointing for the Tories, even from an entirely neutral perspective.

    Having polled 21.4% in the 2005 Westminster election, I was expecting them to be moving towards the 25% mark for these elections. No matter who one supports, Wales desperately needs a bit of decent opposition from the Tories, which these polls show isn’t really materialising.

  4. The poll which stands out as being questionable is surely the first NOP poll which put the Tories slightly ahead of PC (pre weighting PC were ahead on that poll as well). The sencond NOP poll matches the Beaufort poll and surely should be read as being more accurate.

    A small point about Aberconwy – PC failed to win this by 72 votes last time and the new boundries favour them – protest votes in this area will split between PC and Tories. Labour will not only lose the seat to PC but they will come in third.

  5. Although I am a Conservative I agree with Andy Stidwell, this result would be very disappointing for the Conservatives. Like him I would hope for them to reach 25%. However, I still think they will do better than this come election day.

    My updated Predictions:

    Labour 24
    Conservative 16
    Plaid Cyrmu 10
    Liberal Democrat 8
    Independents 2

  6. One question about the Welsh media (or absence of) – how much does it differ from England? I am just wondering how much exposure Plaid gets pre-election period, compared to, say, the SNP in Scotland, and whether they got an increased exposure bounce during election periods in the past, like the LibDems in UK elections.

  7. Westminster and Assembly percentages are not comparable. One can not compare FPTP and PR voting.

    A large party will normally get a lower percentage of the vote under PR than FPTP, so to expect a 3.4% improvement over the FPTP figure seems optimistic/a high hurdle.

    What did the Tories get in the last Assembly election? That would seem to be a more genuine comparison.

  8. The Tories polled 20% in the 2003 Assembly elections in the FPTP seats, and 19% in the regional vote, both of which are very close to the 21% they polled in the last Westminster election.

  9. The headline figures for the polls were based on those saying that they were certain to vote. It is likely that the difference in the two sets of figures is caused by a difference in the number of people saying that they would definitely vote, rather than a massive switch from one party to another.

    It is essential that NOP release the full data tables for both of their polls.

    Candidates will always say that bad polls do not reflect the response that they get when out campaigning, but Conservative support in Dwyfor Meirionnydd certainly seems stronger than it was a few years ago.

  10. This blog posting omits the poll figure for “Others”, as can be clearly seen if you add up the percentges. There were about 8% for others. I’ve heard that the HTV report on TV made a special point of saying that UKIP alone accounted for 5%. Despite this apparent UKIP surge, I haven’t seen any online posting of these poll results which breaks down the “Other” figure by party. Anyone know where I can check this?

  11. Mike – I think the earlier NOP poll was also based on only those certain to vote. Either way, NOP are members of the BPC so are obliged to give you copies of the full tables if you drop them a line and ask them. Contact details for the social and political team there are here.

  12. I gather that this month’s Ipsos Mori poll was in today’s Observer
    Con 38 -3
    Lab 31 -2
    LD 20 +3
    Oth 11 +2

    Same story as other recent polls

  13. Geraint- to use the majority of Labour in the old Conwy constituency is pretty much ridiculous. The 72 vote margin was for a constituency which no longer exists in Assembly terms so it shows nothing in a constituency (the new Aberconwy), which has changed hugely in composition and electorate and I don’t actually think that Plaid have gained much at all. Bangor and Bethesda provided a lot of Plaid and Labour votes and because of the much larger population in those area, they have probably lost more votes than they’ve gained by the inclusion of the Conwy valley. The Tories are pretty lucky in that their vote in those areas lost was dire and I would have thought in the hundreds. Almost all their core vote is retained and been strengthened by the inclusion of some Tory votes in the Conwy Valley in places like Betws y Coed, Eglwysbach, Trefriw etc.

  14. Anthony,

    Yes, you are right. Both NOP polls were based on all those certain to vote.
    My point was that because this was a call-back poll, a relatively small number of people changing their response as to how likely they are to vote from 9 to 10 (or vice-versa) can have a significant impact on the polls. People might not necessarily have changed how they intend to vote.