YouGov have put out their first Welsh poll of the campaign, conducted for ITV Wales and Cardiff University. Topline figures, with changes from the previous YouGov Wales poll in January, are CON 40%(+12), LAB 30%(-3), LDEM 8%(-1), Plaid 13%(nc), UKIP 6%(-7). Fieldwork was Wednesday to Friday last week.

These are, it’s fair to say, fairly startling figures. A twelve point increase for a party over a relatively short length of time is extremely unusual, but the direction of travel is the same as Britain as a whole. GB polls had the Tories around forty percent at the start of the year, and have them pushing towards fifty percent now. As in Britain as a whole, the reason seems to be largely the UKIP vote collapsing decisely towards the Tories.

The result is remarkable though because of Wales’ history – it is a Labour heartland, even more so than Scotland was before the SNP landslide. Wales has been consistently won by Labour since the 1930s. The only time the Tories have won Wales in modern political times is the 2009 European elections.

If these shares are repeated at a general election then on a uniform swing the Conservatives would gain 10 seats (taking them to 21, an overall majority of the seats in Wales), Labour would lose 10, there would be no change for the Lib Dems or Plaid. The Tory gains would be much of North East Wales, including Wrexham, both the Newport seats and two Cardiff seats, pushing Labour back to little more than the South Wales valleys.

Roger Scully’s write up is here.

There was also a new ICM poll for the Guardian out earlier today, with fieldwork conducted between Friday-Monday. Topline figures are CON 48%, LAB 27%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 7%, GRN 3% – full tabs are here.

206 Responses to “YouGov Welsh poll – CON 40, LAB 30, LD 8, Plaid 13, UKIP 6”

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  1. @COLIN

    The relationship between fairness and equality is the basic difference between what we call the Left and Right in politics. To my mind, the left’s obsession with equality means that they frequently promote unfairness. They won’t admit that because they conflate the two, very different, concepts. The right, on the other hand, risk being labelled as uncaring by prioritizing fairness over equality. The Left regard redistribution of wealth as rights driven, the Right believe it is charitable.

    I realise that the above is a simplification. There are some on both the left and the right who hold more extreme positions but this is largely due to their own interpretations of fairness, especially when applied to themselves.

  2. COLIN “I have always suspected this, and that those espousing “equality” rather than “fairness” ( JC are you listening?) have it wrong:–

    Many years ago I chaired a Staff Association in a research organistion, which negotiated for all grades of staff from part time cleaners and clerical to heads of departments. None expected or wanted equality of pay, though they did differ on what were fair differentials. They were happy that length of service brought more leave for all grades. Devising an adequate fair settlement was the task, made difficult in a time of pay freezes and high (15%) inflation. What you post is certainly true.

  3. Although I think CEOs are often grossly overpaid (particularly for failing companies) it’s really a sideshow to remuneration in general because of the tiny numbers. Even if you cut their pay in half and gave it equally to everyone else it wouldn’t make a real difference. The same thing happens in football or film – the top earners get an enormous premium on the normal actors and players who scrape by but this isn’t seen as so fundamentally unfair.

  4. @JIM JAM

    “The second leadership election allows Corbyn supporters to blame the PLP for creating disunity and for not advocating his platform with sufficient vigour.”


    No kidding. Hardly stops there though does it. The other day, they even had the arch-Blairite, Blair himself, suggesting peeps vote Tory instead.

    Naturally Blairites will prolly blame old Corbs for this too. Of course polling shows a number of Corbie’s policies to be quite popular, unfortunately for Corbs though, not very popular with the media who keep promoting the ad hominems instead.

    All of which naturally proves the nation is mostly Tory and Theresa is a genius…

  5. @ Neil A

    “When Sturgeon uses the phrase “the people of Scotland” it may very well be that this is shorthand for “the human beings currently residing in Scotland, there being no real distinction between people from Scotland and people anywhere else in the world, all of whom should enjoy the right to live in Scotland”. What matters is that her audience, by and large, hears “people of Scotland” and translates this as “Scottish people” in a conventional, nationalistic and parochial way.”

    I really want her to be invited to address the California Democratic Party Convention next month. Or I did. I’m worried that people might hear of this and they might hear “Nationalist” and get frightened out of mis-understanding what that term means to Scots Nats. So I haven’t been pushing for this to happen anymore.

    We’ve got our own Corbyn style problem anyway right now.

  6. RMJ1

    Indeed so-agreed.


    Thanks-yes I think its basic human nature at work really. A recognition that hierarchies exist for all sorts of reasons-some good, some bad-and that the objective is that they should not be abused by the powerful/strong/intelligent/handsome/rich/etc

  7. ………….perhaps “exploited” is a better word than “abused” in the above sentence.

  8. @Carfrew

    “Of course polling shows a number of Corbie’s policies to be quite popular”

    But this is a Brexit election, and Labour’s policy on Brexit (such as it is) is very unpopular.

    Their mealy-mouthed wavering, combined with strident anti-Brexit noises from the Remain end of the party, has completely alienated Leave voters, whereas more ardent Remainers aren’t happy that the party’s going along with Brexit at all.

    Anyway, the trouble with the “Corbyn’s policies are popular” argument is that voters don’t vote for policies in a vacuum. They are also voting for personnel, and if (as seems evident) they don’t believe Corbyn is willing or able to deliver on said policies then he’s not getting their vote.

  9. @ Old Nat

    In light of the French Election, one hardcore leftwing quasi-friend of mine (an activist who’s a self-described “socialist”) quoted a Chris Hayes tweet about not wanting to live in a world where we have capitalist financial elites versus right wing populist racist backlash. It does worry me because it feels like that’s what we increasingly see across the globe.

    I don’t think it’s that way in the Golden State though. Lord knows we ain’t perfect. But we’ve somehow managed to avoid this paradigm. I also think Scotland has avoided it too even though Scotland is undergoing massive political earthquakes itself.

  10. @IMPERIUM3

    “Of course polling shows a number of Corbie’s policies to be quite popular”
    But this is a Brexit election, and Labour’s policy on Brexit (such as it is) is very unpopular.”


    Well that’s one possibility. For it to be true there needs ideally to be polling to substantiate it.

    Also, it’s inevitably going to be a Brexit election if that’s what the media keep pushing while burying other stuff and Blairites distract from Corbyn’s policies too. As opposed to what would be the case with a different media approach.

    Part of the reason Brexit became so salient was the ramping up of immigration as a concern following the media onslaught in the matter.

  11. @Imperium

    “Anyway, the trouble with the “Corbyn’s policies are popular” argument is that voters don’t vote for policies in a vacuum. They are also voting for personnel, and if (as seems evident) they don’t believe Corbyn is willing or able to deliver on said policies then he’s not getting their vote.”


    Which was my point. If people don’t hear much about the policies but instead the constant refrain from media and Blairites that Corbs is useless, then it’s liable to have an effect. As did the media onslaught on Tories during ‘Omnishambles” when media were unhappy with Tories about Levinson, and Tory VI tanked.

  12. Why is Keir Starmer so often touted as the saviour for Labour, whether before after the election? Whenever I have seen him whether in Parliament or on TV I think he comes across as pretty useless, uncharismatic, uninformed and frankly as clueless as Corbyn. Is there any polling evidence to suggest he (or any other leader) could or would have any positive effect on Labour’s dire polling numbers?

  13. @Imperium

    I should add, I posted recently data to show the oldies tend not to look at alternative sources, social media etc., and hence are more influenced by trad media and are more polarised. As opposed to the younger who were seen to have broader sources and less polarised.

  14. @Woody

    “Is there any polling evidence to suggest he (or any other leader) could or would have any positive effect on Labour’s dire polling numbers?”


    Depends somewhat on whether media/Blairites like his policies…

  15. COLIN………….perhaps “exploited” is a better word than “abused” in the above sentence.

    Perhaps. I’ll just say that two groups tried to twist my arm behind the scenes. Both already had a good slice of the cake. Not only did neither want to lose any of their share, they wanted more primarily so as not to be joined by a few others generally thought to be deserving a relative increase. Differentials … !

    as RMJ1 put it [they] “hold more extreme positions but this is largely due to their own interpretations of fairness, especially when applied to themselves.”

  16. Woody,

    Yes I agree with you about Starmer. He is probably touted as Labour’s saviour because, well, someone has to be. He has a statesmanlike look but that tends to fall away when he starts to speak. Labour may eventually narrow the gap – a big maybe – but probably for more abstract and undetectable reasons

  17. Woody,

    So, Dan Jarvis is deservedly out or the “saviour” ranks now? For a while last year he was it…then he spoke too, and the same tired old drivel came out.

  18. I am wondering how Labour’s “Day One” pledge on EU nationals’ rights squares with the negotiating position of the EU on the ECJ having primary over those rights.

    At the moment I am not quite sure in my own mind whether the EU’s proposal is an affront to UK sovereignty, or a sensible temporary arrangement reflecting the UK’s “ex-EU” nature over the rest of the century.

    But isn’t it possible that an Act of Parliament guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK may not actually meet the EU’s red line demands? And if so is Labour prepared to enshrine in UK law that the ECJ has primacy when it comes to the rights of EU nationals living here, in perpetuity? I am sure Starmer and other spokesmen will be asked this question, so I hope they’ve thought this through.

  19. Dave

    Thanks for the link to the Nature article.

    Really thoughtful.

  20. @ Neil A

    Why would a new Tory Government not face the same issues ? They want EU residents in the UK to have relevant rights, provided UK citizens in EU countries receive the same rights.

    I think the whole issue of residency rights is so complicated, that it will take ages to resolve. Say the qualifying period is 5 years residency in the UK to obtain full UK rights, what happens to those with only 4 years 11 months residency at the relevant date ?

    And do you really trust any UK Government to run an effective Border Agency, that deports people without qualifying visa or residency entitlement ?

  21. @R Huckle,

    The Tories will indeed face the same issues. However, they have explicitly stated that the arrangements need to be reciprocal and acceptable to both sides. To meet the EU’s red line, this would essentially mean that the treatment of UK citizens living in the EU would be under the jurisdiction of the UK Supreme Court (which is extremely unlikely). In truth I suspect that the Tories will try to negotiate for a joint UK-EU court to supervise issues around mutual rights, which will involve breaching the EU’s red line, but only by a small margin.

    The issue with Labour’s stance is the “9am, Day One” nature of the commitment. The assumption that they can just gift the appropriate rights to EU citizens, as if this is simple and a no-brainer. The truth is, that without accepting the EU’s pre-conditions, they simply can’t. The Tories more equivocal stance at least allows for reality to intrude.

    Ultimately, Labour have made this a campaign pledge. They will be seeking election off the back of it. Accordingly they must expect some scrutiny of how realistic and sensible an approach it is. The Tories will also be asked questions, but they at least have the ability to dodge the question by stating their basic approach and deferring the final result until “the outcome of the negotiation”.

  22. @Lazslo / Dave

    Yes it’s a fascinating article, and in its dry scientific way rather encapsulates the entire basis for modern political argument.

    The Western world is grossly unequal, and grossly unfair. The left is incensed about both. The right is far more bothered by the latter than the former.

    If it turns out that the voters are hard-wired to only care about inequality that is the direct result of unfairness, that may explain why they respond better to a more fine-tuned, centre-left appeal than to full blown socialism.

    The problem is, I suppose, that in the real world devising measures that reduce unfairness is more difficult than devising measures that reduce inequality, because inequality is a measurable, empirical fact whereas unfairness is very much in the eye of the beholder.

    It certainly explains to me why despite the burning anger on the left about issues like benefit cuts, the “rape clause” etc, the public seem to be willing to tolerate increases in inequality if the policy can be wrapped in a “fairness” blanket.

  23. LASZLO

    I posted the Nature article on Inequality :-)

  24. @Laszlo

    Thanks for highlighting the Nature article.

  25. I suspect-if/when there is Polling on unilateral granting of right to stay , Labour will be seen to have chosen a less than popular approach to this problem.

  26. Looking over the ICM poll, I’d say that this is two or three parts a Brexit election and one part a “Jeremy Corbyn” election. Not that such is a surprise, but it’s playing out that way. The crosstabs are on a small sample size, but according to them Labour is dropping a third of its Leave voters (and a fifth of its Remain voters) while the Tories are only losing about 10% of their Remain voters (many of whom, I suspect, were either “tactical Tories” or otherwise voters who had bailed on the LibDems due to how they behaved in the coalition).

    Labour’s problem runs a bit deeper: They’re bleeding not only to the Tories but also, in a smaller amount, to UKIP on the Leave side (and to the LibDems and Tories in equal numbers on the Remain side). The Leave side is obvious enough to explain; given how it splits I see the Remain leakage being mostly down to the “Jeremy Corbyn” vote (if it were strictly a function of Brexit I think more of it would go LibDem).

    Labour also seems to have another problem: Again, sample sizes are at issue but Labour seems to be bleeding pretty hard in its safe seats. In seats where their margin at the last election was over 15% (so, including places like Knowsley and East Ham) their margin only showed as 9%. This suggests that, ignoring the idea of what I’ll call an “Uninformed National Swing” at least a few “edge case” seats here will be in play unless a large chunk of what we’re seeing is somehow those super-safe seats collapsing into being vaguely competitive.

  27. @ Neil A

    I don’t think you can really assess differences between parties on this issue.

    As you will realise, there are so many interested parties and nobody can predict the future. It is not just the EU commission, but the 27 EU countries some with coaltions/elections, the ECJ and UK Supreme court. You can guarantee that there will be many court cases and Judges don’t always agree with Government.

    Perhaps Labours position is much more straightforward and less likely to cause a problem ? Generally it is restriction of rights that leads to problems.

  28. Neil A

    Indeed politicians seem to be more willing to address, or try to address, inequality – I suppose it is technically easier, and I agree, it would also be difficult to measure fairness (or its improvement). Also the study shows that it is composite concept, with many facets, and I guess it is also a dynamic perception.

    How difficult it would be politically? In Soviet Union (yes, I know) time to time there were ideological attempts to pursue fairness, and they defaulted to equality every time (of course, there was inequality) after a while.

  29. @ R Huckle,

    I don’t really agree. What rights will Labour be granting on Day One? And to whom? And who decides if those rights are sufficient, and fair?

    We don’t even know who is living in the UK. Or even really have a definition of what “living in the UK” means.

    The only rational metric by which Labour could probably meet this pledge is by granting permanent residence, without charge, to every EU passport holder who currently holds a UK National Insurance number. That would be, I believe, extremely unpopular with the electorate. And the EU might not even accept it. They may insist that EU rights be extended to people who have arrived in the UK but failed to register for an NI number, or to children who have never been the UK but are in receipt of UK Child Benefit, etc. And the EU’s stance is that any dispute about this would be determined by the ECJ, upon which no UK judges will be sitting.

    So yes, I think you can assess differences between the parties. If Starmer can come forward with detailed plans, answering these questions, and a binding commitment from all the EU institutions, countries and regions, then that’s one thing. But he clearly can’t, so the only difference is that the Tories are being honest about the need for negotiation, and Labour is pretending it is simple in order to “virtue signal” and send a message to the Remainer core vote that they shouldn’t defect to the LDs.

  30. I’m going to revise and extend my remarks above: Yes, it is quite possible that Labour is going to collapse heavily in those seats but still win: Leave tended to do a heck of a lot better than the UKIP+Tory vote in 2015, so it’s quite possible that Labour will drop by, say, 15-20 points in some seats where it got over 60% of the vote but still win.

  31. Colin

    Apologies. I read your conversation, then went to the article, then a few other things, and by the time I got back to acknowledge it, I confused the credit.

    So, thank you for posting the link.

  32. @Laszlo,

    You’ll know better than me, of course, but I suspect in Soviet society, “fairness” probably meant giving additional resources to those promoting the ideals of the country / state (i.e. Communist party members), particularly if they have reached senior positions in government /industry?

    Only fair given the ideological purity of their thoughts and actions?

    In some ways modern China may be an instructive example. State-approved “businessmen” are allowed to be multi-billionaires, but the state technically pursues equality.

  33. @RMJ1

    “To my mind, the left’s obsession with equality …

    I realise that the above is a simplification.”

    I think the word you are looking for is “misrepresentation”. You will (pretty much) never find those of the left talking about equality in this way, it is entirely a culmny propagated by the right. What is actually talked about is equality OF OPPORTUNITY, i.e. removing the structural barriers that UNFAIRLY obstruct those from e.g. poorer backgrounds from advancing.

    These unfairnesses start well before school age. The last Labour government established SureStart, with the objective of (and some success in) ensuring that all children had a chance at a decent start in life. The Tories have systematically dismantled the programme.

    That tells me all I need to know about Tory attitude to “fairness”.

    Fairness is indeed a fundamental difference between Labour and Tories. Labour seeks to establish universal access to core services so that all section of the population are able to benefit (e.g. NHS). The Tories don’t. It’s what OUGHT to be at the heart of the Labour campaign, that Labour sees the state as the provider of a rock solid foundation on which everyone can build their own prosperity and happiness. And that universal provision is far cheaper and far more effective than means tested and rationed provision.

    That then leads into focus on the underfunding of the NHS and that it is easily the most cost-effective healthcare provision system in the world. All its problems are due to ~25% underfunding.

    It’s Corbyn’s complete failure to construct a philosophical underpinning and a clear simple narrative that is going to leave the Labour campaign adrift.

  34. @Gray

    I think it’s all a question of degree. Up to a certain point, you very much want the bulk of your lost VI to come from your safe seats, as you can hold onto them anyway. Better that than a differential decline in competitive seats, which sees them all lost.

    But, there reaches a point where your overall VI loss is so great that all of the competitive seats are a foregone conclusion anyway. At that point, you really would prefer to lose VI in the doomed marginals, than to lose it in your heartlands. Otherwise, at a particular point of high swing (as we are expecting this time) there is a danger that whole swathes of safe seats are lost too (as in Scotland).

    If Labour could chose between a 5% swing against them in marginals and a 15% swing against them in their safe seats, or a 15% swing against them in marginals and a 5% swing against them in their safe seats, they would be better off with the latter.

  35. @Robin

    The NHS may not be the best example. Technically both sides support it and want to fund it as free at the point of use. Yes the left would fund it more generously, but that is seen mostly in the public as an economic issue rather than a fairness one.

    A better example might be, for example, private health care and private education. To someone on the right, someone who pays their own money to get treatment, or to have their children educated, is saving the government money. So it is “fair” that this is recognised, say through tax breaks or the charitable status of private providers. Of course private provision makes us less “equal”. Abolishing, or penalizing, private provision of these services by the left may well be seen (rightly) as an attempt to make things more equal, but in a way that is unfair.

    Inheritance Tax is another good example. It often seems to me that the public’s hatred of inheritance tax leaves the left speechless, given that for the vast majority of voters inheritance tax represents a net benefit to them at the expense of the rich (i.e. more equality). But what is a much stronger emotional pull is the idea that a person who has worked all their life, been careful with their money and investments and wants to give their children the best start in life having much of this effort penalized by the state. Even for people who never earned enough money to save a penny for their kids, this seems to trigger an “unfairness” reflex.

    In an ideal world, there would be a way to penalize inequality that was unfair, but not that which was fair. That’s a really hard thing to design in, though. Who is the arbiter of whether a millionaire really deserved her money?

  36. @Woody

    Kier Starmer

    Square jaw, great name suitable for power or film career, nice hair, not Jezza.

    Never overestimate the electorate.

    Also future media favourite who can cunningly have his name substituted for Lier Starmer….

  37. @Neil A “But isn’t it possible that an Act of Parliament guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK may not actually meet the EU’s red line demands? And if so is Labour prepared to enshrine in UK law that the ECJ has primacy when it comes to the rights of EU nationals.”

    Nothing stopping another Act of Parliament changing those terms. Parliament can do anything it likes which is why the EU want to try and keep EU citizen rights under the auspices of the ECJ. Of course, that is never going to fly.

  38. @NeilA

    The point about private health care is that it is a choice that is (or should not be) necessary. If people want to pay for private health care, or buy a yacht, why should the state assist?

    And of course, once the state starts funding private health care, that opens the gates to full privatisation. Please do not confuse statements (=l1es) and actual policies and actions. For instance, the Health Secretary may *say* he supports the NHS, but he’s on record as advocating a private healthcare system.

  39. is *not* necessary (of course)

  40. Neil A

    The SU is history. I only made the reference as they had the political power (and ideology for fairness – “everyone [working] by their ability, everyone [rewarded] by their contribution”), yet they couldn’t do it. They failed on various groups resisting it, and also for political expediency (among other factors, the extremely high labour turnover).

  41. Robin

    Why do you care who actually provides the free service for the NHS as long as it is of the correct quality and value for money? Large parts of the NHS eg most dentists and GP practices are already “privatised” .Do you want to insist that they become full time employees of the NHS? why? surely this is just dogma.

  42. @GB

    Why do you believe I said a single one of those things?

  43. @GB
    Why do you care who actually provides the free service for the NHS as long as it is of the correct quality and value for money? Large parts of the NHS eg most dentists and GP practices are already “privatised” .Do you want to insist that they become full time employees of the NHS? why? surely this is just dogma.

    Dentists are a particularly poor example, in recent years dentists accepting NHS patients have steadily fallen in my area and you can no longer get on an NHS registered dentist. Since my last dentist retired I have to go private and the cost of treatment has gone up.
    I guess people are worried about a similar outcome in other areas of health provision.

  44. @GB

    But, to start to answer your question, there is a whole raft of reasons why tendering and external provision is intrinsically worse in the long term. These include:

    Security of provision (what happens when the first tender runs out, and the sole private provider decides to up the price and you no longer have the ability to provide the service in-house?)

    Continuity and stability

    Costs relating to contract compliance (or, very often, lack thereof), tendering

    Workforce flexibility (ease of movement betweendifferent regions)

    Cohesion (integration of different services)

    Workforce morale and motivation

    I don’t have time to go into details, but it is becoming mroe and more clear, in all sorts of areas, that competitive tendering and external provision provides a worse service for more money. But once in-house provision has gone, it is difficult or impossible to restore.

  45. What is going on in Scotland?

    On 18th April, Ms Sturgeon said the general election would be “reinforcing the democratic mandate for giving the people of Scotland a choice on their future.”

    Yesterday it changed to “the election won’t decide whether or not Scotland becomes independent”.

    I’m guessing she has seen some internal polling?

  46. That poll was a bit of a shock! direction of travel not a surprise but the scale of the move is.

    Two comments on why; one on the data, one on anecdotal evidence;

    Clearly the UKIP vote is collapsing and nearly all going to the Tories

    Among people I work with who are mostly traditional Labour voters in Labour strongholds Corbyn is a big factor (universally negative) and that might suggest why Labour remains (just) ahead in the Local Govnt poll.

  47. @candy

    The two statements are not contradictory and entirely consistent with the line the FM has been taking.

  48. Robin

    You could apply those concerns to any large distributed organisation either government or privately run. We are unable, it seems to me, to be able to discuss the NHS without making it a special case above criticism of how it is run.

  49. LASZLO

    No problem-I thought it was a very interesting study.

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