Checking the Political Weather in Wales

Checking the Political Weather in Wales

Results of the May Welsh Political Barometer

In 2009 the Conservatives were the big success story of the European elections in Wales, topping the poll in a Welsh national election for the first time in over a century (I haven’t been able to track down an earlier occurrence, Labour has topped every poll since 1918 when the Coalition Liberals stormed to victory under David Lloyd George). This was mainly down to Labour’s nosedive (down 12.2 points since 2004) rather than a Conservative rise (up 1.8 points) and both parties sent one MEP to Brussels, but it was a victory nevertheless.

In 2014 however they are fighting not for the lead, but to grab the last of Wales’ 4 MEP slots.

For completeness, Plaid Cymru (+1.1%), Lib Dems (+0.2) and UKIP (+2.3) were all up on 2004, with UKIP jumping ahead of the Lib Dems to take the 4th MEP.

Now we’ve had the interesting (if slightly clunkily named) May Welsh Political Barometer published, which offers polling on not just the European Elections, but also Welsh Assembly (constituency and list!) and Westminster elections alongside some additional questions (EU membership, Welsh independence) as well. Truely a thing of delight for psephology nerds.

In truth I am a little leery about all the different elections being crammed into one set of polling due to the possibility of the different elections bleeding into each other and this goes alongside a general concern about polling for other elections during the final part of an election campaign. So I suspect the UKIP scores for the non-European elections may be a little high because of this (Labour has lost support on each election type compared to the last barometer in February with UKIP as the main beneficiary, and I think the focus on Europe is driving at least some of that).

But caveats aside let’s pull out the highlights in votes and seat projections (most of the projections are by Professor Roger Scully who has an excellent and more detailed piece on this polling alongside the data tables for hardcore pollwatchers.

For the European elections Labour and UKIP are certain of winning the first two seats. The final 2 seats are a 3-way contest between Plaid Cymru, Labour, and the Conservatives. Using all respondents as above leaves Plaid out in the cold, but applying a filter of only those certain to vote gives them the third seat with a dead-heat between Labour and Conservatives for the fourth.

It’s likely to be a nervous down to the wire count to see who’s left out.


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