Gareth Hughes analyses the interstices of this week’s poll on the outlook for the five partiesFebruary 23rd, 2013
All graphs and charts in this post can be enlarged by clicking on them
UKIP are on a roll in Wales. That’s what the latest YouGov poll for ITV predicts. Their success bites into the Tory vote reducing them to seven Assembly Members, half the number they have now.
The poll is also good news for Labour they regain their dominance of the Welsh political scene. In Westminster elections Labour are up 15 per cent from their general election results. According to the ITV’s poll they get 51 per cent (Graph 1).
But for European elections Labour goes up by an astonishing 24 per cent. If this were to be replicated in next year’s election they would get three out of the four Welsh European seats with the Tories getting the remaining one (Graph 2).
The poll data also show’s Labour gaining a majority over all other parties in the Assembly – albeit by one vote, but enough to prevent them having to accommodate the other parties to get their budgets through. This year they had to do a deal with Plaid, last year it was the Liberal Democrats. Labour gain four per cent in the constituency section compared with 2011 but do loose out on the regional vote (Graph 3). In the regional list they are down by 11 per cent. Unusually the pattern for regional votes differ from that of the constituencies.
Despite Plaid being down 2 per cent in the Assembly constituency section they are up 8 per cent on the regional list. This puts them comfortably back as the second party in the Assembly and the title of being the official opposition (Graph 4).
But there is a sting in the tail for them. Leanne Wood having decided to give her place up on the regional list to fight a constituency would on this poll data be out on her ear. This would trigger a leadership election in Plaid’s ranks, as their rules say that the leader has to come from the ranks of Assembly Members.
However, whichever way you look at it, it is the Conservatives that have most to worry about in the poll. They loose their status of being official opposition in the Assembly. According to the figures they would be down to seven members, just two more than UKIP which would make a breakthrough to the Assembly with five members. That’s one more than the Welsh Liberal Democrats which would go down one to four AMs (see Graph 5).
The new chamber of the Assembly would look very different to the current one. Labour would have the majority with 31. Plaid Cymru would be the Official Opposition with 13 seats. The Tories would be the third party with seven, followed by UKIP with 5 and the Welsh Liberal Democrats with four.
But there is a disappointment to all the anti European politicians. There is no appetite to leave the EU in Wales (see Graph6). This could raise a very interesting constitutional issue if England decided to vote to leave in such a referendum.
There is also another irony in the figures. UKIP was opposed to the Welsh Assembly for a number of years. Indeed they wanted it scrapped. However, if this poll is right, they are set to become a player in the institution they once wanted rid of. Yet, at the same time the people of Wales are rejecting their main raison d’être by voting to stay in Europe. By gum, politics is a strange business.