Welsh Labour is still losing ground

Labour looks set to lose even more seats at the Assembly elections


Amid Labour’s ongoing troubles in Scotland, the party in Wales faces challenges of its own. May saw Welsh Labour making a net loss of one seat; having taken Cardiff Central from the Lib Dems, they were unable to take Cardiff North, and lost the Vale of Clwyd and Gower to the Conservatives.

Meanwhile, UKIP was less than one percentage point away from dislodging Labour as the party with the highest share of the vote in Wales in the 2014 European Elections.

Against this backdrop, Labour will be keen to do all it can next year to at least hold the 30 seats in the Welsh Assembly it secured in 2011.

But new polling indicates that the party, at this stage, could be losing ground.

As in Scotland, voters have two votes. One for a constituency AM and one for regional list members using a form of proportional representation.

When looking at the constituency vote, the latest Welsh Political Barometer puts Labour on 35 per cent (no change since the last YouGov poll in Wales just before the election); the Conservatives are on 23 per cent (+1 point); and Plaid Cymru are on 20 per cent (-1 point).

UKIP are up two points to 14 per cent; the Lib Dems have slumped to just 5 per cent of the vote (-1 point); and the Greens are up one point to 3 per cent of the vote.

According to Roger Scully of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, if replicated universally across Wales these results would see the Liberal Democrats ‘narrowly’ regaining Cardiff Central from Labour, while Labour would also lose Llanelli to Plaid Cymru.

On the regional list vote, the latest poll puts Labour on 32 per cent (no change); the Conservatives on 22 per cent (no change); Plaid Cymru on 20 per cent (no change); UKIP on 14 per cent (+1); the Lib Dems on 5 per cent (-1) and the Greens on 4 per cent (no change).

Taking both the regional and constituency votes into account, such results would see Labour securing 28 seats in the Assembly (26 constituency seats + 2 list seats), down two on their current tally; the Conservatives would lose two seats to net 12 AMs (6 constituency seats + 6 list seats); Plaid Cymru would lose one AM, securing 10 seats (6 constituency seats + 4 list seats); UKIP would go from having no seats to having eight; and the Lib Dems would slump from the five seats they currently have to secure just two.

Meanwhile, the Conservative Leader in the Welsh Assembly, Andrew RT Davies, faces embarrassment as the leader in the Assembly who voters have the least to say about.

As part of the Barometer, those questioned were asked to judge the performance of the main party leaders in Wales. With 48 per cent saying ‘don’t know’ about him, Mr Davies is clearly failing to make an impression on the electorate.

Responding to the findings, Mr Davies dismissed such polling as ‘irrelevant’, arguing that ‘what people want is substance’, not ‘personality politics’. Only time will tell how true this is.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter

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