UKIP on course to gain 9 seats in Welsh Assembly elections

The party are on course to enter the Assembly for the first time in May in substantial numbers


UKIP are on course to gain 9 seats in the Welsh Assembly next year, according to new polling.

According to the latest Welsh Political Barometer, a collaboration between the Wales Governance Centre, ITV Wales and YouGov, Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership troubles are now coming home to roost in Wales ahead of next year’s elections to the Assembly.

“Any honeymoon period for the new leader looks to be quite definitely over”, concludes Roger Scully, Professor of Political Science at Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre.

Asked how they would vote in a General Election, 37 per cent of those polled said Labour, down five percentage points since the last Barometer in September, reversing the five point increase recorded for the party at that time.

The Conservatives in Wales are on 27 per cent (up one point), UKIP are up one point to 17 per cent whilst Plaid Cymru stand on 12 per cent (up two points). The Liberal Democrats in Wales slip a point to 4 per cent whilst other parties are on 3 per cent.

With elections to the Welsh Assembly next May however, it is these figures that provide perhaps the most interesting reading.

People were also asked how they would vote in the constituency list section of the ballot. These answers show that Labour are on 35 per cent (down four points), the Conservatives are unchanged on 23 per cent and Plaid Cymru on 20 per cent (up two  percentage points).

UKIP are up two points to 15 per cent whilst the Lib Dems are on 5 per cent (down one point). Other parties are on 3 per cent.

According to Roger Scully, if replicated evenly across Wales, such figures would see the Conservatives gain Cardiff North, Plaid Cymru gain Llanelli, and the Liberal Democrats gain Cardiff Central. All three of these seats are currently held by Labour in the Assembly.

Voters were asked also how they would vote in the regional list section of the ballot. The results put Labour on 34 per cent (unchanged since September), the Conservatives on 23 per cent (down one percentage point) and Plaid Cymru unchanged on 18 per cent.

UKIP are up two points to 16 per cent with the Liberal Democrats on 4 per cent (down one point) and the Greens and other parties unchanged on 4 per cent and 2 per centrespectively.

According to Roger Scully, taking the constituency and regional list votes together, this would see UKIP doing well in Wales. Based on uniform swings, the polling suggests that:

  • Labour would win 27 seats (25 constituency seats + 2 list seats) – down three on their current tally of 30 seats.
  • Conservatives would secure 12 seats (7 constituency seats + 5 list seats) – down two on their current number of AMs.
  • Plaid Cymru would lose one seat to gain 10 seats in total (6 constituency seats + 4 list seats)
  • UKIP would come from nowhere to win 9 seats (9 list seats)
  • Liberal Democrats would lose three seats to pick up just 2 seats (2 constituency seats)

In his analysis of the results, whilst observing that Labour ‘remain some way ahead of the field’, Roger Scully notes that these figures show a notable decline in support  for the party since September. He continues:

“The main thing to jump out from these findings, however, is that UKIP are currently projected to win nine list seats in the Assembly: two in every region of Wales except for South Wales West.

“We should note that these list seat calculations are subject to change on quite small variations in support: with only small changes in public preferences UKIP might be projected to win several fewer seats. But at the moment, the party are on course to enter the Assembly for the first time in May in substantial numbers – within one seat of Plaid Cymru and three of the Conservatives.”

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

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