UKIP continues to climb in Wales

UKIP is on course to claim nine Welsh Assembly seats in May, according to new polling


UKIP is on course for major gains in the Welsh Assembly despite its internal squabbles, according to new polling.

The latest Welsh Political Barometer suggests that UKIP will snatch nine seats in the Senedd, setting up a “three-way fight” for second place in May’s elections.

The polling in the constituency vote section puts in Labour on 34 per cent (-1 since December), Conservatives on 22 per cent (-1), Plaid Cymru on 19 per cent (-1), UKIP on 18 per cent (+3), the Lib Dems unchanged on 5 per cent and other parties down 1 point to 2 per cent.

On the regional list vote, Labour are on 31 per cent (-3) followed by the Conservatives on 22 per cent (-1), Plaid Cymru on 19 per cent (-1) and UKIP on 18 per cent (+2). The Lib Dems are unchanged on 4 per cent with the Greens down one point to 3 per cent and others on 3 per cent.

Replicated universally across Wales, this would indicate the following Assembly breakdown:

Labour: 27 seats (25 constituency seats + 2 list seats)

Conservatives: 12 seats (7 constituency seats + 5 list seats)

Plaid Cymru: 10 seats (6 constituency seats + 4 list seats)

UKIP: 9 seats (9 list seats)

Liberal Democrats: 2 seats (2 constituency seats)

Although Labour appears to enjoy a commanding lead, the analysis contains a warning.

Professor Roger Scully of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre notes:

“After our December poll witnessing the rapid deflation of the ‘Corbyn bounce’ that we saw in September, this poll again has their support slipping a little further. At this point before the 2011 National Assembly election, the most recent poll had put Labour on 45 per cent for the constituency vote and 41 per cent for the list vote; in the following poll they would hit 48 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.

“So Labour are currently running ten percentage points or more below where they were five years ago, and seemingly heading in the opposite direction.

“Labour’s saving grace continues to be the divided nature of the opposition to them.”

He continued:

“The clear gainers in this poll are UKIP. This is, in some respects, very strange: the party has been subject to significant internal divisions recently, particularly in Wales, and has attracted substantial negative publicity.

“For ‘normal’ parties you would expect such developments to generate a loss in public support. But for UKIP this does not appear to be the case. Indeed, the opposite is true – their support continues to grow. The party continues to be on course to enter the Assembly in significant numbers after May’s election.”

The poll also questioned respondents about how they would vote in the forthcoming EU referendum. The results, with changes since December in brackets, were:

Remain a member of the European Union: 37 per cent (-3)

Leave the European Union: 45 per cent (+3)

Would not vote: 3 per cent (-2)

Don’t Know: 16 per cent (+2)

The results will especially worry First Minister Carwyn Jones who debated Nigel Farage last month on Wales’ place in the European Union.

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor at Left Foot Forward

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