UKIP's support in Wales is declining as the campaign proper gets underway
Labour remains in a dominant positions in Wales ahead of May’s local elections according to new research.
According to the Pre-Election Wave of the 2016 Welsh Election Study – a major study of this year’s Assembly elections, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK and directed by Prof Roger Scully of Cardiff University – UKIP is also taking a tumble as the election campaign proper gets into gear.
Asked how they would vote in the constituency section of the vote respondents said (changes in brackets from the last Welsh Political Barometer survey in February):
Labour: 34% (no change)
Conservatives: 22% (no change)
Plaid Cymru: 21% (+2)
UKIP: 15% (-3)
Liberal Democrats: 6% (+1)
Others: 3% (+1)
According to the research, applied uniformly across Wales, this poll would see three constituency seats change hands, with Plaid Cymru taking Llanelli, the Conservatives gaining Cardiff North, and the Liberal Democrats capturing Cardiff Central. All of these gains would be at the expense of Labour.
The figures for the regional vote were (with changes from the previous Welsh poll in February again indicated):
Labour: 31% (no change)
Conservatives: 22% (no change)
Plaid Cymru: 22% (+3)
UKIP: 14% (-4)
Liberal Democrats: 5% (+1)
Greens: 4% (+1)
Others: 3% (no change)
Assuming uniform swings, and after taking into account the projected outcome of the constituency seats, this, according to the survey, projects the distribution of the regional seats as follows:
North Wales: 2 UKIP, 1 Conservative, 1 Plaid Cymru
Mid & West Wales: 2 Labour, 2 UKIP
South Wales West: 2 Plaid Cymru, 1 Conservative, 1 UKIP
South Wales Central: 2 Plaid Cymru, 1 Conservative, 1UKIP
South Wales East: 2 Plaid Cymru, 1 Conservative, 1 UKIP
Combining the two sets of figures produces the following overall projected outcome for the National Assembly:
Labour: 27 seats (25 constituency seats + 2 list seats)
Plaid Cymru: 13 seats (6 constituency seats + 7 list seats)
Conservatives: 11 seats (7 constituency seats + 4 list seats)
UKIP: 7 seats (7 list seats)
Liberal Democrats: 2 seats (2 constituency seats)
In his assessment of the results, Professor Roger Scully of Cardiff University commented:
“Labour remain some way ahead on both votes. And although this new evidence does not show Labour’s position improving at all from February, the party will surely be encouraged by the fact that our new survey shows Labour stemming the decline in their support that had been seen in both the last two Welsh polls . . . At the same time, Labour’s position in 2016 is looking significantly less robust than it was five years ago.”
On prospects for Plaid Cymru, Scully notes:
“Plaid Cymru will clearly be pleased to see their support moving upwards on both votes in this survey. It is possible that the party was helped by the fact that the first few days of sampling occurred immediately after the party’s – apparently successful – spring conference . . . Plaid will also, one imagines, be pleased to see the threat from UKIP apparently receding. But this poll still indicates that they will need a very strong Assembly campaign in order to come close to realising their electoral ambitions in May.”
On prospects for UKIP, whilst this data suggests a fall in support, Scully observes that ‘the evidence continues to suggest that UKIP is still firmly on course to win seats in May – indeed, to enter the Assembly in quite significant numbers. It would now be a major shock if they were to fail to do so’.
Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor at Left Foot ForwardLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.