Labour hits lowest polling in Wales since Gordon Brown

New research suggests Labour could lose 80 seats on the Welsh assembly


Amid warnings Scottish Labour faces further electrical damage in May’s local elections, new polling out in Wales suggests support has hit a low not seen since the dying days of Gordon Brown’s time at Number 10.

According to the latest Welsh Political Barometer, (a partnership between ITV Wales, YouGov and the Governance Centre at Cardiff University), asked how they would vote in a General Election, respondents said:

Labour 33 per cent (-2)

Conservative 28 per cent (-1)

Plaid Cymru 13 per cent (no change)

UKIP 13 per cent (-1)

Liberal Democrats 9 per cent (+2)

Others 2 per cent (-1)

(Changes since September in brackets.)

In his analysis, Roger Scully from Cardiff University noted that the fall in Labour’s polling

“takes them to their lowest point in any Welsh poll on Westminster voting intentions since a YouGov poll in April 2010 – the last days of the Gordon Brown government.”

According to the analysis, applied uniformly across Wales, such polling would see the following results if a general election were held now under the current constituency boundaries:

Labour: 24 seats (losing Ynys Môn)

Conservative: 11 seats (no change)

Plaid Cymru: 4 seats (gaining Ynys Môn)

Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (no change)

Interestingly, the Barometer also looks at the likely results, using this polling, based on the proposed new electoral map for Wales from the Boundary Commission. Based on this, Anthony Wells from YouGov suggests the Westminster results would be as follows:

Labour: 14 seats

Conservative: 11 seats

Plaid Cymru: 3 seats

Liberal Democrats: 1 seat

The analysis concludes:

“these projected results would represent a net loss for Labour of four seats from the 18 that Wells projects them, on the new boundaries, to have won in 2015.”

Asked how they would vote in an Assembly vote in the constituency section, respondents said:

Labour 31 per cent (-3)

Conservative 25 per cent (+1)

Plaid Cymru 21 per cent (+1)

UKIP 12 per cent (-1)

Liberal Democrats 8 per cent (+2)

Others 3 per cent (no change)

The analysis from Professor Scully notes starkly:

“this is the party’s lowest poll rating on the Assembly constituency vote since YouGov’s first ever Welsh poll, conducted in July 2009 at the very nadir of Gordon Brown’s fortunes.”

Applied uniformly, this would, the Barometer concludes, see Labour loosing eight constituency seats in the Welsh Assembly compared to its performance in May 2016, seeing them re-distributed as follows:

The Conservatives would gain Gower, the Vale of Clwyd, the Vale of Glamorgan, and Wrexham;

Plaid Cymru would gain Blaenau Gwent, Cardiff West, and Llanelli; and

The Liberal Democrats would gain Cardiff Central.

The findings for the Assembly regional vote are as follows:

Labour 28 per cent (-1)

Conservative 22 per cent (no change)

Plaid Cymru 20 per cent (-1)

UKIP 14 per cent (+1)

Liberal Democrats 7 per cent (+1)

Others 7 per cent (-3)

Applying this uniformly across Wales, this would see the regional list seats distributed as follows:

North Wales: 2 UKIP, 1 Labour, 1 Plaid

Mid & West Wales: 2 Labour, 2 UKIP

South Wales West: 2 Plaid, 1 Conservative, 1 UKIP

South Wales Central: 2 Conservative, 1 Plaid, 1 UKIP

South Wales East: 2 UKIP, 1 Conservative, 1 Plaid

Overall, if replicated in an actual Assembly election, this would see the results as follows:

Labour 22 seats (19 constituency, 3 regional)

Conservative 14 seats (10 constituency, 4 regional)

Plaid Cymru 14 seats (9 constituency, 5 regional)

UKIP 8 seats (8 regional)

Liberal Democrats 2 seats (2 constituency)

In his concluding analysis, Roger Scully explains in stark terms:

“Any such outcome would be Labour’s worst-ever National Assembly election result by a considerable margin.

Overall, our new Barometer poll shows the Labour party’s continuing troubles across the UK having a notable impact even in Wales, their longest-standing bastion.”

He adds:

“The saving grace for Welsh Labour continues to be the lack of a single strong opponent: while Labour’s performance in our new poll is weak, none of their opponents are exactly achieving glittering ratings either.

But as our seat projections for the National Assembly show, even without its opponents doing that well, if Labour’s support continues to ebb then the party may pay a very heavy electoral price.”

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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