Gains for Abolish in latest Welsh Political Barometer 

Abolish the Welsh Assembly have made large gains in the latest Welsh Political Barometer.
Source: Richard Croft (via. Geograph).
By Morgan Perry | Political Editor

Abolish the Welsh Assembly are predicted to win four seats in the Senedd, according to the latest Welsh Political Barometer poll, which was published last week. 

In the latest poll, there’s no clear leading party, were the results to become gospel at the polls next May. A working majority of 31 is required to control the Senedd. 

Labour are still on track to be the largest party, with a predicted 28 seats, more than 20 years since the party was first elected to lead the then Welsh Assembly. The Welsh Political Barometer was taken during Wales’ fire break lockdown and represents an increase of three seats since September’s poll.

The Welsh Conservatives are set to be the second largest party, with 16 seats, a decrease of three since September’s poll. Plaid Cymru have also seen a decrease in their predicted seat share, with 11 seats projected, down from 15 in the last projections. 

Perhaps most significantly, the Abolish the Welsh Assembly party is projected to win four seats, up from zero at the last poll. Last week, the leader of the Brexit Party in the Senedd, Mark Reckless, defected to the party, giving them their second Member of the Senedd. 

He’s the second to do-so this year, after Gareth Bennett also defected earlier in the summer. Despite the defections, the party has never had an MS elected under the Abolish banner. 

The poll was also taken in the same week that sole Liberal Democrat MS Kirsty Williams announced she would stand down at the next election. She is currently a member of the Welsh Government, serving as the Minister for Education, and has been re-elected several times since first being elected to the Senedd in 1999. 

Based on the latest Welsh Political Barometer, the predicted make-up of the Senedd is as follows:

The latest Welsh Political Barometer predicts gains for Abolish.

🟢 Plaid Cymru: 11 (+1)
🔴 Welsh Labour: 28 (-1)
🟡 Welsh Liberal Democrats: 1 (=)
🟤 Abolish the Welsh Assembly: 4 (+2)
🔵 Welsh Conservatives: 16 (+5)

Source: YouGov for ITV Cymru Wales/Cardiff University. Changes with current Senedd make-up.

Constituency voting intention

LAB: 38% (+4)
CON: 27% (-2)
PC: 20% (-4)
BRX: 5% (+1)
LD: 3% (=)
GR: 3% (=)
Others: 4% (+1)

Source: YouGov for ITV Cymru Wales/Cardiff University. Changes with Aug. 28 – Sept. 4. 

Regional voting intention

LAB: 33% (=)
CON: 24% (-3)
PC: 20% (-3)
Abolish: 7% (+3)
BRX: 5% (+1)
GR: 4% (=)
LD: 4% (+1)
Others: 3% (+1)

Source: YouGov for ITV Cymru Wales/Cardiff University. Changes with Aug. 28 – Sept. 4.

Given the poll was taken during Wales’ fire break lockdown, which was announced on X, the increased share of the vote for Labour does suggest at least some support for the public health restrictions. 

The Welsh Conservatives have this week been caught short after Boris Johnson announced that non-essential items would not be sold in supermarkets during England’s four-week lockdown. The Welsh Conservatives had previously called for an end to the restrictions. 

Despite still being in the running for one seat in the Senedd, the Liberal Democrats’ performance on the regional list is poor, sitting seventh.

The Lib Dems have been overtaken, quite suddenly, by the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, and they are projected to be awarded handsomely in the Senedd, taking four seats. Despite the gains, Labour’s hegemony is still unlikely to be disrupted by the party’s slow advance. 

The coronavirus pandemic is likely exposing what some will see as gaps in the devolution settlement for Wales. For some, the attractiveness of a single, UK-wide response to the crisis may be enough to encourage them to support Abolish at the polls.  

The latest polling still projects no return of the Brexit Party, UKIP or Neil McEvoy’s Welsh National Party. There’s also no sign of support for Caroline Jones, David Rowlands and Mandy Jones, who recently formed a new Independent Alliance for Reform in the Senedd. 

As with anything in politics – and, indeed, so far this year – nothing is set in stone, and the polling is likely to change between now and the elections in May, providing they aren’t delayed.

Follow @gairrhyddpol for all of the latest updates from the world of politics.

Politics Morgan Perry

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