By Maisie Marston
The October installment of the Welsh Political Barometer was released last week, revealing the Welsh public’s voting intentions for a UK general election and a devolved assembly election. The poll, which is the only regular public opinion poll carried out in Wales, is a collaboration between Cardiff University Professor Roger Awan-Scully, ITV Cymru-Wales and YouGov. A representative sample of 1,032 Welsh voters were polled by YouGov between the 10th and 14th October.
Although the Conservatives have emerged the most popular party, Labour would take the most Welsh seats in Parliament according to the barometer. In comparison to the composition of the Commons after the 2017 election, the distribution of seats calculated by the poll shows a balance between the Labour and the Conservative parties rather than a Labour majority. Constituencies like Alyn and Deeside, Bridgend, Cardiff North, Clwyd South, Delyn, Gower, Newport West, Vale of Clwyd, and Wrexham for instance, would be expected to be taken by the Conservatives.
Since the previous Welsh Political Barometer conducted in late July, the Conservative Party have risen in support from 24% to 29%, and the Labour party from 22% to 25%. Interestingly, the Brexit Party have lost support, dropping from 18% to 14%, which could signal the Conservatives under Boris Johnson’s leadership are the party of choice for many Welsh Brexiteers. As Awan-Scully reported in his summary, among those who voted Leave at the 2016 referendum the Conservative Party are supported by 49%, and only 29% support the Brexit Party.
Although the seat projections calculated from the data must be treated with caution, they do indicate a polarised Wales and a return to the two-party dominated politics which was threatened earlier in the year. They also demonstrate a significant change in Welsh politics altogether, as it would be the first time Labour do not win an outright majority of the Welsh seats in Westminster for decades.
Westminster, with changes from the July Barometer.
Conservative Party 29% (+5)
Labour Party 25% (+3)
Liberal Democrats 16% (no change)
Brexit Party 14% (-4)
Plaid Cymru 12% (-3)
Greens 4% (+1)
Others 1% (no change)
In the event of a devolved election, the October barometer projects that the Labour Party will remain the most popular party overall, but the Conservatives would catch up. The projections suggest Labour losses to the Conservatives in Cardiff North, Gower, the Vale of Clwyd, the Vale of Glamorgan, and Wrexham. In addition, Plaid Cymru will be the third most popular choice, and the party are projected to gain Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Cardiff West and Llanelli from the Labour Party. Cardiff Central, the constituency encompassing Cardiff University, would send a Liberal Democrat AM to the assembly.
Devolved election, with changes from the July Barometer.
Labour: 25% (+4)
Conservatives: 23% (+4)
Plaid Cymru: 22% (-2)
Brexit Party: 15% (-4)
Liberal Democrats: 11% (-1)
Greens: 4% (no change)
Others: 1% (-1)