Thursday, April 05, 2007

Tories Set to Become Largest Opposition Party in Wales

This has just been released by ITV Wales

An exclusive all-Wales opinion poll for ITV Wales, the first of the Welsh Assembly election campaign, shows Labour likely to remain the largest party in the Assembly, but well short of an overall majority. This will, almost inevitably, mean that the next Welsh Assembly Government will be formed by a coalition of parties acting together.

The ITV Wales poll explicitly asked electors about their intention to vote on 3rd May with 45% claiming that they were certain to turn out. If repeated on polling day, this would be an improvement on past Assembly elections, but still fall well short of participation in Westminster general elections.

The voting intentions of the 45% certain to vote were as follows: (2003 result in brackets).

Party Constituency Vote Regional Vote

Labour 36% (40%) 35% (37%)

Conservative 23% (20%) 24% (19%)
Plaid Cymru 20% (21%) 20% (20%)

Liberal Democrat 15% (14%) 15% (13%)

Others 6% (5%) 5% (12%)

With four weeks to go until polling day, the poll shows a constituency vote swing to the Conservatives, up 3% from their 2003 result, and a decline in support for Labour, down 4%. The poll also suggests that similar changes in the regional list ballot. Analysis by ITV Wales’s elections expert Dr Denis Balsom suggests that this could mean a new Assembly made up of 25 Labour AMs, 14 Conservative, 12 Plaid Cymru, 7 Liberal Democrat and 2 Independent AMs - Trish Law and John Marek. Such a configuration could mean the re-formation of the Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition that governed Wales 2000-03.

Dr Balsom noted “…the coming campaign will undoubtedly impact upon these initial findings. Labour will seek to distance themselves from the current unpopularity of Tony Blair’s Government and endeavour to focus debate on their record in Wales. Conversely, the Conservatives will wish to harness the generally positive response to their new leader David Cameron. Similarly both the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru must hope that the campaign gives a lift to their support, which seems static at present.”

Denis Balsom further remarked “…ahead of a long campaign, and with a significant number of undecided voters still remaining, the ITV Wales poll is but a snapshot of the current political scene in Wales, however this is the backdrop against which the Assembly election is being fought”

NB: NOP interviewed a representative quota sample of 1500 adults, by telephone, across Wales between March 23rd and April 2nd 2007


Marcusian said...

I think you might need a whole vat of salt to go with these results Mr. Dale...

Of course Labour will lose some, but i think the 'gains' from the other parties will be spread more evenly.

anon and on and on said...

There's a line in “A Man For All Seasons" which inexpicably springs to mind:

“Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Wales?”

Marquee Mark said...

Time to steal some of those "only the Tories can win here" style bar-charts from the Lib-Dems?

Chris Paul said...

Meaningless unless on a constituency by constituency basis or at least fed into an engine that sorts that all out. Did they say how many they polled? Did they say who did it for them? Was it a propoer poll with some kind of weighting and banding? Or not? Was it a survey rather than a real poll even?

Isn't 45% certain (plus I guess another 30% or more possibles) about TWICE the usual turn out?

Meaningless. Meaningless. Meaningless.

ID is poll fodder I'm afraid. the only poll that matters if on 3 May and it'll be all the Tories that can't be arsed to go to the poll.

They'll still have Comrade Rhodri after all.

Chris Paul said...

Did you add that NB at the end? Or did I miss it? Is it shame on you? or shame on me?

Iain Dale said...

Chris Paul, you are showing increasing signs of dementia. WTF does that last comment actually mean?

ANd the accompanying stats to the poll show that on a low poll it's the Tories who gain. Just so you know.

Anonymous said...

Why "opposition party" - these are results that could make the Tories a party of government. At least, if they have any brains, that is what Welsh Labour will be saying. And the more people believe them the worse the Tories will do.

For those in want of clue: there is nowhere in the UK that hates Tories more than Wales.

cymrumark said...

Only if you believe that Tories are more likely to vote than Plaid supporters. That is how the pollster has weighted their figures its not credible.

The unweighted figures show Tories third.

Anonymous said...

I see the twit/twat that told the world Maggie was dead is now advertising himself for a seat. How embarrassing. Have these people no humility?

ian said...

Tories first losers, you mean?

Luke young said...

Thanks for publicising that the Tories are on the march! helps us out a lot with our get-out-the-vote campaign in the Valleys :)

Anonymous said...

Mmmm...I'm sure that this good performance is down to the pro-Welsh faction in the local Tory Party, but I'm sure some Anti-welsh blimps will come along to scupper things before polling day. Labour is in for a very well deserved hammering, Plaid doesn't deserve to make progress but probably will.

sanddef said...

The poll's fine, but the number crunching isn't. Getting a few % more than Plaid is not enough to get them de facto in second place. And despite what your Tory guest suggested, Plaid are major players in Assembly politics. What happens in the Generals is irrelevant. The Welsh are doing what many devolved nations and regions throughout Europe do, namely voting differently for different governmental bodies. Having lived on the continent I saw it coming as soon as we voted "yes" in 1997. In simple terms Plaid is relevant to a wide range of voters in the Welsh elections, whereas only traditional supporters will vote them into Westminster. Similarly Plaid have an even greater success in the Euro-elections because of the lesser importance of those elections to the Welsh (I'm guessing). In short: the Tories can hope to (indeed, already had) become equal to Plaid, but Wales, like Scotland, IS a four party race -at home- and shall remain so for a long time to come.

alpha dale said...

So: "Tories lose in Wales" is your real headline?

Blamerbell said...

"Meaningless unless on a constituency by constituency basis or at least fed into an engine that sorts that all out."

Spot on.

Take Llanelli: 21 votes will swing it.

Now, if Plaid win that seat they might lose one on the regional list, such is the mathematics of the PR system.

Add to that the fact that this poll only interviewed 1500 people across the whole of Wales and that there is absolutely no polling context within which to consider its results and what you get is much of a nothingness.

Mike Wood said...

1,500 is a respectable sample. It is more than most opinion poll companies interview from the whole of Britain for the polls that appear on the front pages of newspapers.

I'm always reluctant to read too much into opinion polls but this one is at least as credible as any other.

Political commentators normally assume that there will be a uniform national swing - which never happens. Because of the electoral systam in Wales, if there is a similar swing across the five different regions in Wales then the ITV projections will be about right.

As Blamerbell says, if Plaid win Llanelli from Labour then that will almost certainly be offset by Labour taking a seat from Plaid on the regional ballot.

I can understand why Labour (and Plaid) will want to cast doubt on this poll but we are certainly making progress. There's a strong mood for change and Plaid and the Lib Dems are suffering from their refusal to be open about whether they will prop up Labour if invited to form a coalition.

Why should people who want a change of government vote for Plaid or the Lib Dems when the chances are they will then end up with a Labour-Plaid or Labour-Lib Dem coalition. A choice between a Labour Assembly Government and a Labour-led coalition Assembly Government isn't a choice, it's an echo.

If people think that Conservative voters are less likely to vote then, rather than carping from the sidelines they can come over to Wales to help us to get out our vote. I'm going out leafleting now but anyone who wants to help any of our candidates can contact me at

sanddef said...

"I can understand why Labour (and Plaid) will want to cast doubt on this poll but we are certainly making progress."

Because ITV polls are always way off the mark (see Alwyn's post). As he points out, the polls are configured as if the Welsh electorate are going to vote in the same way as the English do. They don't. For a start, there's no Plaid factor in England. We are demographically distinct.

Having said that, there's no doubting that the Tories will increase their number of seats, have made progress, and I would say have gone at least 80% of the way towards becoming completely and uniquely Welsh (not including dropping Unionism, of course). But it is still doubtful that they will become the second party in the Senedd. More likely is Plaid: 14/15 and Tories: 13

By the way: assuming that Cameron wins the next generals, Welsh Tories will really face a challenge in setting themselves apart from the Westminster party. Cameron is NOT responsable in ANY way for Tory success in Assembly-Wales. That distinction belongs to the Tory AMs alone.

David Lindsay said...

How Cameroon are the Welsh Tory AMs and AMs-in-waiting?

sanddef said...

"How Cameroon are the Welsh Tory AMs and AMs-in-waiting? "

Good question. They have as yet no reason to be anything other than "Cameroon", it is only when Cameron becomes PM that this could potentially be problematic. Theoretically, both the Welsh and Scottish Tories could become becomed independent "confederates" of the English party, in much the same way that the Bavarian CSU is a confederate of the German CDU. That way they could distance themselves from any UK Tory governmental gaffs without actually having to be at odds with the "mother" party. It would also (and I'm possibly shooting myself in the foot here as a Plaid Cymru supporter) potentially attract centre-right nationalists who vote Plaid Cymru because there is no centre-right nationalist option.

Chris Paul said...

Dementia, moi? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. The 45% "certain to vote" will not all do so. The poll is interesting but not worth so much analysis. It is a one off poll and inherently even more unreliable than the general Hoi Poll Oi as my Welsh granny would say (101 years old next week).