This week’s Welsh barometer opinion poll told us a variety of things. Whilst it is probably too early to read too much accurately into the predictive figures for Assembly voting intentions, the numbers expressed for voting intention in a UK General Election in Wales made interesting reading. The Conservatives were pointed to get 29% of the vote and win 17 of the 40 seats, all at the expense of Labour who were predicted to end up on 18 seats based on a 25% share. This was a dramatic shift, while the Lib Dems and Plaid were forecast to just hold on to their current number of seats.
Confronted with this brutal reality check, much of the vocal political elite was once more left confused, angry and frustrated that swathes of the population simply don’t share their opinions or their priorities.
The situation is simply this: there are emerging and disconnected worlds. If you can’t understand why, as an ardent Remainer, you just don’t sense or see these Brexit supporting voters in such numbers, this it’s because Wales is as polarised as England. Of those who voted Leave in 2016 – and remember they were the majority in Wales – a full 49% now say they intend to vote Conservative. That is staggering in Wales terms.
In Westminster terms there’s an inherent problem for ardent remainers though who want their parties to do better. Any Tory boost is consuming Brexit Party supporters. If Plaid or the Lib Dems were similarly boosted, that would presumably be at Labour expense. The net effect of which wouldn’t, unless the swing was huge, see more Plaid wins. It would, however, lead to more Labour losses to the Conservatives…
Perhaps that’s why so many on the Labour and Plaid benches looked so utterly glum this week.