The Survation poll for the new think tank the Centre for Welsh Studies unveiled this week makes very interesting reading. It showed in constituency polling for the first Welsh Parliament election that Labour would get 40%, the Conservatives 26%, Plaid Cymru 18%, the Brexit Party 8% and the Liberal Democrats 7%. On the regional list Labour was on 36%, the Conservatives on 23%, Plaid Cymru on 22% (notice their rise here), while the Brexit Party polled 10% and in doing so is projected to win 5 Welsh Parliament seats May.
This data sits as a bit of a contrast to the Welsh Barometer Poll of a week ago which gave the constituency/regional votes as follows:
Labour: 34% / 32 %
Conservatives: 31% / 28%
Plaid Cymru: 22% / 24%
Liberal Democrats: 5% / 5%
Brexit Party: 3% / 3%
Greens & Others: 6% / 8%
Prof Roger Awan-Scully, who of course heads the Wales Barometer Polling, has welcomed the Survation data, but also offers words of caution in his blog. This seems to centre on the framing of a particular question which may have led to the inflating of some parties’ votes. Most particularly, some people struggle to believe a Brexit MS could be elected next year, and have doubts whether five would be. Indeed, it is the difference in scores between the Welsh Barometer Poll and the Survation Poll in respect of the Brexit Party which is the most struggle.
How to judge all this. Mike Hedges MS offered this advice to me yesterday: “It is best to compare polls to the last assembly and general election. 2016 assembly constituency vote labour 35%, Plaid Cymru 21%, Conservatives 21%, UKIP 13% and Lib Dem’s 8%.” That is definitely a good yardstick.
Additionally, the regional list information is always useful. Looking back at that polling data, one thing that struck me was the UKIP data. On the regional lists in 2016 they polled between 23,000 and 26,000 votes in four regions but 35,000 votes in South Wales East. Bearing in mind you have been able to get into the Assembly sometimes with around 13,000 regional votes or under 10% of a regional electorate, then the challenge of getting elected looks a lot easier.
While I struggle to see the Brexit Party getting five MSs based on the current political climate and circumstances, regardless of what any polling data currently shows, I equally struggle to believe they will not secure the election of one member. Further, bearing in mind the Abolish the Assembly Party was within spitting distance of winning a regional list in Mid & West Wales in 2016 with absolutely no campaign whatsoever, then its prospects must be better now it’s upped its game and is receiving media exposure. Those who believe that neither the Brexit Party nor Abolish the Assembly Party have any chance of being in the next Welsh Parliament are deluding themselves.