Archive for September, 2010

Latest poll results for Wales

Ed Miliband has been given a real lift in the latest ITV Wales YouGov tracking poll. Labour have leaped ahead by 5 per cent within the last Month. The poll has been conducted this week a few days since Ed Miliband was elected leader.

Labour have gained 12 per cent since the last Assembly elections. If this poll was replicated in next year’s Assembly elections, they would be heading for a majority over all the other parties.

Plaid Cymru with 19 per cent must feel disappointed for they fall 3 per cent behind the Tories. This is the first time since ITV Wales have been tracking the parties, that this has happened. Their status as the second largest party in the Assembly could be in jeopardy if this is the result next May.

The Conservatives have not moved in the polls since August with 22 per cent, the same percentage figure as they gained in the last Assembly elections.

The Liberal Democrats are still under performing with just 11 per cent, well below the 20 per cent they gained in May and the 15 per cent they gained in the last Assembly elections.

It is clear that both Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats as junior partners in their respective coalitions both in Cardiff Bay and Westminster are been squeezed in the polls.

Of course the Assembly has a PR element and their is a top up from the regional lists. The polling results in the regions show some slight variations from the constituency poll. Consequently translating the results of the polls into seats is not a straight forward exercise and should be done with caution.

The ’˜yes’ campaigners can take some heart from the poll they still have a 19 per cent lead on the ’˜no’ side. Twenty per cent of the population have still to make their minds up on the issue. This must be a cause of some concern to those that want a positive result.

Finally, should it be Ed or Dave, well on the poll evidence Ed was the right choice for Wales.

A summary of the poll is as follows:-

ITV WALES YOUGOV TRACKING POLL.

Results of poll carried out 27th to 29th September 2010. sample size: 1088. This month’s poll includes the usual tracking questions plus a one-off question on the Labour party’s choice of new leader.

ASSEMBLY VOTING INTENTION

(compared with 2007 election and previous polls)

If there were an election to the National Assembly for Wales tomorrow, and thinking about the constituency vote, how would you vote?

2007 Result May 2010 Poll June Poll July Poll Aug Poll Sept Poll

Labour 32% 32% 42% 40% 39% 44%

Plaid Cymru 22% 22% 20% 22% 23% 19%

Conservative 22% 21% 19% 20% 22% 22%

Liberal Dem 15% 20% 12% 13% 10% 11%

Others 8% 5% 6% 5% 6% 5%

And thinking about the regional or party vote for the National Assembly for Wales, which party list would you vote for?

2007 Result May 2010 Poll June Poll July Poll Aug Poll Sept Poll

Labour 30% 30% 40% 37% 39% 41%

Plaid Cymru 21% 21% 19% 20% 23% 19%

Conservative 22% 21% 20% 20% 21% 20%

Liberal Dem 12% 18% 12% 14% 9% 12%

Others 16% 9% 9% 8% 8% 8%

REFERENDUM VOTING INTENTION

(compared with previous polls).

If there were to be a referendum tomorrow on giving the National Assembly for Wales increased law-making powers, how would you vote?

April 2010 Poll June Poll July Poll August Poll September Poll

Yes 49% 55% 48% 48% 49%

No 33% 28% 34% 32% 30%

Don’t Know/ 18% 17% 19% 21% 20%

Wouldn’t Vote

This Saturday, the Labour party elected Ed Miliband as its leader, ahead of his older brother, David. Which one of the Miliband brothers would have made you more likely to vote for the Labour party at future elections?

More likely with Ed Miliband as leader 13%

Would have been more likely if David Miliband was leader 9%

I would vote Labour anyway 24%

I would not vote Labour anyway 40%

Don’t know 15%

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Pick and mix?

Assembly elections will soon be with us. The parties will be led to the fray by the existing party leaders. Some of them may be secretly hoping that their parties do less well than they would ever publicly admit to.

For in the strange world of Assembly elections political advantage can as often rest on your party doing badly as your party having winning ways.

Would Alun Michael have been Wales’s First Secretary if Labour had won a few more seats in the West of Wales in that first Assembly election. Some in his own party might have wished for better results in that part of the world so that Rhodri Morgan could have claimed the crown that many thought should have been rightfully his a bit earlier.

And so with Nick Bourne, the Conservative party leader in Wales. He holds his seat by virtue of having top place for his party on the Mid and West Wales regional list. Now for him to keep his place and be re-elected, the Conservatives must not win anymore gains the constituencies in that region.

Up until 2006, it was possible for candidates to put their names on both their parties regional list as well as fight a constituency, indeed Nick Bourne was in such a position fighting the Brecon and Radnor constituency as well as topping the Mid and West Wales list.

But Labour put a stop to the practice. They claimed it wasn’t right for a candidate to be rejected by the electors in a constituency and then arrive at the Assembly by virtue of the regional list. The poor electors were confused and did not like it, argued Labour. Although it was hard to find an elector that cared a fig.

However, Peter Hain as always, ever wishing to accommodate, put a clause in the last Government of Wales Act 2006 to stop candidates hedging their bets by fighting in both constituencies and on lists.

However, back to the matter in hand, it is surely very much in Nick Bourne’s personal interest that Kirsty Williams the Liberal Democrat leader retains her Brecon and Radnorshire seat and that the neighbouring Montgomeryshire seat does not follow the Westminster result and become a Tory gain.

Of course, Kirsty Williams must also be hoping that Nick Bourne gets his wishes for if the Tories were to gain new seats in the region these would more than likely be at the expense of the Liberal Democrats.

It is not too far fetched to envisage both parties having to look for new leaders after the Assembly elections.

Of course, there is a solution – an understanding between the two parties.

Could the love-in between the two parties that form the coalition in Westminster be replicated in Wales? It could be in both parties interest.

If the ITVWales YouGov polls are to be believed the Liberal Democrat vote in Wales has collapsed. So it certainly would be helpful to them if the Conservatives could give them a clear run in some seats – Cardiff Central comes to mind. So a pact between the parties on the ground might help both parties.

And such an understanding could ward off a potential embarrassment for both parties – losing their leaders. Who in their parties could ConDem such a marriage?

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Referendum campaign poised to tee off

A date’s been set, and it looks as if that wily operator Cheryl Gillan the Secretary of States, whose call it is, agrees. So the civil partnership agreed between the political parties in the Assembly will begin.

A ’˜yes’ campaign organised by all the political parties in the Assembly will be teeing off when the last putt of the Ryder cup is holed.

Unlike last time, none of Wales’s main political parties will be urging a ’˜no’ vote. All will be singing from the same hymn book on this.

Even the Conservatives, who were part of the ’˜no’ campaign last time are free to campaign as they wish. However, the Conservative Members of the Assembly are all likely to be prominent in the ’˜yes’ campaign.

Welsh Conservative leader, Nick Bourne, a leading member of the ’˜no’ campaign last time, has had a Damascus type conversion, seen the error of his previous ways, and is now poised with all the enthusiasm of the newly converted, to actively campaign for a stronger devolved institution in Cardiff Bay.

Although no one can question Carwyn Jones’s devolution credentials and he claims that ‘Welsh Labour is proud of our commitment to devolution. We delivered a referendum to establish the Assembly back in 1999 and in 2006 we created the legislation which has paved the way for today’s announcement. A positive outcome for the referendum will mean the Assembly can make laws for the people of Wales more efficiently and in a more cost effective manner.’

However, many within his party may not be as enthusiastic about the onward march of devolution. Some are unreconstructed unionists. This small rump may actively oppose a ’˜yes’ vote. They live in the forlorn hope that a win for the ’˜no’ camp will seriously de-rail devolution. A lost referendum may provide the springboard to a campaign that could eventually lead to the scrapping of the Assembly itself.

The setting of the date of the referendum before the end of this Assembly term vindicates Plaid Cymru leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones’s, political stance. He could have been the First Minister of a rainbow coalition of Conservatives, Plaid and Liberal Democrats but instead he chose to get into bed with Labour.

He calculated that only Labour could deliver the required two thirds vote of assembly members required to trigger a referendum on more powers.

As he said, ‘This is an important and symbolic step in the process of arranging the referendum and it clearly signals that the countdown to the vote is well underway. I’m proud that Plaid in government has realised this hugely important commitment to bring about this referendum. The current system is slow, cumbersome, and highly bureaucratic and it needs to be changed. We’re committed to taking action to bring about real change and real improvements.’

According to recent opinion polls the ’˜yes’ vote are likely to have a majority. But people tend to punish politicians if they are unhappy. The question is will they use the referendum on devolution as a vehicle for their dissatisfaction. Because dissatisfied they surely will be, when the comprehensive spending review cuts bite.

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