Thursday, 2 February 2012
No appetite for Welsh independence
The big surprise in the latest poll by ITV Wales is that the majority of Plaid Cymru voters don’t want independence even if Scotland has gone it’s separate way.
The poll indicates that even with Scotland being independent only a third (33%) of Plaid voters would want an independent Wales, with 42% preferring to stay in the UK with more power devolved to Wales. This would tend to vindicate the line of both Dafydd Elis-Thomas and Simon Thomas in the current Plaid leadership contest.
When asked about Scottish independence the majority polled thought that Scotland would be worse off (47%) with less than a quarter thinking that the Scots would be worse off (23%). The rest either didn’t know or thought it would not make a difference.
If Scotland became independent many thought Wales would be worse off. Only 12% thought that Wales would be better off 31% thought that the country would be worse off, but over half either didn’t know or thought it would not make a great deal of difference.
But when asked how Wales should be governed if Scotland became independent only 10% thought Wales should become independent. Those wanting Wales to have more powers had a slight edge (32%) on those that wanted the existing situation to remain (30%)
On voting intention Labour still have a commanding lead in Wales and the Liberal Democrats still see their vote hemorrhaging away.
Nationally the latest polls show a one point Labour lead. ComRes’s monthly telephone poll for the Independent has top line figures of CON 37%(-1), LAB 38%(nc), LDEM 14%(+2). Meanwhile the daily YouGov poll for the Sun has top line figures of CON 39%, LAB 40%, LDEM 9%.
Clearly the two major parties are running neck and neck with the Liberal Democrats trailing but the ComRes poll is giving them a slight boost.
The difference between voting intentions in Wales and England become very clear when comparing the Welsh poll with the latest ones for England.
Labour will be very pleased with themselves with the Wales results but will have a lot less to smile about with the national polls.
The gap between Labour and Conservative is obviously the same (and seems to be very typical of recent polls showing the two main parties pretty much neck-and-neck.) There is more contrast with the Lib Dems: YouGov normally give the party their lowest scores, the 14% from ComRes is one of their better scores of late from a non-ICM pollster.
The poll details and ITV Wales’s commentary are below.
Suppose Scotland became independent from the United Kingdom
Scotland would be better off: 23%
Scotland would be worse off: 47%
No big difference/don’t know: 30%
Wales would be better off: 12%
Wales would be worse off: 31%
No big difference/don’t know: 57%
England would be better off: 21%
England would be worse off: 28%
No big difference/don’t know: 52%
How should Wales be governed in a UK without Scotland?
No devolved Welsh Government or National Assembly: 17%
Fewer powers for Welsh Govt and National Assembly: 3%
Remain in the UK on same basis as at present: 30%
More powers for Welsh Govt and National Assembly: 32%
Wales becomes independent from the United Kingdom: 10%
Don’t know: 7%
The present settlement was of course approved in a referendum in March last year. Back then, our polling found just 17% wanting more devolution than was on offer, including 6% support for independence. A year later –and if Scotland left the UK- that’s 42%, including 10% for independence. The 17% for ending devolved government and scrapping the Assembly is the same as last year.
Opinion varies depending on which political party people support. If Scotland leaves the UK, most Labour supporters either want to stick with the present settlement in Wales (36%) or favour more powers short of independence (39%).
For 40% of Conservative supporters, Scotland leaving the UK would be the time to end devolution to Wales and scrap the Assembly, 30% would leave things as they are.
Even with an independent Scotland, only a third (33%) of Plaid voters would want an independent Wales, with 42% preferring to stay in the UK with more power devolved to Wales. These figures are based on how people would cast their constituency votes in an Assembly election.
That brings us to how people say they would vote if there was an election now.
Assembly Constituency Vote (May 2011 result in brackets)
Labour 49% (42%)
Conservative 20% (25%)
Plaid Cymru 17% (19%)
Lib Dem 7% (11%)
Others 7% (3%)
Assembly Regional Vote (May 2011 result in brackets)
Labour 45% (37%)
Conservative 20% (23%)
Plaid Cymru 15% (18%)
Lib Dem 7% (8%)
Others 13% (15%)
At first glance, that shows Labour up and the other parties down, compared with the result last May. But today’s figures are very close to the poll we published the day before the Assembly election. (Those figures are shown on the spreadsheet). Once we adjust for differential turnout there has been very little change since May 2011.
Turnout is less of an issue at Westminster elections and here our poll shows a big increase in Labour support –and a big drop for the Lib Dems- since May 2010.
Westminster Vote (May 2010 result in brackets)
Labour 50% (36%)
Conservative 25% (26%)
Plaid Cymru 11% (11%)
Lib Dem 6% (20%)
Others 9% (7%).