Saturday 24 February 2018

Labour to keep grip on power in Wales

A man arrives to cast his vote at the polling station in Westward Community Centre, Bridgend
A man arrives to cast his vote at the polling station in Westward Community Centre, Bridgend

Benjamin Wright in London

Labour will remain the biggest party in the Welsh Assembly but will lose seats, a poll on the eve of the election has suggested.

Voters went to the ballot box yesterday with the ruling Labour administration seeking a record fifth term in office.

A YouGov/ITV Wales poll has predicted that the party looks set to keep its grip on power – with a 33pc share of the constituency vote and 31pc on regional ballots.

However, Wednesday’s poll anticipated that Labour would win three fewer seats than in the 2011 election – which could mean a minority or coalition government in the Senedd.

The poll also predicted second place will be fought between the Welsh Conservatives and Plaid Cymru – with significant gains for Ukip.

Academic and political commentator Professor Roger Scully, who drew up a seat projection based on the figures, said Labour remained the party to beat.

He said: “It remains well ahead of the field, though their support levels in this poll are close to those in 2007, their worst-ever Assembly election.

“No other party has yet mounted a strong challenge to them. This is despite the party having lost considerable ground since 2011. The final YouGov poll before the last election had the party on 47pc for the constituency vote and 43pc for the regional list ballot.”

Prof Scully’s seat projection, based on the figures, predicted the following results:

Labour: 27 seats (25 constituency seats, two list seats); Plaid Cymru: 12 seats (six constituency seats, six list seats); Conservatives: 11 seats (seven constituency seats, four list seats); Ukip: Eight seats (Eight list seats); Liberal Democrats: Two seats (Two constituency seats).

Prof Scully added: “This is a very disappointing poll for Plaid Cymru. Our two previous Barometer polls had apparently suggested some momentum in the Plaid campaign, yet this final pre-election poll shows any apparent surge in their support halting, and possibly even going into reverse.

“The Tories will be more encouraged by this poll: the trend downwards in their support seems to have been checked.”

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