As we wait for votes to be counted in the 2021 Senedd election, it's likely that we will know the constituency results several hours before we know how things will play out on the list.

One thing to bear in mind is that votes for candidates in a constituency do no always translate into the same level of support for that candidate’s party on the list. This is because of split-ticket voting, where voters cast votes for two different parties across the constituency and list ballots.

Figure 1: % of voters casting split tickets in previous Welsh election

This is…

In the 2019 Welsh Election Study, we (Richard Wyn Jones, Dan Wincott, Ed Gareth Poole and I) asked respondents their thoughts on some of the questions social scientists have been grappling with about elections in Wales:

1. Historically, the Labour Party in Wales have tended to do better than in the rest of Britain. Why do you think this is?

2. Conservative support in Wales has historically been lower than in the rest of Britain. Why do you think this is?

3. Plaid Cymru has not been able to replicate the success of the SNP in Scotland. …

The question of Wales’ constitutional settlement has recieved increased attention in recent months. In particular, questions of constitutional preferences in the ITV Wales Barometer polls are more frequently becoming headline news, both within and outside of Wales. Depending on who you listen to, you might think that support for independence is surging or the Welsh public are fed up with devolution and want to scrap the whole thing.

Given its growing prominence, I thought it was worth looking at the different ways surveys (and specifically the Barometer surveys) actually measure these preferences and what we should (and shouldn’t) take from…

By comparing the Welsh Barometer polls from just prior to the campaign beginning and the most recent (and final) poll we can see which issues have become more or less salient over the course of the General Election campaign in Wales.

‘Health’ is the biggest mover, with just under half of respondents naming it as one of the top 3 most important issues at this General Election, with ‘Crime’ and ‘More powers for Wales’ seeing the largest decrease in salience.

The most recent Welsh Barometer Poll asked respondents about the issues they considered to be most important at the upcoming General Election. Respondents were shown a list of issues and asked to select up to three that they considered the most important at this election.**

A similar poll carried out roughly four weeks before the 2017 General asked the same question, allowing us to see how the relative importance of issues has changed for voters.

The Figure below compares results from the two polls, and show the change in the proportion of respondents selecting each issue since 2017.


Jac Larner

Lecturer in Political Science, Cardiff University.

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