Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The BBC 'devolution' poll - what makes North Wales different?

The BBC has carried out a poll to gauge the level of support in Wales for the Welsh Assembly. The headline results, with only 13% of respondents wanting the Welsh Assembly abolished, show how much Welsh public opinion has swung behind the concept of some kind of devolved government in Wales over the past 30 years:

click to enlarge

As the Druid is a 'Gog Blog' it is always interesting with all-Wales polls to see how the opinions of North Wales residents differ from those of Wales as a whole.

North Wales: pro-Assembly, anti-Westminster

North Wales residents are much more pro-Assembly and anti-Westminster than any other part of Wales: only 17% of North Wales respondents thought Westminster should have the most influence over Wales - much less than the 25% of West & Mid Wales respondents or 27% of SE Wales respondents. Similarly 69% of North Wales respondents thought that the Welsh Assembly should have the most influence over Wales - more than the 63% of West & Mid Wales respondents and just 57% of SE Wales respondents. Furthermore, just 6% of North Wales respondents agreed with the statement "Wales should remain in the UK and the Assembly should be abolished", compared with 12% and 16% of West & Mid Wales and SE Wales respondents. This is actually quite surprising as it has commonly been thought that there is a resentment in North Wales against the Assembly being located in a 'distant' South Wales - this is obviously no longer the case with the most unequivocal support for the Assembly actually coming from North Wales.

North Wales: comparatively anti-Labour, pro-Conservative except in reference to the economy

In response to the question "Putting aside your own party preference, which of the four main party leaders in Wales do you think has the qualities to be the best First Minister for Wales?", only 28% of North Wales respondents named Labour's Carwyn Jones compared to 43% of West & Mid Wales respondents and 40% of SE Wales respondents. Surprisingly the support for Plaid Cymru's Ieuan Wyn Jones at around 16% was virtually the same in North and South Wales, whereas the Conservatives' Nick Bourne was named by 15% of North Wales respondents compared with just 9% and 7% of West & Mid Wales and SE Wales respondents.

In terms of the economy, however, North Wales respondents showed the same levels of support for Gordon Brown and Carwyn Jones (47%) as the rest of Wales. Strangely, however, despite their greater willingness to support Nick Bourne as First Minister, less North Wales residents thought David Cameron & Nick Bourne where stronger on the economy (21%) compared to West & Mid Wales (26%) and SE Wales (23%). Clearly David Cameron's personal standing is not as much of an asset in North Wales as elsewhere.

You can download the poll data yourself here (pdf).


Dyfed said...

I'm not sure you should be surprised about the north-west being pro-Assembly. Much is made of supposed anti-Cardiff sentiment in the north but I've always believed that that was more media driven than anything else. Consider also that the region is Plaid's stronghold.

Neither should you be surprised about DC's standing - I fear that his good poll ratings were more to do with an 'anyone but Gordon' sentiment than actual pro-DC.

Must commend you on your detailed work on the economy in your posts, before I sign off. Second only to Dylan Jones-Evans ;-) And how pleased must you be that Ynys Mon's Tory candidate has mirrored many of your points in last week's Mail. The best type of flattery, surely!

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Dyfed - you're right that North West Wales is a Plaid stronghold but I was a little surprised that Ieuan Wyn Jones's personal support in North Wales was only a couple of percentage points higher (18%) than in Mid or South Wales (15% and 16% respectively). On the economy, however, the Plaid pairing of IWJ and Elfyn Llwyd did better with support from 18% of N Wales residents, compared to just 12% in Mid and South Wales.

I think you are right on DC, and believe its possible that Nick Bourne's personal standing is depressed due to his lack of visibility of Welsh media compared to Carwyn Jones.

Finally, thank you for your commendations. Dylan Jones-Evans's 'evidence-based' blogging is an inspiration!