Election 2015 Wales

Election 2015: Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire

Simon Hart
Image caption Simon Hart is seeking to hold the seat he won in 2010

"For 20% of my patch, the election is over," says Conservative candidate Simon Hart.

They are the postal voters - and he is one of them - who voted early.

As for everyone else in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Mr Hart is putting in the miles to win your support.

This constituency stretches from the town of Carmarthen in the east to Pembroke and Pembroke Dock on the busy Haven Waterway in the west.

In between there are large swathes of rural countryside, small villages and seaside towns such as Tenby.

"I have always made a point since the last election of going to every single one of our 35,000 households, every single one of our 120 villages and towns, because I know there is support in all of them," Mr Hart said.

His is a very local campaign; one of his leaflets proclaims the occasions when he stuck up for his constituents by rebelling against the UK government.

On the economy however, he is holding the party line.

Mr Hart deploys statistics about falling unemployment to show the coalition has got the country moving in the right direction.

Image caption Delyth Evans said voters are responding to Ed Miliband

But Labour candidate Delyth Evans, who is trying to overturn the majority of 3,423 Mr Hart won in 2010, says people are nervous.

"I'm not picking up any optimism and I do find that very depressing because you do need to feel that things are going to get better and the government is on your side," she said.

Does that mean they will put their faith in Ed Miliband?

"Nobody is saying I prefer David Cameron to Mr Miliband, but I'll tell you honestly that Ed Miliband did come up a while ago," she said.

"He's not factoring in in the same way at all any more and I think as people have seen more of him in these debates, when it's not just the negative Tory press that they're reading, people are persuaded by him and I'm definitely picking that up at the moment."

Image caption Elwyn Williams said Plaid Cymru are in the hunt with Labour and the Conservatives

Plaid Cymru has done well here in assembly elections, but was far behind in fourth at the last general election.

Their candidate Elwyn Williams said it would be a different story this time around.

"Without any shadow of a doubt it is now a three-way fight," he said.

He is equally sure about the dominant issue. It is the NHS, he said, particularly changes to services at Withybush and Glangwili hospitals.

The health service tops the list of voters's concerns according to his Labour and Tory rivals too.

Image caption John Atkinson said UKIP has strong support in the area

But UKIP candidate John Atkinson said voters were preoccupied by another topic - immigration.

And his party's stance on the issue is winning him support across the seat in places that were once solid Tory or Labour, he claims.

"We can't understand why the polls are saying we're only on 13%. Virtually everybody we speak to says yes we're voting UKIP," he said.

Does he expect to win? "I wouldn't go into any competition if I didn't think I could win it - honestly," he added.

Image caption The response to the Liberal Democrats is "surprisingly good", said Selwyn Runnett

Standing for the Liberal Democrats, who came third here last time, is Selwyn Runnett.

Given recent poor results for the party, I ask whether he was just hoping to keep the Lib Dem flame alive, rather than mount a serious challenge.

"I know people think that," he said.

"But we are running a real campaign. We've done a lot of local campaigning talking to people about the issues that matter to them."

He says the reaction he gets is "surprisingly good".

Image caption Gary Tapley says his party's aim is to transform so that it is not just about making money

Green Party candidate Gary Tapley sees his campaign as the "first step in a long journey" to bring politics back to "people rather than just profit".

He said he was finding voters "very receptive" to his party's message, but his challenge is to get away from "fear mongering" suggesting society was "all about money".

Mr Tapley said he was up against the "constant" political message that "the only way things can work is if the figures are there, it doesn't matter how the people feel".

"Surely, if you get the people right, then then they will work more productively, and society will function?" he added.

Mr Tapley said he was expecting a "credible" performance on polling day, adding "whatever happens, we've arrived".

This seat, 62nd on Labour's list of top 106 battlegrounds in the UK, will be watched closely to see whether voters deliver a surprise on May 7.

The list of candidates for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire can be seen here.

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