Some thoughts on St David’s Day Poll

If the results of our St David's Day poll are reflected in the general election next year then we're unlikely to be seeing a dramatic change in the electoral map of Wales.

In fact, there are only two obvious changes, with Labour overturning a Conservative majority in Cardiff North of under 1% and Labour taking Cardiff Central from the Liberal Democrats.

The poll indicates that support for Labour is up six points on 42%.

In the 2010 general election, Labour had 36% of the vote which was their lowest since the war.

So this is an expected improvement, but it's not the sweet spot of a 45% share which would put Labour in a better position in the Conservative-held seats like the Vale of Glamorgan, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire and Aberconwy.

That said, when you consider the inevitable local factors which the polls don't take into account, then we can expect there to be plenty of highly competitive constituencies next year.

Voting intention

The poll suggests that support for the Conservatives is holding steady with a drop of two points to 24%.

The Liberal Democrats have seen a drop of 11 points to 9%, which is the main reason why they could see a majority of 13% being overturned in Cardiff Central.

Plaid have come out fairly strongly, particularly for a general election, with a rise of three points to 14%. But it wouldn't give them enough of a swing to take a seat like Llanelli where Labour has a 12% majority.

As well as figures on voting intention, one of the questions in the poll was the same as the one that will be asked to the people of Scotland on 18 September: "Should Scotland become an independent country?"

Nineteen per cent said yes and 69% said it should remain part of the UK.

Abolition camp

One of the interesting angles was how views on independence in Wales potentially changed in the event of a yes vote in Scotland.

And the results suggest very little. Five per cent came out supporting independence for Wales in our poll, which only grew to 7% if Scotland votes yes.

It would appear our views on constitutional matters like this are shaped by the Wales-England relationship rather than by what happens further afield in Scotland.

When it comes to the assembly, 37% support more powers and 23% support its abolition.

There's been a 10 point increase in the abolition camp since 2010. It appears that the people who used to vote for fewer powers for the assembly are coming out in favour of abolition.

In other words, when it comes to the assembly we may be seeing a polarisation of views.

And a quick word on the results to a question on whether the UK should remain part of the EU.

Fifty four per cent wanted to stay in and 40% wanted to pull out, which reverses last year's results which put the number wanting to pull out at 49% and remain in at 45%.

It's difficult to know exactly what's behind that result but one possibility could be that the prospect of an in-out referendum has been sharpening minds or the lack of Euro crisis stories has softened attitudes.