OVER half the people in Wales want to see the nation gain more powers, or independence.
That’s according to a poll conducted by ICM released in time for St. David’s Day.
The yearly poll commissioned by the BBC gives people five options ranging from independence to scrapping the Senedd completely.
The poll showed that with ‘don’t-knows’ removed 52% wanted independence or more powers, while only 19% wanted fewer powers or to abolish the institution. Less than a third, 29%, wanted to retain the status quo.
The poll also suggests Labour is in a “strong position” to have an overall majority after the next Senedd election.
The election is scheduled for May; on the constituency vote, Labour polled 39% in the survey – an increase of eight percentage points since last year and the party’s highest rating since it scored 40% in February 2018.
However, that polling high watermark has not been reflected in Labour’s electoral performance in Wales.
The Conservatives’ vote share has decreased since 2020 by seven points, going down from 31% to 24%.
This puts the Tories on level pegging with Plaid Cymru, whose poll rating has slipped two percentage points since this time last year.
Similarly, the Liberal Democrats have seen a slight decrease in their level of support, down to 4%.
Commenting on the poll, Professor Roger Awan-Scully of Cardiff University said: “The new poll suggests that Labour is in a strong position to, once again, come first in this year’s Senedd election.
“Labour has won the most votes and most seats at all five previous devolved elections in Wales.
“And while many things about this year’s election are likely to be very different, one continuity is that Labour is currently ahead of the field once again.
“The Conservatives and Plaid seem set for a close contest for second place, and both may be on course to increase their numbers in the Senedd.”
One thing that has changed is that young voters, those aged 16-17 can take part for the first time. It is thought that younger voters are left-leaning, favouring Labour and Plaid Cymru – however, it’s not yet known what the level of participation will be from people in that age group, or whether enough will vote to make much of a difference in the outcome.
ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 1,001 people aged 16+ by telephone on Jan 28-Feb 21 2021. Interviews were conducted across Wales and the results have been weighted to the profile of all Welsh adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.