Since before Christmas, Carwyn Jones has been warning about the dangers he sees in Scottish Independence. The First Minister says it would be bad for Scotland but also bad for Wales. He argues that urgent constitutional reform would be needed to protect Wales’s position. The latest YouGov poll for ITV Wales takes a look at whether his message is getting through to the voters. The poll was of 1008 Welsh adults and was carried out between January 30th and February 1st.
It seems that Welsh people have been thinking about what would happen to Scotland if it left the UK but less about the consequences for Wales (or England).
Suppose Scotland became independent from the United Kingdom
Scotland would be better off: 23%
Scotland would be worse off: 47%
No big difference/don’t know: 30%
Wales would be better off: 12%
Wales would be worse off: 31%
No big difference/don’t know: 57%
England would be better off: 21%
England would be worse off: 28%
No big difference/don’t know: 52%
But nearly everyone had an opinion about the future of Wales if Scotland chose independence.
How should Wales be governed in a UK without Scotland?
No devolved Welsh Government or National Assembly: 17%
Fewer powers for Welsh Govt and National Assembly: 3%
Remain in the UK on same basis as at present: 30%
More powers for Welsh Govt and National Assembly: 32%
Wales becomes independent from the United Kingdom: 10%
Don’t know: 7%
The present settlement was of course approved in a referendum in March last year. Back then, our polling found just 17% wanting more devolution than was on offer, including 6% support for independence. A year later –and if Scotland left the UK- that shoots up to 42%, including 10% for independence. The 17% for ending devolved government and scrapping the Assembly is the same as last year.
Naturally, opinion varies depending on which political party people support. If Scotland leaves the UK, most Labour supporters either want to stick with the present settlement in Wales (36%) or favour more powers short of independence (39%).
For 40% of Conservative supporters, Scotland leaving the UK would be the time to end devolution to Wales and scrap the Assembly, 30% would leave things as they are. The views of Plaid Cymru supporters are also striking. Even with an independent Scotland, only a third (33%) of Plaid voters would want an independent Wales, with 42% preferring to stay in the UK with more power devolved to Wales. These figures are based on how people would cast their constituency votes in an Assembly election.
That brings us to how people say they would vote if there was an election now.
Assembly Constituency Vote (May 2011 result in brackets)
Labour 49% (42%)
Conservative 20% (25%)
Plaid Cymru 17% (19%)
Lib Dem 7% (11%)
Others 7% (3%)
Assembly Regional Vote (May 2011 result in brackets)
Labour 45% (37%)
Conservative 20% (23%)
Plaid Cymru 15% (18%)
Lib Dem 7% (8%)
Others 13% (15%)
At first glance, that shows Labour up and the other parties down, compared with the result last May. But today’s figures are very close to the poll we published the day before the Assembly election. Once we adjust for differential turnout –the difficulty Labour has in mobilising its full strength across Wales- there has been very little change since May 2011.
Turnout is less of an issue at Westminster elections and here our poll shows a big increase in Labour support –and a big drop for the Lib Dems- since May 2010.
Westminster Vote (May 2010 result in brackets)
Labour 50% (36%)
Conservative 25% (26%)
Plaid Cymru 11% (11%)
Lib Dem 6% (20%)
Others 9% (7%)