The Corbyn Bounce?

Roger Scully outlines the results from the first political barometer poll since Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader.

Roger Scully is a Professor of Political Science in the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University. This piece has been published on Roger's blog 'Elections in Wales' (http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/)

In the brief period since he became party leader, people have been wondering whether Jeremy Corbyn might produce a boost to Labour’s support. The few Britain-wide polls conducted have so far shown little signs of this. But our new Welsh Political Barometer poll provides the first evidence, in Wales at least, suggesting a ‘Corbyn-bounce’ for Labour.

We see this both for Westminster and for the National Assembly. When we asked about general election voting intention, we saw the following levels of support for the parties (with changes on our last poll, in June, in brackets):

Labour: 42% (+5)

Conservative: 26% (-2)

UKIP: 16% (+1)

Plaid Cymru: 10% (-2)

Liberal Democrats: 5% (+1)

Others: 2% (-2)

This is a significant rise in support for Labour, putting them well above the 36.9% of the vote they secured in May’s election. If we take the changes since the general election implied by this poll, and apply them uniformly across Wales, then Labour would be projected to make three gains from their result in May – capturing Cardiff North, Gower and the Vale of Clwyd, all from the Conservatives. That would reduce the Conservatives in Wales once more to eight seats (the same number they had before the election), and increase Labour’s total to 28.

What about the National Assembly? We might expect that any ‘Corbyn effect’ would be less strong at the devolved level – after all, Jeremy Corbyn leads his party from Westminster and will not be standing in Wales next year. However, here too we see Labour’s support boosted significantly since our previous poll. Here are the figures for the constituency vote (with changes on our last poll, in June, again in brackets):

Labour: 39% (+4)

Conservatives: 23% (no change)

Plaid Cymru: 18% (-2)

UKIP: 13% (-1)

Liberal Democrats: 6% (+1)

Others: 2% (-1)

On the assumption of uniform national swing since the last Assembly election, this poll projects only one constituency seat to change hands: Plaid Cymru gaining Llanelli from Labour.

The figures for the regional list vote were as follows (with changes from the previous Barometer poll again indicated):

Labour: 34% (+2)

Conservatives: 24% (+2)

Plaid Cymru: 18% (-2)

UKIP: 14% (no change)

Liberal Democrats: 5% (no change)

Greens: 4% (no change)

Others: 2% (-1)

Again assuming uniform swings from 2011 across Wales, and after taking into account the distribution of constituency seats when allocating the list seats, this gives us the following projected overall outcome for the National Assembly:

 

Labour: 29 seats (27 constituency seats + 2 list seats)

Conservatives: 12 seats (6 constituency seats + 6 list seats)

Plaid Cymru: 10 seats (6 constituency seats + 4 list seats)

UKIP: 8 seats (8 list seats)

Liberal Democrats: 1 seats (1 constituency seat)

With little more than seven months to go until the National Assembly election in May, Labour thus remain well ahead of the field. And after having had a disappointing general election, the boost we see in their support in this new Barometer poll must be heartening for them. The details of the poll point to Labour doing particularly well amongst some of those who voted for Plaid Cymru and the Lib-Dems in May’s general election: nearly a quarter of those in our sample who voted for Plaid Cymru, and almost a third of Lib-Dem voters, now say they would vote Labour in a general election. At the same time, we must remember that it is only one poll; and also that if there has been a ‘Corbyn bounce’ for Labour, the party will need to sustain that all the way to the Assembly election next year for it to produce tangible results.

For the Conservatives, this poll will also surely be encouraging. Although their support for Westminster has slipped slightly since our poll in May, for the Assembly their numbers remain impressively robust. This poll has them in a very clear second place on both ballots for the devolved election, a position on which they can look to build during the campaign. In contrast, for Plaid Cymru this poll must be a disappointment, with their vote slipping by two points across the board. That may simply be random sampling variation from one poll to the next, but this poll suggests that far from challenging the Tories for second place in the Assembly election, UKIP may even put them in danger of coming fourth in the popular vote. For UKIP, this poll is yet further evidence that their strong election performance in May was no one-off, and that next year’s devolved election is replete with potential for the party. For the Liberal Democrats, about the best thing you can say is that this poll suggests that things may have stopped getting worse.

I’ll be back with more later.

Postscript:

And for the real hard-core Elections in Wales followers out there, here are the Ratio Swing projections from the poll.

For Westminster, Ratio Swing produces exactly the same projected result as UNS – Labour gaining Cardiff North, Gower and Vale of Clwyd. No other seats are projected to change hands.

For the Assembly, Ratio Swing projects two constituencies to change hands (rather than the one projected under UNS): Llanelli (being won by Plaid Cymru from Labour) and Brecon & Radnor (being won by the Conservatives from the Liberal Democrats). Once the regional list seats are computed, we get the following projected outcome:

Labour: 29 seats (27 constituency seats + 2 list seats)

Conservatives: 13 seats (7 constituency seats + 6 list seats)

Plaid Cymru: 10 seats (6 constituency seats + 4 list seats)

UKIP: 7 seats (7 list seats)

Liberal Democrats: 1 seats (1 list seat)

While you’re here, we’ve got something to ask you: will you join us?

We’re working every day to bring the right people together and generate the ideas to make Wales a world-leading force.

We’re independent of government and political parties. We provide a much-needed space for open, transparent debate about the ideas that can make Wales better.

To continue to do this, we need people like you to join us.

Join us today and you’ll be supporting vital work that’s making our country better than ever.

Find out more