Polls, polls, polls ... and a missing poll

Following Monday's YouGov poll for Y Byd ar Bedwar, which showed a two-to-one margin in favour of a Yes vote in the referendum on Thursday, it's interesting and reassuring to see the same two-to-one margin reflected in the rmg:Clarity poll for the Western Mail today.

Voters to deliver a big Yes says poll on more powers

The campaign for lawmaking powers for the National Assembly receives a further boost today as an exclusive new poll for the Western Mail shows Yes voters outnumbering their No counterparts by two to one.

The poll shows 49% of voters favour a Yes vote, 22% a No vote and 28% are still undecided.

Western Mail, 2 March 2011

Although this might seem a little different from Monday's YouGov poll, which I commented on here, the results are in fact almost identical. The 67% to 33% headline figure in that poll was weighted on likelihood to vote as well as, obviously, excluding the don't knows and won't votes. But comparing like with like, the detailed figures show a margin of 49% to 26% in favour of a Yes, with 16% don't knows and 9% won't votes.

The Western Mail also mentions that a YouGov poll will be published today by ITV Wales. I don't know if that will simply be the same data as shown on Y Byd ar Bedwar, since that programme is produced by ITV.

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However as someone who has been convinced that we would get a Yes vote in this referendum for months, if not years, I was actually much more interested in a couple of other questions asked in the Western Mail's poll:

Rmg:Clarity also asked voters a number of other questions which will not be on the ballot paper tomorrow in order to get a clearer picture of the thirst for further devolution in Wales.

Asked whether they would like to see the Assembly gain responsibility for the police and the criminal justice system, voters responded with 57% saying yes, 26% no and with 17% unsure.

Asked whether they would like to see the power to raise and lower taxes devolved to Cardiff Bay, 54% said yes, 34% no and 12% were unsure.

I've made no secret of the fact that I see this referendum as just one step on the way to us making more and more of the decisions that affect Wales in Wales, and our eventual independence. If anything, I see the requirement for this referendum as just a delaying tactic to get us tied up in one issue to the exclusion of any progress on the others. And although it is undoubtedly a major achievement for us to have got this referendum, we should bear in mind that the One Wales Agreement between Plaid Cymru and Labour also included a commitment to consider devolving the criminal justice system to Wales and the establishment of a single administration of justice in Wales. Very little progress has been made on that.

So this poll should act as a timely reminder that there is widespread support for devolving police and the justice system to Wales. In fact there is even greater public support for this than the support we have for primary lawmaking powers.

In my opinion, it's not difficult to see why. How we make laws that affect Wales is important, but it is a largely technical issue which is not easy for people to understand. However devolution of the police and justice system is something much easier to understand and see direct benefits from. These areas have been devolved to Northern Ireland in circumstances which were much more contentious and difficult than the issue could ever be in Wales, so it is hardly unreasonable for us to ask why both Northern Ireland and Scotland should have this responsibility, but Wales should not. I only hope the results of this poll will focus our minds as our political parties put together their manifestos for the Assembly elections in May.

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Finally, one very noticeable and disappointing absence has been the BBC's annual St David's Day poll commissioned from ICM. Over the past few years it has given us one of the more reliable pictures of political opinion in Wales, because it tends to ask the same questions using the same methodology. Indeed it was the only regular political poll in Wales until YouGov set up its Welsh panel and ITV began commissioning monthly polls from them. I've seen no announcement about it or explaination from the BBC, which is more disappointing still. But the BBC operates on rather peculiar principles, and it might just be that they are reticent to publish a political poll so close to a major vote. If so, I hope that they still go ahead with it, but publish the results later. It should surely be part of the BBC's commitment to Wales.
 

 
Update - 2:10 2 March 2011

I've now been told that the BBC's annual St David's day poll will be published on Friday, and that YouGov have asked other questions to which I guess we'll see the answers on Wales Tonight. Both very welcome pieces of news. Thanks.

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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

MH - IIRC they did an extra poll in October and at the time Betsan said soemthing about it being an early St Davids Day poll - but I cant remember the reasoning. Maybe one to ask her on her blog??

Penddu

Hogyn o Rachub said...

I'm not sure but I believe they have commissioned a poll, the results of which will be published on Friday. A bit weird, I know!

Kelv said...

Regarding the BBC's St David's Day poll, I mentioned it to Vaughan Roderick and he replied that ICM are currently polling for them on a number of subjects and those results will be available on Friday.

Owen said...

I completed a YouGov poll a few days ago.

It was a bit strange for a Welsh survey. It asked questions about how proud/hostile I felt towards the Union Flag and Y Ddraig Goch, attitudes towards independence and what I thought the attitudes of political parties in Wales were towards devolution publically and privately.

MH said...

Thanks guys. I'm pleased to hear that there'll be the usual BBC poll. I did ask the question on Betsan's blog a few weeks ago, but I think it got lost in all the other comments.

I think the strange timing must be to do with the BBC's own internal rules during a referendum; there can't be any regulatory reason for them not to do the same as ITV are doing with YouGov.

And from what Owen has said, it seems that the ITV YouGov poll today will be different from the one in Y Byd ar Bedwar on Monday.

Overload? I'm loving it!

Kelv said...

Adrian Masters has just tweeted the results of the HTV poll: Yes 69%, No 31% (obviously taking out the undecideds - he says the don't knows/won't votes have fallen to 12%).

MH said...

Brilliant news, thanks Kelv.

Democritus said...

See Gareth Hughes blog:
http://ogarethhughes.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-will-they-vote.html

Anonymous said...

To everyone out there:

PLEASE DO NOT BE COMPLACENT!!

THE POLLS ARE EXCELLANT NEWS, BUT I'M SURE THERE ARE MANY OUT THERE WHO WILL THINK 'WELL ITS IN THE BAG SO WHATS THE POINT IN GOING TO THE POLLING STATION AND VOTE!! WRONG!! THIS RESULT IS NOT IN THE BAG, WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE ENCOURAGE EVERYONE WE KNOW TO GET OUT TO VOTE AND VOTE YES TOMMORROW!! THE SAME FOR OURSELVES.

THIS IS A ONCE IN A GENERATION OPPORTUNITY. A NO VOTE WILL MAKE US VULNERABLE AS A NATION, SOMETHING WE CANNOT AFFORD REGARDLESS IF YOUR A NATIONALIST OR UNIONIST!

Even if it is 'in the bag' look at it like this. The bigger the Yes vote the more Westminster will respect us!!

Sorry for the rant

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