Analysis ... Wales as a Whole

I've now completed a series of analyses for the five electoral regions of Wales, which people can read by clicking these links:

     South Wales West
     South Wales Central
     South Wales East
     North Wales
     Mid and West Wales

Now the time has come to put it all together and predict what the overall picture will be. I firmly believe that in order to make proper sense of the election—and of course the result—we cannot consider constituency results in isolation from the regions that those constituencies are in. Very often, winning in a particular constituency will result in losing a list seat, and vice versa.

South Wales West

Labour ... 7
Conservative ... 2
Plaid Cymru ... 2

South Wales Central

Labour ... 6
Conservative ... 2
Plaid Cymru ... 2
Liberal Democrat ... 1
Green ... 1

South Wales East

Labour ... 6
Conservative ... 2
Plaid Cymru ... 2
Liberal Democrat ... 1
UKIP ... 1

North Wales

Labour ... 6
Plaid Cymru ... 4
Conservative ... 3

Mid and West Wales

Plaid Cymru ... 4
Labour ... 4
Conservative ... 3
Liberal Democrat ... 1

Wales as a Whole

Labour ... 29
Plaid Cymru ... 14
Conservative ... 12
Liberal Democrat ... 3
Green ... 1
UKIP ... 1

The question to ask is whether this is reasonable. I don't think that anyone will be particularly surprised at Labour getting 29 seats. This seems to be in line with a good many forecasts which show Labour increasing their number of seats but failing to get a majority.

However, when it come to Plaid Cymru, I have to say that 14 seats is more than my gut feeling would say is right; and my gut also tells me that the Conservatives should do better. If the figures had worked out at 14 for the Tories and 12 for Plaid Cymru, it would be in line with what most people are forecasting and made my gut feel more comfortable.

So I've given it some thought, yet have to stick with the sum of my five regional analyses. For the Tories, the key factor is that they might well get a few percentage points more than in 2007, and they might even win seats that they don't hold. But because they are not dominant in any part of Wales, what they gain in constituencies tends to be cancelled out in the regional list; and similarly, anything they lose at constituency level can be made up in the regional list.

In arriving at my 12 seat prediction for the Tories, I have included them gaining new seats in Aberconwy and Montgomery, and said they will hold the key marginal seat of Cardiff North. Yet this still only leaves them with 12 seats. I can't see where a thirteenth seat could come from.

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For Plaid Cymru, I have tried not to indulge in wishful thinking, and perhaps over-compensated for that by saying that we will lose Aberconwy. Yet I can see how Plaid might not get 14 seats, because in a number of cases Plaid are picking up the fourth list seat in a region at the expense of smaller parties. So for example, we might lose one regional seat in South Wales West if the LibDems get more than half our share of the vote; or we might lose a seat in South Wales Central if the Tories fail to hold Cardiff North; or we might lose a seat in North Wales if the LibDems or UKIP do better than I expect them to. So yes, Plaid could go down to about 11 seats, but I'll stick to my prediction of 14.

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I don't think my prediction of the LibDems losing seats will come as much of a surprise to anybody. The question has always been just how low they could go, and my prediction of 3 seats is definitely in the lower range of expectations. I am predicting that they will hold Cardiff Central, but the three key issues will be whether they can hold Montgomery and whether they can get enough of the regional vote in South Wales West and North Wales to win a regional seat. They can get more seats than I've predicted, but I think it's unlikely.

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In predicting that the Greens will win a seat, I might well accuse myself of wishful thinking because I certainly want them to win a seat. But whether they win one in South Wales Central actually depends far less on their share of the vote than on whether the LibDems hold Cardiff Central and the Tories hold Cardiff North. This is one region where tactical voting will be crucial.
 

     

So who will form the next Welsh Government?

In a sense, UKIP are the wildcard in any calculation. I've predicted they will win one seat, and they could possibly win another in North Wales. This might well make some in Labour think twice about whether they can form a minority government, for although a "rainbow coalition" of Plaid, the Tories and the LibDems might be remotely possible (or indeed a "super rainbow" that includes the Green AM) it is completely out of the question for it to include UKIP.

Labour will of course toy with the idea of doing a deal with either the Greens or the LibDems. Unfortunately for them, Jake Griffiths is highly unlikely to support them if they support nuclear power. And Labour do now say they support nuclear power, and claim that what it says in their manifesto for this election is worthless, because what it says in their 2010 manifesto for Westminster must take precedence over it. John Dixon beat me to saying what I thought of that here.

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As for a deal with the LibDems, two factors come into play. The Labour leaders in Westminster might put pressure on Carwyn Jones to do a deal with the LibDems in order to demonstrate to LibDems in Westminster that there is an alternative to them being in coalition with the Tories. The primarily ambition of Labour is to be in power in Westminster and, as we have seen, Labour have played this election in Wales almost entirely in reaction to what the Tories and LibDems are doing in coalition in Westminster rather than on Welsh issues.

On the other hand, as one of my friends told me last night, Labour might well regard this as an opportunity to kill off the LibDems for good. If Labour give credibility to the LibDems by including them in government, they will be giving them a lifeline by which they can rebuild themselves in Wales. Why would Labour want to do that, especially because a good part of their surge in support in the polls has come from angry and disaffected LibDems turning to Labour?

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So that leaves One Wales 2 as the only option to ensure a stable programme of government for the next five years. When the results come out on Friday, a lot of us will be asking if anything has really changed. Labour will have three more seats, the LibDems will have three less, and Plaid and the Tories will be where they were before the election. A lot of the faces will have changed, but the numbers won't have changed much at all.

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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

This really was THE nightmare scenario for ALL parties (if your analysis is right- and I think it could well be; although my gut says 28 for Labour [I don't think Labour will achieve the seats they need to form a Government]).

If a 'rainbow coalition' is made, then it is completely unsustainable to have 29. For any coalition you must have a majority. A 'super' one is out, four parties is crazy (and I think the greens would go with Labour).

Options; well if Kirsty is not re-elected then I think there is a real possibility of a Lab-Lib coalition.

As for a Lab-Plaid; personally I hope not particularly if Plaid would be even more a 'junior' partner. It depends on what Labour can offer.

As for UKIP- whoever is in Government they will try and stop most policies. As they have said 'we are the only real opposition'. But in my view I cannot see them being elected.

On the whole, a nightmare scenario for all involved. IT WILL come down to the last few seats. But if what you say is right- then I feel a Lab-Greens pact. But ultimately Wales will have an unstable Government.

Owen said...

I'll be posting my preditions tommorow but I've come to a very similar conclusion.

The election will be won, half-won or lost in Mid & West Wales and the North Wales regional list.

30 seats or more for Labour is do-able, but unlikely unless they can overhaul some big majorities in a few constituencies, the names of which are obvious. I wouldn't rule out the odd shock result but I don't think it'll happen.

Labour are polling high where Labour already hold the seats, it's of no help to them.

I have a funny feeling that results in Scotland are going to overshadow anything that happens here though. ;)

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see whether you're closer to the result than the polls and Balsomic pundits. I suspect you are.

Anonymous said...

I have a funny feeling that results in Scotland are going to overshadow anything that happens here though.

...no need for you to state this. This is ALWAYS the case!!.
The Beeb is a disgrace, online coverage of the Scots and NI debate. But no online coverage of the Welsh Leaders Debates.
Look at Daily Politics- LOADS of mentions of the Scots Elections and pieces, NONE on Wales since the Referendum. Then theres no point discussing the London papers & sky. How are people meant to get exited by it.

The only way I can see the Assembly Elections ever getting coverage above the Referendum, Scots Elections or Council Elections is if somebody like the BNP got a dozen seats!.
__________________________________________________________
On the predictions, I understand ITV are saying based on polling that Lab 31, Con 14, Pla, 11 and the rest to the L.Dems.

Welshguy said...

I suspect you are being too generous for Plaid in predicting 2 seats each in SW East and Central; & just perhaps 4 seats in the north is beyond Plaid's reach this time. A lot will depend on the constituency results of course but there simply aren't enough list seats to go around, especially with UKIP and the Greens clamouring for seats.

I think you might be right about Labour wanting to see the Lib Dems dead - with so much support having come from them, Labour will want to make sure they keep it. Depends whether Westminster will let them though.

One Wales 2 might be the only option for stable government. Bearing this in mind Plaid ought to be punching above its weight and trying to earn itself some real concessions from Labour.

Anonymous said...

Scotland always get more coverage ... because Scotland votes for a nationalist party.

By voting Labour Wales is voting iself invisable and irrelevant. If people want to see London discuss Wales then they should stop voting for London parties and vote for a party which has a different and more interesting narrative which proves Wales is a nation and not an extention of England.

If you vote Labour then you're saying 'for Wales see England' - that's not interesting nor a news story.

Anonymous said...

FWIW I think that Lab will get 29, Cons 13, Plaid 12, Ld 4, Ukip 1, Green 1

Penddu

Anonymous said...

I can't ever see a One Wales 2, not after the way Labour have behaved in this election. So seriously, what happens if Plaid put their (collective) foot down and say no? What on earth are Labour's options? Have they upset too many people this time?

Anonymous said...

I too would be extremely unhappy if there was a OneWales mk2, unless there was massive concessions for Plaid. But as Labour aren't in power in London- I can't see what massive things they can give. Labour have no mates, and may well see it dificult on a personal level forming a Gov.

Perhaps we may need the Sections in our 2006 'constitution' regarding "Extraordinary General Elections" not too soon!

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