Satisfaction, Trust and Performance

There's a wealth of information in the public opinion survey that has just been published by the Silk Commission, which can be downloaded in either Welsh or English.

However before looking in detail at the powers and responsibilities that should be devolved to Wales, I thought it might be good to look at what the survey says about how well our National Assembly compares with the UK Parliament in Westminster.


People were asked to rate how well the National Assembly and UK Parliament were doing their job on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being extremely satisfied.


In general terms, if we take ratings of 7 and above as positive, a rating of 5 or 6 as neutral, and ratings of 4 and below as negative, we get:

National Assembly ... 38% positive ... 38% neutral ... 25% negative
UK Parliament ... 15% positive ... 38% neutral ... 47% negative

This speaks volumes, but perhaps the most damning fact is that the percentage of people who think Westminster does a bad job is more than three times larger than the percentage who think it does a good job. In contrast, more people are satisfied with the National Assembly than are dissatisfied with it.


People were asked the extent to which they trusted the National Assembly and UK Parliament to act in the best interests of Wales.


This finding is absolutely astounding. The percentage that trusts the National Assembly a great deal is nearly ten times greater than the percentage that trusts Westminster a great deal.

In general terms, if we take "trust a great deal" and "trust to some extent" as an indication of trust, and "don't trust that much" and "don't trust at all" as an indication of lack of trust, we get:

National Assembly ... 79% trust it ... 20% don't trust it
UK Parliament ... 37% trust it ... 62% don't trust it


People were asked whether the National Assembly has done a better or worse job for Wales than the UK Parliament.


Again, I find these figures astounding. Six times as many people think devolution to the National Assembly has made things better for Wales than think it has made things worse.

National Assembly has made things better ... 48%
National Assembly has made things worse ... 8%

There are slight variations across Wales; but by gender, age, socio-economic group, identity and region, many more people think that the National Assembly has done better for Wales compared with Westminster


The decisions that are made about what further powers and responsibilities should be devolved from Westminster to Wales need to be seen in this context. When it comes to satisfaction, trust and performance, people in Wales think the National Assembly has done better than Westminster by some very considerable margins.

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Owen said...

Levels of "goodwill" towards the Assembly have been relatively high for some time as far as I can tell. So I don't think these findings are as surprising as they might be.

The levels of trust are rather one-sided in Cardiff Bay's favour, but I think we have to remember who's in charge in Westminster and how that might affect things.

A 56% approval rating is fine. It's OK. But I'd hardly call it a ringing endorsement either. It's a "good C-grade".

I'll be coming back to the separate Changing Union poll later this week.

MH said...

It's is fair to say that people's opinion of the Assembly is usually better than their opinion of Westminster, Owen, but it's always good to put things in context. If the figures were the other way round it would be far easier for Westminster to refuse to devolve more powers and responsibilities to Wales.

And it's worth saying that the questions are about the National Assembly and the UK Parliament, as opposed to the Welsh and UK governments. I'll accept that some people still think of the National Assembly and Welsh Government as the same thing (as noted on page 3). But very few people think of the UK Parliament and UK Government as the same thing so, in the context of the three questions I've highlighted, I'd be inclined to think that this survey reflects what people think of the two legislatures rather than the two governments.

On the specific question of trust, people's views will be informed by a low opinion in politicians in general rather than the parties they belong to, so it is remarkable that people think much more of AMs than they do of MPs. But another big factor is the growing idea of what is in Wales' national interest, and that what is in Wales' interest is often not the same as what is in the UK's interest. The idea that policies that are best for the UK will by definition be good for Wales (whether these are pursued by either a red or a blue government) is increasingly being seen as untrue by people in Wales. This perception is the driving force behind our increasing confidence to decide for ourselves what is in our best interests, and this in turn is what will push devolution forward.

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