Voting against austerity

The latest YouGov poll for ITV Cymru Wales provides, as always, some very useful information about the state of the parties in Wales. This time round, it was quite startling to see that Plaid Cymru's overall support for the upcoming Westminster election has fallen to 10%, but that support for the Greens in Wales has risen by 3% points to 8%, putting them within touching distance of Plaid.

Plaid Cymru's response to this was to launch into an unabashed love-bombing campaign aimed at Green Party supporters in Wales, and what better person to do it than Dafydd Wigley. This is what he said to Adrian Masters.


Unsurprisingly, I agree entirely with the idea that the Green Party is the best party to support in England, after all, I've been advocating that for years. But, as Adrian noted, the second part of Plaid's agenda is to ask people in Wales who might be inclined to vote for the Greens to vote for Plaid Cymru instead ... and, as Dafydd admitted, he would be delighted if they did.

The problem is that neither he nor the other leaders of Plaid Cymru have thought things through clearly enough.


Plaid's biggest electoral problem is that their support in Wales is disproportionately concentrated in just some parts of Wales. Yes, given the unfair nature of the first-past-the-post voting system, Dafydd is right to say that it would make sense for Green voters in the parts of Wales where Plaid is strong to consider voting for Plaid. But, by that same logic, the opposite is true in those parts of Wales where Plaid has now become weaker than the Greens.

For although the headline voting intention in the YouGov poll for Wales as a whole puts Plaid marginally ahead of the Greens, we just need to look at the regional breakdown to see that in some parts of Wales Plaid is now a very poor second behind the Greens. In South Wales Central (which includes Cardiff) support for the Greens is now double the support for Plaid Cymru.

Westminster Voting Intention

All Wales ... Plaid 10% ... Greens 8%

North Wales ... Plaid 9% ... Greens 6%
Mid and West Wales ... Plaid 19% ... Greens 6%
South Wales West ... Plaid 10% ... Greens 6%
South Wales Central ... Plaid 6% ... Greens 12%
South Wales East ... Plaid 5% ... Greens 8%

YouGov Poll for ITV Cymru Wales, 27 January 2015

Obviously things will vary on a constituency by constituency basis. But in general terms, if the Greens, the SNP and Plaid Cymru are to make any inroads in May as a group of parties working together to oppose the austerity agenda that the Tories, Labour and LibDems have each signed up to, then it is better for those who would normally be inclined to vote for Plaid in South Wales Central and South Wales East to vote Green instead. The same is probably true for those in the eastern half of the North Wales electoral region.

The logic of what Dafydd was saying is perfectly valid. He and the rest of the Plaid leadership just hadn't looked carefully enough at the detail.

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