Boris Johnson isn’t the only British politician experiencing a vaccine boost
The voting intention section of the YouGov polling of Wales was quite disheartening for Labour. Regular readers of this website are aware that leader ratings and other related supplementaries are often better pointers of electoral outcomes than headline voting intention figures ergo there is a bit of hope for Labour.
As we can see in the second tweet Mark Drakeford’s ratings show he is the first Welsh Prince of Wales since Owain Glyn Dwr in the eyes of Welsh voters.
At the last election, the Labour party narrowly missed out on a majority, gaining 29 of a possible 60 seats. If our latest voting intention figures are repeated when the Welsh public head to the polls this May, we would likely see Labour lose seats, largely at the hands of the Conservatives.
Labour are also losing votes to Plaid Cymru, who are sitting reasonably comfortably in third place. One in five (21%) of those who voted Labour in the 2019 Westminster election say they intend to give their vote to Plaid Cymru in the Senedd. In the constituency vote, Labour are currently holding on to just 69% of those who voted for the party in the 2019 UK-wide election, compared to 78% for the Conservatives, and 85% for Plaid Cymru.
What makes this particularly intriguing, is that Labour’s drop in vote share comes despite the First Minister himself remaining popular with the Welsh public. By 57% to 34% Mark Drakeford is seen as doing well at his job, noticeably better figures than Boris Johnson (39% well, 54% badly). Close to three quarters of 2019 Labour voters (72%) think Drakeford is doing a good job, compared to 20% who think he is doing a bad one, and he is almost as popular with Plaid Cymru voters (71% well, 26% badly).
When it comes to handling of the coronavirus specifically, Drakeford also has the support of the Welsh public, who by 52% to 39% say they trust him to make the right decisions. By more than four to one (59% to 13%) Welsh people also prefer the pandemic approach taken by the nation over that across the border in England. For both these measures, 2019 Plaid Cymru voters support the First Minister at similar levels as Labour voters, yet just 7% of them are currently planning to switch to Labour for the Senedd election.
Looking at those supplementaries past form suggests Drakeford’s leadership might be responsible for Labour doing better than the headline voting intention suggests, even if Boris Johnson premiership isn’t on the ballot paper in May’s Senedd election. Perhaps Welsh Labour should rebrand themselves as the Mark Drakeford Party to capitalise on his excellent leader and supplementary ratings.
Another factor that might help Labour is that the Welsh are the Mitch McConnell of British politics, hinting that they will break the habit of a lifetime but when it comes to it revert to type. In both the 2017 and 2019 general elections weeks before election day YouGov had polls showing the Tories were going to finish first in Wales but when election day happened the Welsh voted to ensure Labour came first in Wales.
Looking at the Ladbrokes betting markets for the Senedd elections I don’t think there’s any value anywhere, perhaps PBers can spot some and share their thoughts.