Latest Welsh Westminster, Senedd & Independence Referendum Voting Intention (14-15 October 2023)

October 18, 2023
R&WS Research Team
Approval Rating | GB Politics | GB Public Figures | UK Elections | UK Politics | Voting Intention

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As one of the four nations that comprise the United Kingdom and with its own devolved Government, Wales holds a unique and important place in British politics. With the next General Election likely to be about a year away, we at Redfield & Wilton Strategies launched in April a monthly Welsh tracker poll.

Wales has been a political stronghold for the Labour Party, which has won a plurality of the vote in Wales in every General or Senedd Election for the last hundred years (since the 1922 General Election). In the 2019 General Election, the Conservative Party did manage to come just 5% behind Labour in Wales, but Labour’s historically strong performance in Wales looks set to continue at the next election.

In our latest Welsh Westminster Voting Intention Poll, we find Labour leading the Conservatives in Wales by 20%, down two points from last month. Altogether, the results (with changes from 16-17 September in parentheses) are as follows:

Labour 46% (+2)
Conservatives 26% (+4)
Plaid Cymru 10% (–)
Reform UK 10% (+3)
Green 4% (-2)
Liberal Democrat 3% (-6)
Other 0% (-1)

63% of Welsh voters cite the NHS as one of the three most important issues that would determine how they would vote in a General Election, ahead of the economy (59%). Other frequently selected issues include immigration (36%), the environment (22%), and housing (20%). 

Asked their view on the UK Government, a majority of Welsh voters (59%) say the current UK Government is incompetent. Only 17% view the UK Government as competent.

When asked which would be a better Prime Minister between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, 44% (–) of Welsh voters say Keir Starmer against 30% (-3) who say Rishi Sunak. 26% (+3) say they don’t know.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak receives a net approval rating of -20%, unchanged from his previous rating in Wales taken in August. Our poll finds 47% (–) of Welsh voters disapprove of his overall job performance against 27% (–) who approve.

Labour leader Keir Starmer’s net approval rating in Wales stands at +5%, up ten points from August, and the first positive net approval rating he has recorded since we began our Welsh monthly tracker in April. 35% (+4) of Welsh voters approve of Starmer’s job performance, against 30% (-6) who disapprove. 

The next Welsh Senedd Election is not due to be held until May 2026. Nevertheless, when voters are asked how they would vote if a Senedd Election were held tomorrow, the Labour Party leads in both our constituency and regional list voting intention polls, although by narrower margins compared to last month. 

Altogether the results of our Senedd Constituency Voting Intention poll (with changes from 16-17 September in parentheses) are as follows:

Labour 37% (-2)
Conservative 27% (–)
Plaid Cymru 18% (–)
Reform UK 6% (+3)
Abolish the Welsh Assembly 5% (+4)
Liberal Democrat 4% (-1)
Green 3% (-3)
Other 0% (-1)

The Labour Party also leads when voters are asked who they would vote for on their regional list ballot. Labour is on 31% (-4), with Plaid Cymru (24%, +6) in second, ahead of the Conservatives (21%, –) in third.

Welsh voters narrowly voted in favour of establishing the devolved Welsh Senedd in 1997, with the Yes side victorious by a margin of just 6,721 votes. Since then, a vocal minority has continued campaigning for abolishing the Senedd, with the single issue Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party winning almost 4% of the regional list vote in the 2021 Senedd Election.

While a majority of Welsh voters currently remain in favour of keeping a devolved Welsh Assembly, the percentage of voters who would now vote to abolish the Welsh Assembly has grown by ten points since last month

When asked how they would vote in a referendum with the question ‘Should there be a Welsh Parliament?’ 58% (-7) of Welsh voters say they would vote yes, 32% (+10) say they would vote no, and a further 10% (-3) say they don’t know.

First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford receives a net approval rating of -15% this month, down 11 points from his previous rating in August. Our poll finds 30% (-3) of voters approve of his overall job performance as First Minister of Wales against 45% (+8) who disapprove. 

Among other party leaders in the Senedd, the Conservatives leader, Andrew RT Davies, holds a net approval rating of -9% (+6), while Rhun ap Iorwerth, the leader of Plaid Cymru, holds a net approval rating of -1% (-2).

In addition, Andrew RT Davies now leads Mark Drakeford by one point when Welsh voters are asked who would be a better First Minister for Wales (34% to 33%, with a further 33% of voters undecided).

Drakeford continues to lead Rhun ap Iorwerth on the same question, although by a margin of only six points (29% vs 23%) as compared with the 21-point advantage he enjoyed last month (44% vs 23%).

Of the Government Mark Drakeford leads, a plurality (41%) now say the current Welsh Government is incompetent, compared to 23% who say it is competent.

Voter’s deteriorating view of both the Welsh Government in general and Mark Drakeford in particular corresponds with a sharp change in public opinion against the recent introduction of a new 20mph speed limit in residential areas of Wales. 

Last month, our poll (conducted over the weekend that the measure became law) found 46% of Welsh voters supported the new speed limit, against 34% who opposed it.

One month later, we find that 59% of Welsh voters now oppose the Welsh Government’s decision to introduce the new, reduced speed limit in residential areas. Perhaps most striking is the strength of the opposition, with almost four times as many voters saying they strongly oppose the measure (46%) than just oppose it (13%).

Only 29% of voters now say they support that decision.

A majority of Welsh voters (56%) say they have changed their opinion since Wales imposed a default 20mph speed limit on roads where cars mix with pedestrians and cyclists.

Since the new speed limit was introduced, 39% say they have become more opposed to the lower speed limit. A further 17% say they are now more supportive of the lower speed limit than they were before it was introduced.

Finally, in a hypothetical referendum on Welsh independence, our Welsh independence referendum voting intention poll finds ‘no’ leading by 28%.

Altogether—with changes from 13-14 August in parentheses—59% (+6) of Welsh respondents say they would vote ‘no’ and 31% (-2) say they would vote ‘yes’ if there were to be a referendum tomorrow on the question ‘Should Wales be an independent country?’ 9% (-5) don’t know how they would vote.

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Follow us on Twitter

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