Latest Welsh Westminster, Senedd & Independence Referendum Voting Intention (18 February 2024)

February 21, 2024
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 23%,  five points down from our previous poll published last month.

Altogether, the results (with changes from 24-26 January in parentheses) are as follows:

Labour 45% (-3)
Conservatives 22% (+2)
Reform UK 13% (+1)
Plaid Cymru 10% (-1)
Liberal Democrat 5% (+1)
Green 5% (+1)
Other 1% (–)

64% of Welsh voters cite the NHS as among the three most important issues that would determine how they would vote in a General Election, ahead of the economy (63%). Other frequently selected issues include immigration (38%), the environment (19%), and housing (17%). 

Asked their view on the UK Government, a majority of Welsh voters (61%, -3) say the current UK Government is incompetent. Only 14% (+2) view the UK Government as competent.

When asked which would be a better Prime Minister between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, 47% (–) of Welsh voters say Keir Starmer against 24% (–) who say Rishi Sunak. 29% (+1) say they don’t know.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak receives a net approval rating of -34%, four points up from his previous rating in Wales last month. Our poll finds 58% (–) of Welsh voters disapprove of his overall job performance against only 24% (+4) who approve. 

Labour leader Keir Starmer’s net approval rating in Wales stands at -2%, down three points from last month, and the lowest rating he has held in Wales since last August (when it stood at -5%). 36% (+2) of Welsh voters approve of Starmer’s job performance, against 38% (+5) 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 its share of the vote in our Constituency Voting Intention poll is the lowest we have recorded since we began our Welsh political tracker.  

Altogether the results of our Senedd Constituency Voting Intention poll (with changes from 24-26 January in parentheses) are as follows:

Labour 34% (-5)
Conservative 21% (-4)
Plaid Cymru 19% (+1)
Reform UK 13% (+4)
Abolish the Welsh Assembly 6% (+3)
Liberal Democrat 4% (+1)
Green 3% (-1)
Other 0% (–)

The Labour Party also leads when voters are asked who they would vote for on their regional list ballot. Labour is on 29% (-5), with Plaid Cymru (25%, +4) in second, ahead of the Conservatives (16%, -3) 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 remain in favour of keeping a devolved Welsh Assembly, the percentage of voters who would now vote to keep the Welsh Assembly is at its joint-lowest level since we started our Welsh tracker in April 2023

When asked how they would vote in a referendum with the question ‘Should there be a Welsh Parliament?’ 55% (-4) of Welsh voters answer yes, 34% (+2) no, while a further 11% (+2) don’t know.

The outgoing First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford receives a net approval rating of -18% in our latest poll, unchanged from last month, and the joint-lowest rating he has recorded in our Welsh monthly political tracker. Our poll finds 28% (–) of voters approve of his overall job performance as First Minister of Wales against 46% (–) who disapprove. 

With voting in the race to succeed Drakeford as Welsh Labour Leader and First Minister now open, our poll finds 27% (–) of Welsh voters would most like to see Vaughan Gething replace Mark Drakeford, against only 11% (+1) would prefer to see Jeremy Miles replace Drakeford. 

A further 23% (-1) of Welsh voters would prefer to see someone else replace Drakeford, while 38% (-2) say they ‘don’t know’.

Among those who voted for Labour in their constituency ballot in the 2021 Senedd Election, a plurality of 35% (-4) would prefer Vaughan Gething to become Labour leader. 

Of the Government Mark Drakeford leads, a plurality (41%, +1) now say the current Welsh Government is incompetent, compared to 23% (-2) who say it is competent.

Among other party leaders in the Senedd, the Conservatives leader, Andrew RT Davies, holds a net approval rating of -12% (+3), while Rhun ap Iorwerth, the leader of Plaid Cymru, continues to hold a net approval rating of -5% (+8).

Finally, in a hypothetical referendum on Welsh independence, our Welsh independence referendum voting intention poll finds ‘no’ leading by 34%.

Altogether—with changes from December in parentheses—61% (+2) of Welsh respondents say they would vote ‘no’ and 27% (-3) say they would vote ‘yes’ if there were to be a referendum tomorrow on the question ‘Should Wales be an independent country?’. 12% (+1) 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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