A new YouGov poll for ITV indicates that UKIP are on course to win its first ever Welsh election seats. And not just one. Potentially eight.
UKIP have never won a seat in the Assembly. But they do have one Welsh MEP and won a share of the vote in Wales higher than their UK-wide average in this May’s general election.
The polling is good news for Nigel Farage’s party who will need to keep up momentum over the next year if they wish to remain the UK’s third party. Making in-roads in Wales is a good step for them.
For Westminster voting intentions (despite the election probably being held in 2020) UKIP were put on third place with 15%.
As for the Welsh elections next year, the poll gave them similar levels of support. The Welsh elections are conducted via the Additional Member System. Therefore, part of the Assembly is elected via the traditional first-past-the-post system, with single member constituencies, whilst the other part is a proportional regional list, which benefits smaller parties such as UKIP and the Greens whose support is much more spread out.
The following results are for the constituency vote in Wales:
Labour 35%. Conservatives 23%. Plaid Cymru 20%. UKIP 14%. Lib Dems 5%. Greens 3%. Others 0%.
For the constituency vote UKIP are up two percentage points on the last YouGov Wales. Labour remain in the lead.
The poll gives the following for the regional list poll:
Labour 32%. Conservatives 22%. Plaid Cymru 20%. UKIP 14%. Lib Dems 5%. Greens 4%. Others 3%.
Professor Roger Scully of Cardiff University outlines for ITV how this would (assuming uniform swing) transform into seats).
The results show a rather different assembly, with UKIP winning eight seats and Labour’s total shrinking to less than half. The poll puts Labour on 28 seats, the Conservatives on 12, Plaid Cymru on 10 and UKIP on 8. The Liberal Democrats would win 2 seats if this poll was repeated in next year’s election.
Of course this election is still a while away and the poll does show little change in the previous poll but it does suggest that UKIP are on course for a potential break-through in Wales. The party has a strong showing of MEPs and Councillors and also did well in terms of vote share in the 2015 general election. But if the party got eight seats in the Welsh Assembly then that would be a turning point.
And if no party emerges with a majority then the party as well as the other small ones could wield a significant and interesting influence in Cardiff.
YouGov interviewed 1,115 Welsh adults between the 24th and 26th June. It was conducted for ITV and the Wales Governance Centre. See the full results here