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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Measuring trends

This morning's Guardian has a very encouraging opinion poll that could set next week's elections alight. This is the second successive poll that has shown the Liberal Democrat vote rising. For the first time however, it shows a fall back in support for the Conservatives:

One in three voters have turned their backs on Labour and the Conservatives and now back the Lib Dems or a smaller party such as the Greens or the SNP. Support for Labour is down one point on last month, at 30%. The Conservatives have dropped four points to 37%.

The Liberal Democrats, campaigning hard to defend half their council seats on May 3, rise three points to 21%. Other smaller parties climb to 12%, including 2% each for the Greens and Ukip.

Yesterday's Independent showed the Liberal Democrats up two points to 22% whilst Labour were down to 1983 levels. How this will translate in the Assembly elections is difficult to measure, however evidence on the doorstep is that the Labour vote is now starting to collapse and that a great many of their traditional supporters will either stay at home or switch their support to other parties.

The Western Mail also has a poll but for now they are concentrating on the options available to the parties after the elections are over. They tell us that the combination that has most support is a Liberal Democrat-Labour coalition, backed by 19.3% of respondents, followed closely by a link-up between Plaid and Labour (17.7%). They also reveal that Labour have been doing their own work on possible options.

None of this is very surprising, though if they had polled party members and activists they would have got some very different results. Nevertheless, all of this is just idle speculation. The poll that really matters takes place on 3rd May. What happens after that is up to voters.
It is anybody's guess as to how the vote is going to go in Wales and I don't pay any attention to the opinion polls.

I'm of the view that Labour will end up with 24 or 25 seats, and I suspect that Plaid and the Tories will draw on 13 seats each. That would be an interesting one - who would lead the oposition if neither of them were involved in a coalition?

As for the Welsh Lib Dems, I think that 8 seats is probably the best that we can hope for. South Wales Central and either a Mid and West list seat or Ceredigion.
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