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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Spinning the polls

This morning's Western Mail takes on the role of cheerleader for the new Coalition Government with the publication of a poll that purports to show a sudden surge of support for the two governing parties.

The poll asked people how they would vote if an Assembly election were taking place tomorrow. It put Labour on 45.2%, Plaid on 24.3%, the Conservatives on 12.6%, and the Liberal Democrats on 10.1%. The Green Party got 2.2% and Others 5.6%.

According to the Western Mail this poll has given Plaid Cymru and Labour a huge boost. The paper says that the poll 'also suggests that both opposition parties are down, with the Conservatives losing as much as a third of their support within three months' and that 'the Liberal Democrats also appear to have lost support because of their internal disagreements over whether to enter government or not.'

A closer look at the report however reveals that far from being independent, this opinion poll was in fact commissioned as the last in a series of quarterly tracking polls by Plaid Cymru. That should be enough in itself to urge caution in interpreting the poll's results, however the paper is determined to give it all the authority they might otherwise attribute to one paid for by themselves.

I think it is worth pointing out as well that the ratings given for the Welsh Liberal Democrats by this poll are far from the meltdown hinted at by the newspaper and largely reflect the UK trends rather than anything that has happened in Wales.

The paper also illustrate very effectively how Welsh Liberal Democrat poll results frequently under-estimate our support in the ballot box. They point out that the in March 2007 the same tracking poll put Welsh Liberal Democrat support at 12.5%, whereas on May 3 the actual election results gave us 14.8%.

Even if we accept this latest poll at face value 10.1% support for the Welsh Liberal Democrats is very much in line with other mid-term polls. I believe that we can easily build on that and produce a much improved performance the next time Welsh voters are asked to cast a ballot.
Plaid Cymru should now dissolve itself and let its membership slot into wherever and whatever Political Party and cause they are comfortable with. Joining Labour at Cardiff has not pleased many grassroots Plaid members - only their Assembly Members are happy to have a bit of the "action" and Ministerial salaries. At Swansea County Hall it is even more bizarre with the Swansea Plaid Leader baby face Cllr Darren Price in a "PLC Coalition" with Labour and Conservatives. Plaid take their orders in Swansea from Tory Leader megalomaniac Cllr Rene Kinzett(he who has grand delusions of mediocrity). Kinzett in turn takes his orders from LSwansea Labour Leader David Phillips (he who loves looking in mirrors!).
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