Welsh Labour on course to win 29 out of 60 seats in Senedd, poll finds

Elliot Chappell

New research published this morning has predicted that Welsh Labour is on course to secure 29 of the 60 seats up for grabs when voters head to the polls in the upcoming Senedd election next month, just two short of an overall majority.

The research, carried out by Opinium for Sky News, found that 40% of of voters are planning on backing the party in the constituency vote on May 6th. The Tories placed second on 30%, Plaid Cymru third with 19% and the Lib Dems fourth on 4%.

Welsh residents will cast two votes next month, one for their constituency representative and one for the regional list. The poll predicted Welsh Labour would secure 38% of the regional vote, with the Conservatives in second place on 27%.

The survey, which is the largest so far in the race with 2,005 respondents, showed strong support for Welsh Labour leader Mark Drakeford at 29%. 10% backed Conservative Andrew Davies and 8% opted for Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price.

Polling on the Welsh race has been varied. Research by YouGov in March forecasted the worst ever result for Labour since devolution. It predicted the party would win 32% of the constituency vote and 22 seats in the Welsh parliament.

Mick Antoniw described the analysis from YouGov as a “rogue” poll to LabourList. The long-serving Labour MS predicted: “It may well be that there is not a great deal of change in terms of the number of Labour seats.”

Another recent poll, carried out by ICM between 28th January to February 21st, reported that four in five voters said that they would back Welsh Labour in May. This is the party’s highest rating since February 2018, when it polled at 40%.

No party has ever won an outright majority in the 60-seat Senedd. At the last Welsh parliament election in 2016, Labour secured 29 seats; in 2011, the party won 30 seats; in 2007, it got 26; in 2003, 30 seats; and the party won 28 seats in 1999.

Commenting on what happens next if the party does not secure an overall majority in the Senedd, Antoniw told LabourList last month: “The most likely engagement is between Labour and Plaid.”

Support for independence in the Opinium poll was down on previous predictions. 28% of those surveyed in the research argued that the devolved nation should be an independent country, against 52% who said it should not.

This comes after a poll by Savanta Comres in March recorded the highest ever support for independence. 39% of participants said they would opt for independence if a referendum were held the next day.

Earlier this month, Welsh Labour launched its manifesto for the Senedd election with several key pledges to help the country recover from the impact of the Covid pandemic and set out a “real plan to move Wales forward”.

UK Labour leader Keir Starmer recently praised Welsh Labour’s proposals for the devolved nation and argued that the party and its leader have “the right plan to power the economy with a jobs first recovery”.

The polling on Welsh Labour’s election prospects follows research into Labour members’ views of the UK party by YouGov last week, in which 84% of respondents said that the Conservatives would win a snap election if held the next day.

Members were split over a 2024 election result, with 43% saying that Labour would win and 40% predicting a Tory victory. The view of the Labour leader among members was largely positive – 74% favourable and 24% unfavourable.

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