Support for Plaid and independence up in latest St. David’s Day poll

Picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)


Plaid Cymru would regain its position as the second largest party in the Assembly if an election were held today, a St. David’s Day Poll by the BBC and ICM suggests.

The poll also shows support for independence at 7% – up only one point from last year but having grown from its low of 3% in 2014.

Growing fears about Brexit were also clear as 49% thought Brexit would have a negative impact on the Welsh economy, with only 24% thinking it would be positive.

ICM interviewed a representative sample of 1,001 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 8-25 February 2018.


The Assembly constituency poll has Labour on 40% (+5.3%), Plaid Cymru on 24% (+3.5%), and the Conservatives on 22% (+0.9%). The big loser is UKIP whose support falls 7.5 points to 5%.

Regional voting intention has Labour on 36% (+4.5%), Plaid Cymru on 22% (+1.2%), the Conservatives on 21% (+2.2%), UKIP on 8% (-5%) and the Liberal Democrats on 6% (-0.5%).

Political scientist Professor Roger Scully estimated that the poll results would leave Plaid Cymru on 15 seats to Labour’s 30, with the Conservatives in third place on 13.

UKIP and the Liberal Democrats would win only one seat each, according to his projections.

“This poll is significantly better for Plaid Cymru, and rather less good for the Conservatives, than recent Barometer polls – certainly in terms of National Assembly voting intentions,” he said on his blog.

“This may be a reflection of differences between the methods of YouGov and ICM. Alternatively, it could be that the problems being experienced by the UK government are starting to have some impact on the standing of the Tories. Or it could just be an ‘outlier’ finding.

“At any rate, after a difficult few months internally for the party, this offers some encouragement for Plaid.”

The poll suggests that support for more powers for the Assembly is unchanged on 44%, support for the status quo was down one point at 28%, and support for fewer powers up one point at 4%.

Support for abolishing the Assembly had fallen one point to 12%.

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  1. Still 8% of Wales are UKIP supporting bellends?

  2. Support for independence is at 7% (+1%)
    Support for abolishing the Assembly is at 12% (-1%)

    • Ifan Jones

      Someone clearly had a damascene conversion!

    • Red Dragon Jim

      This is quite significant. It was said that support for abolishing the Assembly would increase, but people are just not flocking to that cause. Even UKIP wants to keep the Assembly now.

  3. Red Dragon Jim

    7% “support for independence” isn’t bad. Hear me out! Amongst the 44% wanting more powers, there will be lots of independence supporters lurking, who don’t want it quite yet but want to work towards it. “Step by step” type people.

    So very low support for instant independence, but lots of potential support for future independence.

  4. Very Disappointing Indy figures. Not surprising though, when we haven’t got a political party (at the mo) arguing the case. Also, most indy supporters/Yes Cymru/Plaid seem far to engrossed in arguing against Brexit, rather than the case for Independence. Crazy when brexit gives us the best chance ever of breaking up the UK.

    Most people in Wales have never even considered Independence. BUT….there is probably easy pickings of 20/30/40 % who would support it, if they were convinced we would be better off. Also Scotland leaving the UK would give us a massive boost, as we would be stuck with England in what would be effectively a one party state.

    There is also, hovever, probably 20-25% of staunch Unionists who would never support it.

    • JR Humphreys

      Dai, when Queen Elizabeth passes on, I think there will be a big change, as she has been a link, with the privations suffered during and after WW2, that bound those generations together, for richer or poorer. Agree with your Brexit stance.

    • Actually, Yes Cymru does not support the EU, even if some of its members do. Its stance is that membership of the EU is a decision for an independent Wales.

      • Our country in our hands

        I agree, once the full economic horrors become apparent in Wales we should have the right as a nation to reconsider our arrangement with the EU and not be forced into further economic suicide just because Westminster wants it !

  5. Eternal optimists for their pet wish. 7% is absolutely the truth, it has not, and will not, move substantially until the economy improves. It is not actually in Labours interest for it to, as the need for them will disappear! It is the same for a left(ish) Plaid, which is not all of the party, as the North and West are actually quite conservative by nature.

    Fundamental Nationalists are going to go on indulging themselves in statements straight from the students union whilst Wales declines further into a polarised society divided neatly by the M4. A55 and heads of the valley roads.

    That English breakfast tea is calling again.

    • Read ‘Meditations’ by Marcus Aurelius. You will be happier my friend.

      A fi, feirdd, i mewn a chwi allan!

    • JR Humphreys

      Wake up and smell the coffee, more like. Tea is yesterday.

    • My worry….what is the economy cannot improve because of the status quo Nigel … that is a just thought

    • What is a fundamental nationalist?

      I believe in a confederation of Britain and Ireland , close working partners who have a say over their own lives

      …..ground-up self rule….devolution as low as possible when proven to be best.

      I do not believe in a Cardiff centric state…and neither do I believe in Westminster rule….

  6. Where did the UKIP support go? Assuming these polls have any validity, they suggest that most former UKIP voters have switched their allegiance (or perhaps returned it) to Welsh Labour. Only a small fraction have switched to the Conservatives, and of course none to Plaid Cymru (their real potential nemesis).

    So Plaid have done well in increasing their support without a windfall from UKIP, and must therefore have gained supporters from Labour or the Tories or the LIB Dems. Ardderchog!

  7. If these polls are accurate they make for encouraging reading, however who are the 4% that want to have fewer powers?!

  8. Graham John Hathaway

    There is cheer for all parties, since little has changed. But a % point increase for Indy is a surprise. When shadows of the fall, and the enduring piece of elastic is stretched even further, until it twangs to rock music,
    the natural instincts are to revert to type. I would be greatly encouraged should I lead any party into the jaws of the unknown with an increased confidence, however small, in purity of thought of how Wales could be better. With the case yet to be made.

    Ymlaen, ymlaen, I say, stronger together, and now make the moves to the lapping shores of Wales and hills beyond. For such is the good news and that of The Ides of March.

  9. John Young

    Saying support for Independence is 7% is utterly meaningless without the wording of the question. If the question was a simple yes/no re indy then most people would say no. If you also asked them why they said no they’d say they don’t know enough to give a yes vote.

    In another recent YesCymru/YouGov poll re the question of Independence the people who took part were asked the question ‘on a scale of 0 to 10 where 0 is absolutely no to indy and 10 is absolutely yes to indy what would your answer be ?’. The result was that 26% were positive (6-10) with 16 giving an answer of 5 meaning that, given the information necessary to make an informed answer that 16% could quite possibly become favourable giving up to 42% in favour.

    The problem is that people don’t have the information they need. But, very soon there will be a party in Wales which will provide all the information they require.

    A great change is coming.

    • Graham John Hathaway

      You comments are interesting John, on the sliding scale motion. Something like moving parts of an engine. Or bobbing on the ocean waves, not fully submerged, and the waves vary. I do think it’s the most informed.
      I’ve taken much comfort from the spectrum approach. It reflects more the diversity and range of the thoughts.
      It’s like do you like bread ? but what sort. I rather think now the 7 % is misleadingly low. Cardiff is much higher. From previous blogs I’ve read. It’s patchy and doesn’t explain much, but gives opposition comments to malign and dismember the arguments for independence. Stephen Kinnock in a debate on TV about such voting intentions simply said ” do the maths” . I can count beyond 7. And it will rise.

  10. London drip feeds us as it does Scotland and the North of Ireland, Scotland understands this yet the Welsh doesn’t. London steals £8 Billion from Wales every year. Yet the uneducated still votes for England. I’m proud to say I’m part of the 7%.

    • John Young

      Bearing in mind my earlier posting, if you (or I) said i’m part of the 42% that would surely prompt many people to ask the question ‘re Independence, what do you mean by 42% ?’. And you’ve got a perfect platform to explain/persuade someone that it’s something they may consider.

      If you say 7% most people would go to the default position so many take of of ‘the numbers are so low it’s not worth even thinking about’. Grab their interest and you’re away.

    • John Young

      Sorry A Gog. Should have asked. Where do you get £8 billion from ? Is it the combination of Welsh taxes not counted and the Welsh Expenditure on UK infrastructure none of which is spent in Wales ?

  11. You are all missing the really good news of this poll; 66% speak Welsh at some level….dramatically up from the 20% who told the National survey of Wales that they spoke a few words or more in 2017!


    • I think it’s because there’s a whole army of adult learners who missed out on their language when in school and want to either
      further their career or redress an injustice, or both. Better still (it could be argued), those adult learners include a number of English blow-ins.

  12. Thanks Wrexhamian….I never thought of that…although last year’s St David’s day poll had 64% able to speak Welsh to some degree…and 2016 had 64% which was down a bit from 2015 where ICM had a sample with 68% able to speak Welsh. You Gov on the other hand only finds 17% of adults able to speak Welsh (2% above the 2011 census for adults) and gets different results on constitutional questions about Wales:-

    In the ICM st David’s day poll there is a close correlation between ability to speak Welsh and wanting “More powers/Independence”…77% for fluent Welsh speakers and 43% for non Welsh speakers. It makes a very big difference therefore how many non-Welsh speakers are in the ICM “pool”.

    • Wrexhamian

      Bearing in mind the correlation between knowledge of Welsh and support for independence, then we have good reason to be cautiously optimistic re. independence in the fullness of time, John, because the number of learners both in school and among adults shows no sign of decreasing.

      But obviously, many other factors will determine which way an independence referendum would go. The Welsh people need to have these spelled out to them — in both languages, of course.

  13. Duncan Doughnuts

    Wasn’t the 2014 BBC/ICM poll that said 3% want independence discredited because the question was so (mis)leading? Other polls at the time – and others since – have given quite different figures. It seems to me the BBC had to promote it as they had paid for it, even if the figures didn’t match historic or current figures in other polls. I find it strange they have continued with it, unless the figures it produces are pleasing to someone….
    I wonder why this website is giving credence and oxygen to this BBC/ICM poll? Is it just to get some form of comparison consistency, even if the figures are misleading?

    Independence ‘Up’ from 3% to 6% to 7% is pathetic, and would be embarrassing if true. Sadly it seems from the other comments here that some others take this figure as accurate. Dai Boy’s comments are more accurate, though I would say maybe 20% for (in the right circumstances), with a third dead against, with the rest indifferent / malleable / frightened of change.
    But winter is coming!

    [There’s a sample of other polls on Wikipedia –

  14. Our country in our hands

    7% is obviously disappointing but we haven’t left the EU yet so It’s early days. Once we do and power is taken away from Wales (regardless of any attempt to prevent it happening now) politicians will start to openly look towards independence. However, it won’t be until real poverty hits ordinary people on the street that demand for self autonomy will increase. The mess that is the Northern Irish border and probable Scottish independence will also make people think.

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