59% would support ‘devo max’ for Wales in a referendum, new YouGov poll shows

The Senedd. Picture by Senedd Cymru.

A new YouGov poll has shown that 59% of respondents who had a view said they would support ‘devo-max’ for Wales in a referendum.

The so-called devo-max option would see powers transferred from Westminster to the Welsh Parliament in Cardiff, including the right to control taxation and welfare in a move that stops just short of independence.

The question asked was: “If there was a referendum tomorrow on the transferring of more powers to the Senedd (Welsh Parliament), including control of tax and welfare, but excluding defence and foreign affairs, how would you vote? Should more powers be transferred to the Senedd (Welsh Parliament)?”

The poll was carried out by YouGov on behalf of YesCymru, the cross-party campaign for Welsh independence.

YesCymru Chair, Sion Jobbins, said the results contradicted Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s claims that devolution had been a “mistake”.

“In light of Boris Johnson’s comments on devolution being ‘a mistake’ it really is time for the Welsh Government to get serious about what it wants to happen, and make its constitutional position clear,” he said.

“It’s clear the people of Wales value devolution, but with devolution being threatened by the Conservatives in Westminster, everyone in Wales needs to join together to protect our democracy.

“We have at least four more years of Johnson’s Tories in Westminster. They’re chomping at the bit to scrap our Senedd. What is the Welsh Government going to do to protect and strengthen our parliament?”

 

‘Surge’

There was support for increasing the powers of the Senedd through devo-max in all regions of Wales, with 64% of respondents who had a view in Cardiff and south central Wales backing the move, the highest level of support in the country.

There was also large support for devo-max from younger respondents with 82% of respondents aged 18-24 who had a view saying they would vote for Wales to have more powers.

The votes by age group were:

  • 18-24 – 82% yes
  • 25-49 – 73% yes
  • 50-64 – 51% yes
  • 65+ – 43% yes

And by regions

  • Cardiff and South Central – 64% yes
  • South East – 63% yes
  • Mid and West – 61% yes
  • North – 53% yes
  • South West – 52% yes

Sion Jobbins said that the best way to protect the people of Wales was for Wales to take control of its own affairs by becoming an independent country.

“We would then be in the same position as the Irish Republic, where Westminster can’t just get rid of the Irish parliament on a whim,” he said.

“That is not an option on the table at the moment, but it can be if we make it an issue in the May Senedd elections.

“We have had a huge surge in YesCymru members over the past few weeks, recently hitting 15,000 members, but it’s very telling that there has been no such surge in the membership of political parties. There is a huge appetite out there for change but people still don’t feel that the political parties are the best way to bring about that change. No one political party can take YesCymru supporters for granted.

“Of the two major unionist parties in Wales we only know where the Tories stand – they want to roll back devolution. Labour now needs to step up and make its constitutional position clear – waiting and hoping for a Labour win in Westminster in 2024 is not an option especially as the Tories are planning to get rid of 20% of Welsh seats and Scotland will probably have left Westminster by then.”

The total sample size was 1060 Adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th – 16th November 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in Wales (aged 18+). All figures discount those who responded with ‘Don’t Know’, ‘Refused’ or ‘Would not Vote’.

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