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Almost half of converts to Welsh independence voted Labour in Senedd constituencies, research shows

19 Aug 2021 3 minutes Read
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price at a YesCymru march in 2019. Photo Nation.Cymru

Almost half of those who decided to back Welsh independence since the previous Senedd election in 2016 voted Labour in the constituencies in the 2021 election, new research has shown.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price made appealing to independence supporters a key plank of his campaign, but 47% of those won over by the arguments for independence between 2016 and 2021 voted Labour instead.

Plaid Cymru had better luck on the regional list where 51% of those who changed their minds from opposing to backing independence between 2016 and 2021 voted for them.

According to the research by PhD student James Griffiths of the University of Manchester, recent converts to independence now make up a majority of the movement.

He said that the major difference between independence supporters and non-supporters were attitudes towards Brexit.

“There are some slight linguistic and gender differences, with a slightly higher proportion of those who have become more supportive of independence being women and fluent Welsh speakers,” he said.

“Yet, the major differences emerge in Brexit positions. Converts to independence are far more likely to have voted Remain in the 2016 EU referendum than those who continue to oppose independence.

“These results are consistent with the rise in support for independence within the EU, which suggests that Brexit is pushing some individuals in Wales away from the UK. Levels of university education are also far higher among independence converts, which probably reflects the connection between Remain voting and education.”

‘Far stronger’

The report noted that whether someone felt Welsh, British or a mixture of both was also a predictor of their support for independence, but that new converts to the independence cause had a stronger British identity.

“Those who do not support independence, and those who have become less supportive of independence, tend to prioritise their British identity and report stronger English identity,” James Griffiths said.

“Converts to independence tend to prioritise their Welsh identity, but their British identity is far stronger than that of more long-standing independence supporters.

“Similarly, those who have become more supportive tend to report similar (and strong) British and Welsh identities (albeit their British identity is slightly lower than the less supportive).”

The results overall suggested that converting to independence did not mean that individuals refused a British identity or voted for pro-independence political parties.

“Understanding why these patterns occur will be crucial for analysing changing attitudes towards constitutional preference in Wales,” he added.

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Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
2 months ago

The growth in labour supporters in Wales who support welsh independence has been one of the most interesting – and encouraging – political developments of recent times. But sad to say such people are wasting their vote in voting labour. Labour remains a staunchly unionist party and their leader in Wales (Mark Drakeford) repeatedly spoke out against welsh independence during the recent senedd election.

Last edited 2 months ago by Leigh Richards
Stuart Cane
Stuart Cane
2 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

As a recent Yes Cymru member (and ex-Labour party activist) I was very torn which way to vote. Do I vote Plaid to support the indy cause or support Labour as a vote of confidence in Covid policies of Mark Drakeford, my local AM?

I went for the former but suspect a lot of people went with the latter and may well switch when it’s not a “Covid election”. I suspect there is more hope for Plaid than the results suggest.

Gill Jones
Gill Jones
2 months ago
Reply to  Stuart Cane

I empathise completely. As a Yes Cymru member, I really wanted to vote for Plaid Cymru but I chose, against my principles, to vote Labour as a tactical vote in the hope of ousting the obnoxious Simon Fart, whereas a Plaid Cymru vote in little england beyond Wales would be a wasted vote. The voting system needs a major overhaul as true party votes will never be representative of a fair and just election result.

G Horton-Jones
G Horton-Jones
2 months ago
Reply to  Gill Jones

Regretably the two party system is entrenched to the extent that democracy may no longer haveany meaning in Wales especially when the first past the post mantra exists.
As applied to Brexit no democratic body in its right mind would plough ahead with such a narrow mandate and yet the Tories did.

j humphrys
j humphrys
2 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Many are not simply voters, but actual members of the Lab. party, and shop stewards. We shall see.

Last edited 2 months ago by j humphrys
hdavies15
hdavies15
2 months ago
Reply to  j humphrys

“Converts” is hardly appropriate choice of word. People will drift in and out of supporting the independence movement at the fringes. This may, for example, be in response to some perceived “wrong” committed by Westminster or a statement by a leading advocate that chimes with the individual. Much as we may wish that everybody is totally supportive we have to accept that the fringes may be bigger than we like to think. That is why a sustained effort is essential, communicating what is wrong and what will be done about it. Not necessarily the minute detail, but broad pictures that… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
2 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Yeah, well I think we should all be aware of entryism by now. But I agree.

arthur owen
2 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

This is g how voting for parties in democratic elections happens,even in Wales.Although personally I have usually been ‘ Plaid Cymru dwl’ despite not having been a member for years.

Quornby
Quornby
2 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Totally agree HD.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
2 months ago

I’ll wager that a lot of new indy supporters voted Welsh Labour as a tactical vote to keep the anti-devolution parties (including the Tories) out of power, seeing Labour as more likely to win last May than Plaid Cymru. This was partly, though not entirely, through no fault of Plaid’s (less media coverage, for example, and the advantage that Labour enjoyed as successful incumbents during the worst of the pandemic). That could change, to Plaid’s advantage, if the Welsh Labour Govt. mess up, e.g. over holiday homes or the post-covid economy.

Last edited 2 months ago by Wrexhamian
Quornby
Quornby
2 months ago
Reply to  Wrexhamian

Agreed Wrexhamian but constant hard graft required and a leader who is not on the beach.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
2 months ago
Reply to  Quornby

Yes, PC won’t succeed by default if Welsh Labour let the country down. Plaid missed too many open goals during the Carwyn era to give me any real sense of optimism. Must try harder.

Pete Cuthbert
Pete Cuthbert
2 months ago

One explanation which appears not to have been mentioned is joining YC to send a ‘message’ to the De Piffle regime. It seems that some of the more thoughtful parts of that mostly thoughtless body are worried about the growth of the independence movements in Scotland Wales and Ulster. They are apparently concerned that the Regime’s behaviours will blow the UK apart. Not a good outcome for the Conservative and Unionist Party.

Dave
Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  Pete Cuthbert

good point Pete

Dave
Dave
2 months ago

Sorry to break this to Plaid voters but I as a Welsh Labour member note Welsh, I have no confidence in Plaid to deliver anything for Wales. The navel gazing and ineptitude is staggering. Adam is a good man, but the party is disjointed at best. I wish from my heart that I had a real choice but I do not. So to influence Welsh Labour from the inside seems to be my only choice. #IndyWales

Morris Dean
Morris Dean
2 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Can’t comment on whether Adam is a “good man” but he’s been a disaster for internal party operation

Quornby
Quornby
2 months ago
Reply to  Dave

IF they can be persuaded…… My experience of Labour “Welsh” or not is a sorry tale of broken promises laid on the ermine altar.

Hannergylch
Hannergylch
2 months ago

Is the significance of “identity” being overplayed here? I can’t be the only person who takes a purely utilitarian view. My own utilitarian view is that an autonomous Wales is the most efficient structure for providing public services to the inhabitants of its territory, but I don’t identify as anything other than a sentient life-form. Other people are welcome to identify me as whatever they like (and I freely admit to identifying other people according to how they sound and look). Other self-identified sentient life-forms presumably believe that the United Kingdom is the most efficient structure for providing public services… Read more »

Quornby
Quornby
2 months ago

Labour itself will be pro Indy as soon as they realise London rule is out of their reach these days and especially when the tories dump the current idiot in Downing Street….. … probably next week.

Last edited 2 months ago by Quornby

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