Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Labour’s lead in Senedd election polling down to just 7% over Plaid Cymru

06 Jun 2024 6 minute read
Rhun ap Iorwerth and Vaughan Gething

Martin Shipton

The continuing scandals surrounding Vaughan Gething have cut Welsh Labour’s poll lead over Plaid Cymru at a Senedd election to just seven percentage points.

A YouGov poll carried out between May 30 and June 3 put Labour on 30%, with Plaid Cymru on 23% and the Conservatives on 19%.

This showed a significant drop in support for Labour since an equivalent poll undertaken between May 2 and May 4, which showed Labour on 36%, with the Conservatives in second place on 29% and Plaid Cymru on 20%.

By contrast, Labour retains a commanding lead in Wales so far as Westminster voting intentions are concerned, with the backing of 45% of voters while 18% say they will vote Conservative, 13% for Reform UK and 12% for Plaid Cymru.

Voting tactically

The polling results illustrate how people in Wales are now more prepared to vote differently in Westminster and Senedd elections. With a wholly proportional electoral system being introduced for the next Senedd election in 2026, people will no longer have to think of voting tactically to make their vote count.

If Labour has Vaughan Gething, an unpopular and tainted leader, still in charge, the party’s previously unassailable electoral strength in Wales could be compromised.

A Plaid Cymru spokesperson said: “Vaughan Gething’s lack of judgement in accepting a donation from a businessman linked to environmental offences is clearly impacting people’s trust in the Labour Welsh Government.

“In recent polls for the Senedd we’ve seen Plaid closing on Labour and Rhun ap Iorwerth scoring strong personal popularity ratings compared to the other party leaders. In 2026 Plaid Cymru’s ambition will be to elect a member in every single one of the new constituencies in every corner of Wales.”

‘Wake-up call’

A Labour insider said “These numbers should be a huge wake up call to us all. Welsh Labours Senedd polling is much lower than our Westminster polling, and shows voters are differentiating. The obvious difference is the controversy around Vaughan Gething. It’s clearly cutting through in a big way, we are 10 points down on the last Senedd elections and would lose seats if the election were tomorrow.

“We should stop pretending nobody is bothered and address the issue. A good start would be Vaughan paying the money back.”

In an article for the Guardian Professor Richard Wyn Jones, director of the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University, said there was mounting evidence that Mr Gething’s travails were cutting through with the public and even damaging the Welsh Labour brand.

Distraction

He wrote: “It remains highly unlikely that this will have any material impact on the general election result. As has been the case for a century, Labour is again set to dominate in Wales. It is nonetheless an unwelcome distraction for a UK party leadership at pains to distinguish itself from a jaded Conservative party.

“More seriously, left unaddressed, Gething’s unpopularity is likely to prove very problematic for Welsh Labour in the next devolved election. Since news of the controversial donation to his leadership campaign became public, one of the key arguments put forward by the First Minister’s defenders is that it is only those people who take a particular interest in Welsh politics who care about the story – denizens of the imagined ‘Cardiff Bay bubble’. Not so.

“After polling showing that the electorate disapprove of his decision to accept the money, data from the latest ITV Wales/Cardiff University tracker poll shows that 57% of respondents think that Gething is performing badly as First Minister, compared with only 15% who take a positive view. That only Rishi Sunak has worse ratings in Wales than the Welsh Labour leader indicates the extent of the problem. The same poll also shows a significant fall in Labour support at the devolved level.

“Having further alienated those party members on whom he is most reliant, and haemorrhaging support among the wider electorate, there is nothing to suggest that Gething’s situation is retrievable. To the contrary, the longer he remains in post, the greater the reputational damage is likely to be – not only to the Welsh Labour party, but even to devolution itself.”

While Mr Gething’s closely knit team of supporters in the Senedd and beyond are trying to portray the no confidence vote he lost as a “Tory gimmick”, further details continue to emerge about his actions.

Newyddion S4C

A freedom of information disclosure to BBC Wales showed that Mr Gething tried to halt the release of emails which proved he had lobbied on behalf of the group that donated £200,000 to his leadership campaign, and whose owner David Neal had received two suspended prison sentences for dumping toxic sludge in the protected Gwent Levels wetland landscape. Acting on a tip-off, Newyddion S4C, produced by BBC Wales, requested correspondence between Mr Gething and the regulator Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

The emails released by NRW show it contacted Mr Gething on March 4, asking whether there was any reason the information it gathered should not be released under environmental information regulations.

Mr Gething first responded the next day, claiming the request was a “fishing expedition” and that his constituents would expect correspondence on their behalf by an elected representative to remain confidential. He also queried whether releasing the information would breach data protection laws.

Legal

An NRW representative replied saying the disclosure was legal and required under the environmental information regulations. Mr Gething then responded once more saying he did “not understand how my correspondence, whether in full or in part, amounts to environmental information”. He cited releasing the information would “have a material impact” on the way he did his job for his constituents.

The information requested was released by NRW on March 8. Mr Gething was announced as leader of Welsh Labour on March 16.

Welsh Labour denied Mr Gething did not want the information released, stating he was “merely clarifying the principle of what information was being released and how it impacts on the work of MSs for their constituents”.

Meanwhile former Cardiff Labour councillor Ashley Govier, a close friend of Mr Gething’s, defended his decision to accept the £200k from convicted businessman David Neal’s Dauson Environmental Group, posting a message on X that said: “He wouldn’t have won without it.”


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
39 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
John Ellis
John Ellis
1 day ago

‘The polling results illustrate how people in Wales are now more prepared to vote differently in Westminster and Senedd elections. Certainly true for me, and more than ever in the light of the events of the last day or two. I live in one of the rather few Senedd constituencies which has returned a Conservative MS, and I’d begun to contemplate possibly backing Labour at the next Senedd election, just to do my bit to ensure that the Tories, in their recent ‘English nationalist’ manifestation, are excluded from political office in Wales. And if Mark Drakeford had carried on, I… Read more »

Last edited 1 day ago by John Ellis
R W
R W
1 day ago
Reply to  John Ellis

Of course, if Labour wins every Westminster seat here, they’d also be a mere drop in the House of Commons ocean which will be overwhelmingly dominated by over 550 English MPs.
Come to that, how many of those “Welsh Labour” MPs could even be trusted to fight for the benefit of Cymru/Wales rather than their beloved UK/England? At least we know who the Plaid Cymru MPs will be fighting for!

Last edited 1 day ago by R W
John Ellis
John Ellis
1 day ago
Reply to  R W

Fair point, but we are where we are. And given the limited choice I’d prefer a government at Westminster which backs devolution over one which undermines it and in fact has recently sought to erode it.

R W
R W
23 hours ago
Reply to  John Ellis

Well, I respect your choice, even though I completely disagree with it. Personally, I will be voting for a party that I trust implicitly to fight for the benefit of Cymru/Wales at all times.
Imagine PC winning a majority of the seats at the general election. It would frighten the life out of the Unionist parties! They would finally have to show us the same respect that they’ve shown for Scotland since the SNP rose to prominence.

John Ellis
John Ellis
22 hours ago
Reply to  R W

‘Imagine PC winning a majority of the seats at the general election. It would frighten the life out of the Unionist parties!’ It would indeed! But in reality that isn’t going to happen. If we had a voting system in which every vote counted and none was ‘wasted’, I’d certainly be voting as you intend to do. But we don’t have that sort of system.. For years I’ve been a bit of an anorak around what goes on at election time, and the world wide web has been really helpful to people like me. I especially favour ‘Electoral Calculus’, who… Read more »

Rob
Rob
20 hours ago
Reply to  John Ellis

It depends on the constituency. If your in a tory constituency or a one that could go tory then you should definitely vote tactically.
https://stopthetories.vote/

John Ellis
John Ellis
19 hours ago
Reply to  Rob

Like everywhere else, this forthcoming general election in our area will be fought in the context of the new constituencies. I’m in north-eastern Wales, and the former constituencies which now comprise our new one all have a history of switching from Labour to Conservative and vice versa.

The former one covering where I live was held by Labour until 2005 and then elected a Conservative. The others switched from Labour to Tory in 2019. No other party has come anywhere near to taking the seats in recent times.

R W
R W
18 hours ago
Reply to  John Ellis

I’m rather sceptical of Electoral Calculus. If Scottish voters had always voted according to their statistics, then Labour would still be in charge up there.

CapM
CapM
17 hours ago
Reply to  R W

Yep. The system they use is based on what voters did in the past. It’s a major flaw when a paradigm shift is in the offing because it doesn’t take that shift into consideration.

It’s predictions should not be used as a basis of how to choose who to vote for.

Vote for what party whose policies you agree the most with, share a vision for the future with, trust, inspire you. Not be led by a technique that perpetuates a limited choice whether it’s between a couple of political parties or a couple of brands of washing powder.

John Ellis
John Ellis
10 hours ago
Reply to  R W

I’ve only discovered Electoral Calculus fairly recently, and the only elections which have occurred since I did so have been the limited number of English local government ones back in May, which didn’t actually take place happen in much of England. Their presentation of their data and their methods seems very professional and thorough and of course, as they’re a commercial operation, they obviously have their reputation to consider. But when the general election results are known, of course I’ll be looking closely at how closely the actual results match their advance predictions, and how they explain any discrepancy which… Read more »

CapM
CapM
17 hours ago
Reply to  John Ellis

I’m surprised that you describe yourself as a “bit of an anorak” when it seems that you haven’t really subjected Electoral Calculus to much scrutiny whist allowing yourself to be led by their projections.  Reply to  John Ellis made a week ago I’ve just completed a few Electoral Calculus’ “Guess my vote”. from their website. I entered the same answers for where I live except previous vote. If I voted Plaid last time it gave a 44% chance of voting Labour and a 41% chance of of voting Plaid. If I voted Labour last time it gave a 88% chance of voting Labour and a 0.3% chance of of… Read more »

John Ellis
John Ellis
10 hours ago
Reply to  CapM

I’m an amateur anorak, not a statistics expert!

If those who claim specialism in the field appear impressive and present their case convincingly, I’m inclined to take them seriously – up to the point, should it happen, when evidence suggests that their predictions were seriously off the mark. In which case I’ll look differently at them.

CapM
CapM
25 minutes ago
Reply to  John Ellis

“I’m an amateur anorak, not a statistics expert!”

All the more reason not to guided by those projections.
And an even greater reason not to suggest others be guided also.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
16 hours ago
Reply to  John Ellis

Once upon a time perhaps but it happened in Scotland though didn’t it? They still command a majority of MPs there, don’t they? The FPTP system will never change so long as the two main parties are benefitting. Labour have no incentive whatsoever to change the status quo. So, we are left with the same old, same old. If people never take a chance, then how can we be expected to change things? Welsh politics indeed requires a sea change and while I see some signs of that beginning in Cardiff Bay at the moment, it won’t happen before this… Read more »

John Ellis
John Ellis
10 hours ago
Reply to  SundanceKid

I wholly share the view which you express in your second paragraph. But, as you’re tacitly admitting, we are where we are, in that the current status quo is most unlikely to change.. So I incline towards opting for what seems to me the ‘least worst’ of the practical options actually available on July 4th. I totally accept that ‘least worst’ doesn’t equate to ‘best imaginable’. I’m curious as to what specifically lies behind your suggestion that Gething is Starmer’s ‘puppet’. If you just mean that Starmer is holding the Labour party on the tightest possible leash, once again I… Read more »

robin campbell
robin campbell
21 hours ago
Reply to  John Ellis

I think you’ll find that Jo Stevens, next Colonial Governor, will not support any extension of meaningful powers to Wales. Crumbs here and there. None of the 4 areas recommended by the Welsh Commission will be implemented. (ask Gordon Brown – he’s the arch enemy of independence for Scotland and doesn’t want any naughty ideas from progressive people in Cymru)

John Ellis
John Ellis
19 hours ago
Reply to  robin campbell

Yes, you could be right: Yesterday I half-heard a TV interview with Stevens when I was going from room to room at home, and didn’t hear all of it. I can’t even now recall the words which she said that caught my attention, but I do remember thinking ‘Mmm – don’t like the sound of that’. But right now we are where we are: it’s no longer an unambiguously promising time for devolution in the UK. Maybe that shift was first displayed when Tony Blair, after his resignation, expressed a degree of retrospective regret that he’d allowed himself to go… Read more »

CapM
CapM
16 hours ago
Reply to  John Ellis

“.I think that the devolution which we’ve already got will be safer under a Labour Westminster government than under a Conservative one which Johnson has pretty successfully transformed into UKIP with a different logo.” Surely you cannot seriously think that the Tories have a chance of forming the next government. Would you say that what you write could be construed as gaslighting? In it’s original meaning of undermining confidence in order to restrict options that the target audience thinks it has and so direct the choices it makes. You could easily put me in my place for such audacity by… Read more »

John Ellis
John Ellis
10 hours ago
Reply to  CapM

Surely you cannot seriously think that the Tories have a chance of forming the next government.’

I don’t. But I recall thinking that they didn’t back in 1992, and then they won.

CapM
CapM
22 minutes ago
Reply to  John Ellis

You didn’t even make an attempt at finishing the sentence –

Labour has been, is and will be the best option for Cymru because….

Annibendod
Annibendod
1 day ago
Reply to  John Ellis

If Plaid won 32 seats at Westminster we’d be able to get out of the UK. Wales isn’t Scotland. We never signed a treaty with England. All we need is a democratic mandate and that would be it.

John Ellis
John Ellis
1 day ago
Reply to  Annibendod

True enough in theory; but, like it or not, opinion polls and election results alike serially demonstrate that leaving the UK is a project which doesn’t currently engage a majority of Welsh voters. So in the meantime my sense is that we need (a) to pragmatically prioritize making the best that we can of our devolved status within the UK and (b) bear in mind the practical implications of the ‘first past the post’ electoral system with which we seem set to be saddled for the foreseeable future. Given that context, I’d prefer, in government in London, the electable party… Read more »

Riki
Riki
1 day ago
Reply to  John Ellis

Ofcourse most in Wales aren’t going to be pro Independence, we only ever hear from the Unionists as they run all media in Wales and the larger UK. The fact that Farage and his cronies still get air time is proof of that! There are as many sheep in the towns and cities of Wales as their are in the fields.

John Ellis
John Ellis
23 hours ago
Reply to  Riki

A lot of truth in that, which is very much why I value Nation.Cymru, which I’ve only recently discovered. The dearth of specifically Welsh news and comment media is indeed an issue. I notice when I pause to cast an eye over the newspaper racks in our local supermarkets that if someone stops to pop a paper into their trolley, it’s more likely than not to be the ‘Daily Mail’. Just as it was when I lived in England. But I’m still left with the sense that lamenting that state of affairs is rather on a par with lamenting the… Read more »

CapM
CapM
16 hours ago
Reply to  John Ellis

If your reason for voting Labour is “to pragmatically prioritize making the best that we can of our devolved status within the UK and (b) bear in mind the practical implications of the ‘first past the post’ electoral system” Then you must be putting an almighty effort into avoiding seeing or hearing any references to the opinion polls. The ghost of the Whigg party have more chance of forming the next UK government than the Tory’s do. If you are a Labour supporter which seems to me to be so from the way your comments are worded why not come… Read more »

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
15 hours ago
Reply to  CapM

And the Cow jumped over the Moon

John Ellis
John Ellis
10 hours ago
Reply to  CapM

I’ll be 79 the month after the forthcoming general election and July 4th will be the first time ever that I’ll have cast a vote for Labour!

CapM
CapM
11 minutes ago
Reply to  John Ellis

If you’re going to vote Labour in the coming general election then you are a Labour supporter especially as you’re attempting, based on your personal reasoning, to convince others that they should do the same.

Riki
Riki
1 day ago
Reply to  Annibendod

That’s right, England and Scotland are the only two legally joined together. Wales and Northern Ireland don’t need to jump through the same hoops as those two. Very few in Wales even realise this for some reason!

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
16 hours ago
Reply to  Riki

Wales was given “constituent country” status by David Cameron’s government in 2011.

Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards
22 hours ago
Reply to  Annibendod

Winning all 32 seats is not a solution, though it would be a statement. Wales must have up its sleeve a Bill of Rights and Constitution for an independent Wales. We havn’t got them yet, so we’re not ready. We’d have to call a Constitutional Convention to adopt the Indy Plan. Scotland couldn’t get Indy, so its a big ask for Wales

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
16 hours ago

What’s the alternative?

In five years time, we could be looking at a big Conservative/ Reform comeback running on (amongst other things) the ticket of abolishing the Scottish and Welsh parliaments. In order to win English votes, UK Labour would match the pledge.

This is the threat we face and it is a very real one. It’s time to wake up. Welsh democracy will not continue in perpetuity unless we are willing to defend it.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
1 day ago

 “He wouldn’t have won without it.” Ummm, duh, I think most of us had already cottoned on to that fact before he was actually elected, but was known to be favourite! It really does come to something when we’re so used to Welsh Labour’s opaque modus operandi that in effect it’s actually transparent! We’d all probably be terribly shocked if anything they did didn’t involve skulduggery of some kind. As the saying attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte goes “Never Interfere With an Enemy While He’s in the Process of Destroying Himself” Plaid should pray that Gething refuses to go, while of… Read more »

Last edited 1 day ago by Padi Phillips
Richard E
Richard E
1 day ago

PC did so well in tbe first Cardiff Bay election as they focused on simple, clear and understandable core aims. No gimiks, No Woke , No tie up with others – just a promuse to put “ Walea First “ Always. ….
respecting choice and listening to communities.

A lesson for the future ?

Rhun has performed well over recent times …..this poll shows the public are responding ✔️

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
23 hours ago
Reply to  Richard E

Richard has raised an important lesson of history. The 1999 election was the best result Plaid Cymru ever had – a straightforward message delivered by committed candidates and workers who really believed. More importantly, building the party for some time before. The big mistake at the time was the party leadership listening to supposedly knowledgeable people who – wrongly as things turned out – persuaded the leadership that only list seats were winnable. Then things went pear shaped. Dafydd Wigley’s notorious didn’t believe in independence statement drove members away, Ieuan Wyn Jones cosying up to “Welsh” Labour drove more away,… Read more »

Adrian
Adrian
1 day ago

Leave this 3rd-rate equity hire in place: he nicely sums up the true face and attitude of the Labour Party. Maybe when Net Zero bankrupts the region and parents finally realise that school-kids are being taught the gender identity fairytale as if it’s fact, we’ll wake up as a nation.

Riki
Riki
1 day ago

Tories on 19%? What the actual hell is that all about? Man, Wales is a very very Special place.

Rob
Rob
22 hours ago

Whilst it is good for democracy that Welsh voters are starting to differentiate between Senedd and Westminster priorities I do fear that this could hurt Labour in the election. Not that I am going to vote for them or think its going to make a difference to the outcome overall, but we need the Tories to be wiped out in Wales once and for all. It would send a message to them about undermining devolution. David TC Davies, Robin Millar, Stephen Crabb etc all need to lose their seats.

SundanceKid
SundanceKid
16 hours ago
Reply to  Rob

Enough Conservative MPs will be annihilated in England without us here in Wales, believing we need to give Labour a “helping hand”.

UK Labour will undermine devolution too. Just wait until they are in power.

We need to crack this mindset in Wales that “Labour are the answer”. They are not.

They are another Westminster party treating Wales as their personal fiefdom. If the events of the last few days didn’t show that then nothing will.

Last edited 16 hours ago by SundanceKid

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.