Don’t know how to make your vote count? Here’s your tactical voting guide to Wales
Ifan Morgan Jones
Ideally, everyone would just vote for their first-choice candidate. If you’re one of the people who intend to do so no matter what, then this article isn’t for you.
Unfortunately however, as there’s no proportional voting at Westminster elections, voters are often forced into pragmatically choosing their second or third choice as the lesser of two or more evils.
According to the Electoral Reform Society, over a quarter of us in Wales intend to do just that, and vote tactically, at the General Election.
So here’s a party by party guide to making your vote count on 12 December.
One group that will have to think carefully is Plaid Cymru voters who nevertheless want to ensure that Boris Johnson does not win a majority.
If you’re a Plaid Cymru supporter but want to minimise the number of Conservative seats in Wales, the good news is that you can still vote Plaid Cymru in more than half the seats on offer (see the map above).
There are five seats where Plaid Cymru are either the incumbents or are favourites with the bookies to win at the General Election: Ynys Môn, Ceredigion, Arfon, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr and Dwyfor Meirionnydd.
But there are also quite a few safe Labour seats where there’s no danger at all that Labour will lose them to the Conservatives. These are Aberavon, Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Cardiff South, Cardiff West, Cynon Valley, Islwyn, Llanelli, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, Neath, Newport East, Ogmore, Pontypridd, Rhondda, Swansea East, Swansea West, and Torfaen. You can vote Plaid Cymru here conscience free knowing that you’re not putting the seat in any danger of a Conservative win.
There are a few other seats however that are a bit trickier. These are current Labour seats that are in danger of being won by the Conservatives.
Those most likely to change are Wrexham, Vale of Clwyd, Cardiff North and Gower. Also in danger but to a slightly lesser extent are Alyn and Deeside, Bridgend, Clwyd South, Delyn and Newport West.
If you’re more concerned about the Conservatives getting in than boosting Plaid Cymru’s overall tally, you may want to vote Labour in these constituencies.
Then there are seats that, if the election turns in their favour before 12 December, Labour could win back from the Conservatives. These are Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, Preseli Pembrokeshire, Clwyd West, and Aberconwy. However, on current polling these seem quite unlikely to flip in Labour’s favour.
Monmouthshire is another seat where the Tories hold the seat and Labour are in second place, but the Tory majority here is very safe so voting Labour may not make as much of a difference.
There are also four seats where Plaid Cymru aren’t standing anyway as part of the Remain Alliance. In the Vale of Glamorgan, the Alliance is backing the Green Party but a vote for Labour is the best bet at unseating the Conservative candidate. A vote for the Liberal Democrats would be the best way of retaining Brecon and Radnorshire and winning Montgomeryshire.
Cardiff Central is a safe Labour seat so you could vote there for whoever you like there.
If of course, you’re usually a Plaid Cymru supporter but would rather the Conservatives to win a majority (there are a few around), just flip the red, yellow and grey on the above map to blue and vote accordingly.
What if you’re a Lib Dem that wants to Stop Brexit and keep out the Conservative party?
You won’t be able to vote Lib Dem in Ynys Môn, Arfon, Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Llanelli, Caerphilly or Pontypridd because of the Remain Alliance with Plaid Cymru and the Greens.
But apart from in Ynys Môn and Dwyfor Meirionnydd, there’s no serious threat of a Conservative win in any of those seats. If stopping Brexit is your thing, then Plaid Cymru have a stronger position on Brexit than Labour whose leader has said he will remain neutral in a second referendum.
As in the case of Plaid Cymru voters, if your main aim is to prevent a majority Conservative government, it’s probably best to vote Labour in certain seats (noted in red above) where they are the only thing keeping the Conservatives out or the best hope of unseating them.
Again, if you would rather the Conservatives than Labour or Plaid Cymru win, just flip the red, grey and green seats above to blue.
If you’re a Labour supporter you don’t really have to trouble yourself with tactical voting almost anywhere, as Labour is either the incumbent or competing for second place in almost every seat.
The only seats where you may want to consider voting tactically are in mid-Wales: Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Ceredigion, Montgomeryshire, and Brecon and Radnorshire.
Dwyfor Meirionnydd is a race between Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives. Montgomeryshire and Brecon and Radnorshire are Conservative / Lib Dem marginals so it may be worth voting tactically there too.
Ceredigion is a Lib Dem / Plaid Cymru marginal but Labour are in a strong 3rd position.
The bookies suggest Labour could come third in Ynys Môn, but they’ve held the seat since the early 2000s so the argument for a tactical vote there is weaker.
As with Labour, above, there are very few seats in Wales where the Conservatives are not in the mix somewhere.
The only seats where the Conservatives are in 3rd place or lower are the seats where it’s Plaid Cymru v Labour (Arfon, Blaenau Gwent, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, and Rhondda) or Plaid Cymru v the Liberal Democrats (Ceredigion). You may want to consider a tactical vote in theses seats.
In Ceredigion however the Conservatives are in quite a strong 4th place, and a recent poll had them almost coming second, so the argument for tactical voting there isn’t quite as strong as in the other constituencies.
The Greens are standing aside in Ynys Môn, Arfon, Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Llanelli, Caerphilly, Pontypridd, Montgomeryshire, Brecon and Radnorshire and Cardiff Central as part of the Remain Alliance.
Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats are standing aside for them in the Vale of Glamorgan. Unfortunately, however, the Greens aren’t seriously competitive in any seats so if you really want to vote for them, perhaps you should take Kang and Kodos’ advice:
‘Go ahead, throw your vote away!’
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.
There is no such thing as “throwing your vote away” by voting for someone who doesn’t win or failing to prevent someone else from losing. Every vote counts. So-called “spoiled” ballots – like when you write on the ballot ‘none of the above’ – probably count the most to our political class. Even not casting a ballot sends a message. (When less than half of eligible voters even bother to vote you can surmise the institution and its political parties has fallen into disrepute.) Tactical voting reflects the corruption of our democratic process. When you feel more inclined to vote… Read more »
Voting tactically is the only way to mitigate the built in undemocratic nature of the FPTP system, so is pro democratic. How is the desire to stop brexit anti-democratic?
I’m not for it – we will be worse off on so many levels – but it was a 100% democratic vote for ‘out’. And even though most understand that the £350m bus thing was an exaggeration the logic behind the vote remains just as solid, as does the right to have that viewpoint. Also the behaviour of rose tinted remainers is often contemptuous – people who don’t agree with them are labeled thick gammon. They show they clearly don’t know the first thing about democracy and the validity of different viewpoints. What if a second vote is 2% against… Read more »
Good common sense. On this basis I posted a vote for Labour in Preseli. Not because I want them to rule Wales but to beat Leaver Crabb. I can only hope Labour do better in Preseli than you think. (Did I just write that?) Just makes me angrier that Plaid have had since 1930s to win Preseli and are nowhere near. BTW, the idea that ‘if Labour is way ahead you can vote Plaid in good conscience’ is not wholly true. Yes you can virtue signal and feel good about yourself and build up a national total though this does… Read more »
If you live in Aberconwy, and don’t want the Tories to continue in government, then you should cast your vote for the Labour candidate, Emily Owen, who, contrary to what it says above, has every likelihood of winning the seat. Guto Bebb, the Conservative MP for Aberconwy has stood down in protest over Boris Johnson’s leadership, and the party’s swing to the right. The new Tory candidate does not even live in Aberconwy. Emily lives locally, and was only 636 votes short of a majority in the 2017 election, so if you voted Plaid Cymru or Lib Dem last time,… Read more »
I think you need to take a long hard look at the Tories history of all forms of racism and probably your own blinkered narrow view on the world, its men like you that spread hatred in the world. Such a distorted superiority to govern is coming to an end so just accept the change that’s ahead Socialism!
What is truly shocking, honestly to me, is the Conservatives who supported the humane David Cameron, could also follow the liar and bluffer currently in office , Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, with anything like the same enthusiasm, or any enthusiasm at all. With apologies to Guto Bebb, of course!
Tell me why corbyn is an antisemite, I’ve still yet to hear the evidence, just lies and out of context BS. If you feel strongly about anti semitic behaviour, how come you don’t t feel the same about anti Islamic behaviour by the Conservatives? Unlike the lies on corbyn, there are video evidence of not only anti Islamic behaviour by the Conservatives but also lies in general, the whole kipper fiasco for example. Well he’s either lying or has no idea about British legislations, both are possible.
Montgomeryshire is NOT marginal .
If you want a FREE WALES,CYMRU RYDD, vote for the candidate who supports independence. DO NOT VOTE FOR A UNIONIST UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!
In other words, vote for the Welsh nationalist upstart Gwlad Gwlad? All other parties being unionist – British unionist, or European unionist, or both. I think that’s it for Wales. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Any Plaid Cymru supporters in rural Wales should remember that Labour joined the Tories to reject giving the Senedd a voice on Brexit, and the Welsh Labour Government agreed with the Tory Government in Westminster to put our powers, in those devolved areas coming back from Brussels, in the “fridge”, allowing our Welsh agriculture and food to be bargaining chips in future trade deals. That would mean devastation for our familu farms and a whole way of life. Yes Labour agreed to that!! Labour governments don’t stand for us in Wales, they never have. Plaid will!