What does the latest Senedd poll tell us about anti-abolish tactical voting in May?

Mark Drakeford. Picture by Christopher Jones / Alamy Stock Photo. Adam Price. Credit: Euan Cherry/WENN. Paul Davies. © Russell Hart/Alamy Live News. Mark Reckless. PjrNews / Alamy Stock Photo

Ethan Jones

With the latest Senedd polls suggesting that there will be few changes in the constituencies, many have predicted that the most interesting battles in this year’s Senedd Elections will be on the regional list seats – and I agree.

The main object of discussion has been the projected gains (four list seats) of the anti-devolution Abolish The Welsh Assembly Party projected by the previous Welsh Political Barometer poll in November.

They gained these four seats in the projection despite their gains being a very modest 2.6 points, highlighting just how marginal the results on the regional lists are likely to be. Their success and failure could come down to as few as 5,000 votes.

But if the last poll projection shows the impact of even small gains on the list on a party’s electoral fortunes then the latest Barometer poll demonstrates the power of tactical voting.

In the latest poll, despite Abolish’s support staying at 7%, their projected seat total dropped by 50% from four to two. This was purely down to a small 3% rise in support for Plaid Cymru.

Assuming the Barometer polls are accurate it makes for some very interesting battles for list seats in the majority of the different regions. Only three constituency seats are projected to change hands but this does impact the weightings of each party when it comes to deciding the regional seats via the D’Hondt method (total region points divided by one plus number of constituencies won in the region).

With all this in mind, some very small tweaks with tactical voting could make an impact if you want to support candidates who support the Senedd and stop devo-sceptic and pro-abolish candidates from winning seats.

 

Mid and West Wales

This is perhaps the most interesting region. The current projection is that Plaid Cymru’s Helen Mary Jones will take the marginal seat of Llanelli from Labour’s Lee Waters. This gives Plaid four constituencies with the Conservatives holding three and the Liberal Democrats one. In this eventuality, Labour’s Eluned Morgan and Joyce Watson are shoe-ins to retain their list seats, with the third seat going comfortably to Abolish.

This leaves seat four in a very close four-way battle; the Conservatives are currently projected to win but just a 1% increase for the Greens would see Emily Durrant become their first-ever MS. Labour would require 2.3% and Plaid a less likely 5.1%.

Tactical vote – Green.

South Wales East

Labour are projected to hold seven constituencies with the Conservatives holding on to Monmouthshire. This leaves Plaid all but guaranteed two of the list seats, which will see Delyth Jewell returned, with Peredur Owen Griffiths also entering the Senedd.

The Conservatives’ Laura Anne Jones is also projected to comfortably hold her seat with Natasha Asghar currently projected to pip Abolish to the fourth seat by a very tight margin.

But the 3.31% increase would see the Greens’ Amelia Womack bypass both the Tories and Abolish to take seat number four. The message is clear to Labour voters – your list vote in South East Wales is wasted, but lending the Greens your vote will keep out Abolish or prevent the Tories picking up a second list seat. You could boot Mark Reckless out of the Senedd!

Tactical vote – Green.

South Wales Central

The Barometer projects the Conservatives will take the Vale of Glamorgan, which would see them return one constituency, with Labour to hold their remaining six and Leanne Wood holding the Rhondda.

The Conservatives are still on course to retain their two list seats, which would see Andrew RT Davies returned and abolitionist Joel James enter the Senedd.

Plaid are projected to take the remaining two seats which would see Rhys ab Owen and Heledd Fychan take their places in the Senedd.

Abolish are the main threat for seat four. Again, a Labour list vote is a wasted vote here – if you lend your vote to Plaid you’ll evict Gareth Bennett from the Senedd.

Tactical vote – Plaid Cymru.

South Wales West

Labour dominance looks set to continue with the party projected to hold all seven constituencies. As in South Wales East this means a Labour list vote is a wasted vote.

As it stands the Conservatives’ Tom Gifford and Altaf Hussein look set to benefit from the recent Tory purge which cost Suzy Davies her list seat.

Plaid look guaranteed to take the other two seats, with Sioned Williams and Luke Fletcher entering the Senedd.

The Tories, however, could threaten the second Plaid seat, but if some Labour voters lent Plaid their vote they would guarantee the Tories didn’t take three of the four seats.

Tactical vote – Plaid Cymru.

North Wales

The Conservatives are projected to take the Vale of Clwyd from Labour, which will see the Tories return three seats with Labour holding their other four and Plaid holding their two. The list battle is perhaps less intriguing here than elsewhere. Plaid are guaranteed at least 1 seat which will see Llyr Gruffydd returned, with Abolish comfortably taking a seat and Mark Isherwood holding his seat for the Conservatives. Plaid’s Carrie Harper is projected to take seat 4 with only the Conservatives standing a realistic chance of pipping her to the post. As in South Wales a Labour list vote here could enable the Tories winning another seat.

Tactical vote – Plaid Cymru.

With only three constituencies projected to change hands the regional lists will be where you can have the biggest impact. I urge all indy leaning Labour voters not to waste their list vote – lend your vote and ensure the abolitionists have less of a voice, it is in your hands.

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