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Why a tactical vote for Plaid Cymru is the best bet if you want to beat the Brexit Party

19 May 2019 4 minute read
Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price. Photo Nation.Cymru

Ifan Morgan Jones

Who should you vote for in you want to oppose the Brexit Party in Wales?

The answer, mathematically, is Plaid Cymru. And I’ll explain why now.

The first thing to remember however is that Wales is one constituency in the EU elections. So it doesn’t matter if a party isn’t strong in your part of Wales – it’s the national vote that counts.

And under the EU proportional representation system, the entirety of Wales elects four MEPs.

Yesterday’s YouGov poll for the EU Elections in Wales projects that as things stand now, the Brexit Party is on course for two of these four MEPs, with 35% of the vote.

This poll also projects Plaid Cymru climbing to 19%. The other Remain parties, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and Change UK, lag behind at 9%, 7% and 3%.

I should note that for the purposes of this exercise I’m not counting Labour, who are on 15%, as a Remain party. Their MEP candidates in Wales say they are Remain, but the party leadership say they aren’t.

Let’s just leave them to deal with that internal feud and move on.

This is what YouGov thinks will happen

I’ve crunched the numbers and it seems essentially impossible to deny the Brexit Party two seats in Wales if they get 35% of the vote.

However, as I will explain below, it is very possible to match them, with two seats for Remain.

First, however, let’s deal with one scenario that won’t work.

Interestingly, the Liberal Democrats have been asking voters in Wales to back them to take the fourth seat off the Brexit party.

They argue that if every voter from the Greens and Change UK backed them, they would take the fourth seat out of Nigel Farage’s hands.

However, even if every one of those voters did switch en masse to the Lib Dems (spoiler – they won’t) there’s almost no basis for this claim.

The Plaid Cymru, Labour and Lib Dem vote would have to align almost perfectly on 18-19% for that to happen.

Even then, that outcome would essentially require no-one to vote Green or Change UK and for their vote to split evenly between Labour and the Lib Dems, and for no one now dedicated to vote Plaid Cymru to switch their vote.

This exact outcome (displayed below) is a mathematical and political fluke as unlikely as winning the lottery and therefore, unless you’re in the habit of winning lotteries, not really worth bothering with.

Sorry Lib Dems – this isn’t going to happen

More realistic and straightforward therefore would be for one Remain party to match the Brexit Party in seats and come close or beat them in the vote.

That’s relatively straightforward – Plaid Cymru need around 2-3% each of the total vote worth of Labour, Lib Dem, Change UK and Green Remain voters to switch to them.

They would then get two seats, matching the Brexit Party’s two seats.

That would put Labour on 13%, the Lib Dems on 7%, the Greens on 5% and Change UK on 2%.

A small change for them, but it would put Plaid Cymru on 27% and give Remain two seats to the Brexit Party’s two seats.

This would put the Remain parties on two seats

Et voila! Remain get two seats to the Brexit Party’s two.

And if Labour and other Remain parties give up another 2% of the vote between them, Plaid Cymru get more votes than the Brexit Party.

So, there you have it – if you want to give Remain at least parity in Wales in terms of seats, therefore, and don’t feel lucky enough to win a mathematical lottery, the smart thing to do this Thursday would be to vote Plaid Cymru.

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