View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Wales
1 March 2021

How will the Welsh Labour Party perform in the Senedd election?

Two polls tell two different stories about how Mark Drakeford and his party will do in the Welsh parliament election in May – but they’re not as different as you’d think. 

By Stephen Bush

Happy St David’s Day, Mark! ICM Unlimited’s annual St David’s Day poll for BBC Wales shows Mark Drakeford’s Welsh Labour Party on course to equal its best ever performance in the Senedd (Welsh parliament), with 30 seats: enough to continue to govern in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, albeit without the experienced presence of Kirsty Williams at the helm. 

Unhappy St David’s Day, Mark! YouGov’s annual St David’s Day poll for Wales Online shows the Welsh Labour Party on course to slump to its worst ever performance in the Senedd with just 24 seats: still comfortably the largest party, but no longer the indispensable partner in any coalition government. If he so chose, Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price could on these numbers support a Welsh Conservative First Minister – and he would in any case be a much more influential figure in a coalition government as a result of his party’s greater flexibility. 

Which is right? Well, you pays your money and you takes your choice. In some ways, the two polls are more alike than they look: a significant minority favour Welsh independence, a significant minority favour abolishing devolution altogether, and Welsh politics remains a three-cornered fight between Labour, the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru. 

One thing we can say with confidence right now is that across the democratic world voters are inclined to give their incumbents the benefit of the doubt – whether you are Mark Rutte in the Netherlands, Angela Merkel in Germany, Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Greece, Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand or Boris Johnson in the UK, regardless of how effective your coronavirus performance is or isn’t, it is likely you’re doing better in the polls than you were before the outbreak.

What’s less clear is who Welsh voters regard as the incumbent. Is it primarily the Welsh Labour government in Cardiff or the Conservative one in London? It seems likely that the vaccine bounce has a little while left to run and will still be going at full pelt during the local and devolved elections in May. We can have a pretty good grasp about what that means for the local elections in England. What is less clear is whether the beneficiary of that bounce in the devolved elections will be the Conservatives – or their opponents. 

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
Labour's health reforms can put patients first
Data science can help developers design future-proof infrastructure
How to tackle the UK's plastic pollution problem – with Coca-Cola

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU