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The appliance of science

Betsan Powys | 12:39 UK time, Thursday, 19 November 2009

A voting intention poll commissioned by the BBC? In your dreams and let's face it, in mine. Still, at least someone's been canvassing the opinion of the great Welsh voting public. Problem is they've been coming back with different answers.

A few weeks ago a YouGov poll asked this question and got these answers:

If there were to be a referendum tomorrow on giving the National Assembly for Wales full law-making powers how would you vote?

42% would vote Yes
37% would vote No
6% wouldn't vote
15% don't know

A 5% margin in favour of yes over no. I've heard a reliable whisper that they'd had a dry run on this poll as the new polling company on the Welsh block and in that one too, the margin was exactly the same: 5%.

The Convention's own opinion poll made public yesterday asked this question and got these answers:

If there were to be a referendum tomorrow on giving the National Assembly for Wales full law-making powers in these areas, how would you vote?

47% were in favour
37% against
13% didn't know
3% either wouldn't vote or offer an answer.

A margin of 10%: the kind of result that makes politicians sweat because it neither tells them what they want to hear, nor what they don't want to hear. What it tells them is that the decision is theirs.

Then last night ITV Wales revealed the results of their YouGov poll. They asked:

If there were to be a referendum tomorrow on giving the National Assembly for Wales increased law-making powers, how would you vote? Note 'increased' not 'full'.

51% said they would vote yes
30% would vote no
6% wouldn't vote
14% didn't know

A 21% margin in favour of a yes vote? Confused? Does the distinction between 'increased' (a bit more) and 'full' (mmm, sounds a bit like independece) explain such a vast difference?

I don't know enough about variations in methodology to draw any conclusions from such a variation in results. Perhaps you do.

My own caught-in-the-lift poll tells me that head of the Wales Governance Unit, Richard Wyn Jones, doesn't think there'll be a referendum on or before 2011. The look on Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas' face says that he does. That makes Prof, no, PO, yes. Oh and the man who got off on the third floor (heading towards the Tory offices) was adamant the Prof was wrong. There will be a referendum, next Autumn. He winked.

Ah the applicance of science ...

While I'm at it, the results of another poll - a survey of AMs that's done regularly by Ipsos MORI.

One result will probably be framed by the Hartan Army by the end of the day and will be pinned to the dart-boards of every Carwynista and Lewisista in town.

30 AMs from all four parties were asked who is the most impressive Assembly Member of any party at the moment?

Edwina Hart got 25% of the vote.
Rhodri Morgan got 22%.

Message? Edwina Hart has fans across the political divide.

Coming closest to those two? Plaid's Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones with 12%.

Both Carwyn Jones and Huw Lewis got 5% - more than Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones, and Conservative leader Nick Bourne who were both on 4%. There were no votes for the Liberal Democrat leader.

Five Lib Dem AMs were questioned: five out of six.

I think we can work out which one wasn't.

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