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Polls apart?

Betsan Powys | 12:41 UK time, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Thanks for the comments after yesterday's first effort. Just to remind you, this is Adrian Masters moonlighting from Dragon's Eye and masquerading as Betsan. Only in a cyber-sense of course.

If you like what you read, remember that I wrote it. If you don't ... it wasn't me guv - look, it's Betsan's name at the top of the post.

Talking of guvs - or Govs - the YouGov poll has provided a great deal of excitement in Welsh political circles. As one colleague of mine said, it's like Christmas time for anoraks.

There's plenty of detailed analysis elsewhere so I'll just concentrate on one aspect - what it tells us about the trio trying to take over Welsh Labour and particularly the attitudes of voters towards them as First Minister.

The poll shows that 32% of voters generally think Carwyn Jones would do fairly or very well as First Minister, compared to 22% who think that of Huw Lewis and 27% for Edwina Hart.

Labour voters spread their support more evenly: 45% said Mr Jones would do fairly or very well. Mr Lewis and Ms Hart each scored 41%.

But 26% per cent of Labour voters said Edwina Hart would do very badly or fairly badly compared to 12% who thought the same of Carwyn Jones and 14% who thought the same of Huw Lewis.

So how are the three responding to this first big survey of how they appeal or not to voters?

At the risk of sounding as if speaking to the spokeys is what I do all day and everyday, here, as a public service, is what they've told me today:

A spokesperson for Carwyn Jones said, "The real votes that count in this election are those of party members and those in the affiliated organisations in which the ballot has not yet started. What this poll does, however, is to confirm our view that Labour needs a leader for the whole of Wales."

A spokesperson for Huw Lewis said: "These figures really chime with our own analysis and it shows that everything is still to play for. Our figures have consistently shown that we are ahead with the membership and the broader Labour family; our extensive phone contact has shown us that, and these figures would seem to underscore where our strengths are.

People respond positively to Huw, in North Wales, in West Wales - right across the country there is a genuine and growing connection with his message. Whilst other candidates currently have slightly better recognition, that is not translated into popularity.

People who meet Huw and hear him speak respond well to him, that is why it has always been our objective for Huw to speak to as many members as possible - he really is the campaign's greatest asset."

Edwina Hart said: "This straw poll shows quite clearly that people know me and know what I stand for. As a minister you have to take tough decisions which not everyone may agree with - but I stand by those decisions because I believe they are in the best interests of the people of Wales.

I'm very heartened to find as I meet Labour people face to face during this campaign that I am building up a great level of support."

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