Wales politics

Theresa May's 'honeymoon period' boosts Tory polling

Theresa May meets Carwyn Jones in Cardiff Bay
Image caption Theresa May meeting Labour First Minister Carwyn Jones in July

Support for the Conservatives in Wales is at its highest level for six years, a poll has suggested.

It suggests general election support of 29% (up 6 from July), with Labour on 35% (+1), Plaid Cymru 13% (-3), UKIP 14% (-2) and the Lib Dems 7% (-1).

The YouGov poll for ITV Cymru Wales and Cardiff University is the first Welsh poll since Theresa May became PM.

Analyst Prof Roger Scully said the result reflected her "honeymoon period" as a new party leader.

Projecting the findings uniformly across the current Westminster constituency boundaries, Prof Scully, from Cardiff University's Wales Governance Centre, said the only change would be for Labour to lose Ynys Mon to Plaid Cymru.

This would give Labour 24 out of the 40 Welsh seats, the Conservatives 11, Plaid Cymru four and the Liberal Democrats one.

But a new Parliamentary map proposed by the Boundary Commission would cut the number of Welsh MPs by more than a quarter to 29.

In a general election fought under those arrangements, Prof Scully's seat projections would see Labour only narrowly winning the majority of Welsh seats.

He said Labour would emerge with 15 MPs, the Conservatives 10, Plaid Cymru three and the Liberal Democrats one, based on the poll.

The opinion poll's findings for assembly election voting follow a similar pattern.

Image caption Roger Scully says the poll suggests the 'May bounce' may be a little more enduring than Jeremy Corbyn's was

Prof Scully's projections indicate Labour losing three seats, giving it 26 AMs, and the Conservatives gaining three to again become the biggest opposition party in Cardiff Bay, with a 14-strong group.

The projections give the other parties the same number of AMs as they achieved in May's assembly election - Plaid 12, UKIP seven and the Liberal Democrats one.

Prof Scully said the "significant lift" in Tory fortunes suggested by the poll "confirms that the broad picture indicated in recent Britain-wide polls applies in full to Wales as well".

"It is not at all unusual for new prime ministers, or leaders of major parties to enjoy something of a honeymoon period," he said.

"In our September Welsh Political Barometer Poll last year, the recent leadership victory of Jeremy Corbyn appeared to give his party an immediate boost in the polls.

"The 'Corbyn Bounce' was very short-lived: by the time of the next poll, in December, it had already disappeared."

The poll, for ITV Cymru Wales and Cardiff University's Wales Governance Centre, had a sample of 1,001 adults and was carried out online by YouGov from 18-21 September 2016.

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