Wales politics

Attitudes to Brexit and economy quizzed in poll for BBC Wales

UK and EU Flags outside parliament Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March

More than half of Welsh voters now think Brexit will have a negative impact on the economy, the annual St David's Day poll for BBC Wales suggests.

Of 1,001 adults polled, 56% thought it would have a negative impact on the Welsh economy - more than last year.

Meanwhile 51% thought it would impact negatively on the general way of life in Wales, also up on 2018.

ICM Unlimited carried out the research for BBC Wales.

The poll also suggested Labour would attract fewer voters for a Westminster election than it would have in February 2018, down 7% to 42%.

Perceived impact of Brexit to the Welsh economy

Source: St David's Day Poll 2019

When questioned about the impact of Brexit on the Welsh economy, while 56% thought it would have a negative impact, 20% said it would be positive.

When asked the same question in the 2018 poll, 49% of those questioned felt it would have a negative impact, while 24% said it would be positive.

On what impact Brexit would have on the way in life in general in Wales, 51% thought it would be negative with 19% saying it would be positive.

In 2018, 46% thought it would be negative with 23% thinking it would be positive.

On personal finances, 10% thought Brexit would be positive, 39% negative and 42% thought it would make no difference at all.

Last year, 14% thought Brexit would be positive, 36% negative and 41% thought it would make no difference at all.

The poll shows how the public mood has become more negative about Brexit, according to Prof Roger Awan-Scully, from the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University.

"Fewer people now expect it to lead to positive consequences, and more think that its impact will be harmful - to them and to Wales as a whole," he said.

Wales' Westminster voting intentions

Source: St David's Day Poll 2019

On voting in a Westminster election, while Labour continues to be the largest party in terms of overall vote share, the proportion who say they would vote Labour at a general election has fallen from 49% in February 2018 to 42% this year.

There are small gains for the Conservatives (33% - up 1% from 2018), Plaid Cymru (13% - up 2%), the Liberal Democrats (6% - up 1%), and UKIP (3% - up 1%).

Prof Awan-Scully predicted that, using the assumption of uniform national swings since 2017, this would mean the Conservatives would gain Wrexham and the Vale of Clwyd from Labour.

The overall projection would give Labour 26 MPs, Conservatives 10 MPs and Plaid Cymru four MPs.

The poll provides further evidence of a decline in Labour support across Britain, Prof Awan-Scully said.

"But with the Conservative Party struggling to deal with Brexit the Tories are not in a great position to take advantage of Labour's difficulties.

"Nor have any other parties convinced large portions of the Welsh electorate that, in a UK general election at least, they are a credible and attractive option," he said.

In a National Assembly election, the poll suggests Labour would win 25 seats (22 in constituencies and three through the regional list system), Plaid Cymru 19 seats (11 constituency, eight regional), Conservative 14 seats (six constituency, eight regional), UKIP one regional seat and the Liberal Democrats one constituency seat.

Welsh Assembly - Constituency ballot voting intentions

Source: St David's Day Poll 2019

For the constituency ballot, Labour vote share declined from 40% last year to 34% this year.

While all other parties benefit at Labour's expense, the largest improvement is seen for Plaid Cymru, rising from 24% in 2018 to 27% this year.

The Conservatives (23%), the Liberal Democrats (7%), and the Green Party (2%) all see modest gains from this time last year, all rising by 1%. UKIP are on 5% - the same as in February 2018.

At an assembly election, voters also pick regional AMs through a party list system.

Welsh Assembly - Regional ballot voting intentions

Source: St David's Day Poll 2019

In the regional ballot, Labour's vote share falls from 36% to 32% compared with last year, with Plaid Cymru again seeing the largest uplift, up 3% to 25%.

The Conservatives are on 22% and the Liberal Democrats are on 6%.

The assembly poll is encouraging for Plaid Cymru, Prof Awan-Scully said.

"They are in a clear second place for the assembly - indeed this poll gives them their highest rating on the constituency ballot in any poll for almost 16 years," he added.

Image caption Some 46% of people responding to the poll said they wanted a National Assembly with greater powers

Asked to choose their preferred option for the future of devolution, 46% said they wanted a National Assembly with greater powers - a 2% increase from last year.

This option has been the most popular in every poll for BBC Wales since it was first asked in this format in 2010.

The poll suggested 27% would prefer the status quo, down 1% from last year, with 3% wanting an assembly with fewer powers.

Meanwhile 13% wanted the assembly to be abolished - that is 1% up from last year although that figure has remained stable since the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014, having previously been as high as 23% in March 2014.

Only 7% back the idea of Welsh independence, the same as last year - support has been less than 10% since 2011.

ICM Unlimited interviewed a representative sample of 1,001 adults aged 18+ by telephone on 7-23 February 2019. Interviews were conducted across Wales and the results have been weighted to the profile of all Welsh adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

The Changing Face of Wales season runs across BBC Wales television, radio and online in March - looking at what it means to live in Wales and to be Welsh at a time of unprecedented change.

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