The Teaching Vote

28 Sep

I posted a couple of weeks ago about YouGov findings which showed the nature of morale amongst teachers in Wales.  Today I am looking at voting intentions.

Opinion polling in Wales occurs very infrequently*, which makes data on how a group may vote in the lead up to the Assembly election even more interesting, even if the reputation of opinion polling in general is a tad bit tainted following the failure to predict the Westminster result in May.

This poll isn’t the standard 1,000 person sample you would get with a traditional voting intentions poll.  However, at 452 I think it is a fair number in terms of having a general picture of how teachers in Wales are thinking about their vote politically as we close in on the 2016 Assembly election given the reduced target audience.  As always all polls should be seen as a snapshot not a prediction.  The break down is as follows:

“If there were a National Assembly for Wales election tomorrow, which party would you vote for in your constituency? (exc would not vote or don’t know)”

Labour – 41.1%

Plaid Cymru – 27.1%

Conservative – 13.4%

Liberal Democrat – 8.1%

Green Party – 5.8%

UKIP – 2.8%

Other – 1.4%

Labour noticeably lead the way with Plaid Cymru in a relatively credible second place.  The other parties are some way back.  If you compare this to the Westminster election poll in Wales you can see there is a definitive shift between the general political viewpoint and that of the teaching profession.

Labour – 36.9% (Teachers vote is +4.2%)

Plaid Cymru –  12.1% (+15%)

Conservative – 27.2% (-13.8%)

Liberal Democrat – 6.5% (+1.6%)

Green Party – 2.6% (+3.2%)

UKIP – 13.6 % (-10.8%)

The big losers are the Conservative and UKIP while there is significant increase for Plaid Cymru.

A fairer comparison however would perhaps be with the most recent Assembly voting intentions opinion poll which I have taken from the ITV Wales and the Welsh Governance Centre published today on constituency level.  The NUT Cymru YouGov survey didn’t distinguish between constituency or regional voting intentions so this is not a like for like comparison.

Labour: 39% (Teachers vote is +2.1%)

Conservatives: 23% (-9.6%)

Plaid Cymru: 18% (+9.1)

UKIP: 13% (-10.2)

Liberal Democrats: 6% (+2.1)

Greens: 2% (+3.8)

Again Plaid Cymru appear to be the biggest winner, albeit at a reduced factor.  Equally the Conservatives and UKIP are the biggest losers but at a slightly reduced rate.

It is worth noting that this YouGov poll was conducted quite soon after the May election and so many people will still have been potentially providing opinion with that election narrative in mind, even though it is clearly identified as an Assembly election preference in the questioning.  If individuals were responding with a Westminster hang-up that may account for the low polling of the Conservatives given the teacher’s pensions and pay cuts these parties oversaw during the last parliament.

That said you could equally make the case that the relatively high result for Plaid Cymru could be an indicator of a preference recorded as a result of thinking about a ‘Welsh’ specific election.  However, the fact the results here are higher for Plaid Cymru than in polling for the National Assembly election previously seem to indicate this is perhaps a teacher specific view.

Labour, I imagine, will be happy with these figures.  Having held the education brief during the entirety of devolution they will be happy to be leading support amongst the teaching profession.  No figures are available to compare with past years but it would have been interesting to know if the more cooperative approach of Huw Lewis AM as Minister may account for this level of support.

What will be interesting is to see what impact the election campaign has on these views.  Education was pretty much non-existent as a media debate during the Westminster election in either a Welsh or UK context.  Clearly in Welsh terms it will have a far more prominent role to play as the record of the Welsh Government is put under greater scrutiny.  It is particularly hard to imagine Tory Party HQ will not focus on it, especially given the anti-acadamies stance of Jeremy Corbyn aligns UK Labour much more with Welsh Labour than was the case under previous leadership.

You can read further on this poll, including the issues teachers believe will shape how they vote, in the Western Mail.

*I would urge anyone with an interest in Welsh opinion polls to check out the excellent polling blog run by Professor Roger Scully.



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