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The 650 | 22nd May 2017

Why is Labour surging in Wales?

A new poll suggests Labour will not be going gently into that good night, says Cardiff University’s Roger Scully. 

Well where did that come from? The first two Welsh opinion polls of the general election campaign had given the Conservatives all-time high levels of support, and suggested that they were on course for an historic breakthrough in Wales. For Labour, in its strongest of all heartlands where it has won every general election from 1922 onwards, this year had looked like a desperate rear-guard action to defend as much of what they held as possible.

But today’s new Welsh Political Barometer poll has shaken things up a bit. It shows Labour support up nine percentage points in a fortnight, to 44 per cent. The Conservatives are down seven points, to 34 per cent. Having been apparently on course for major losses, the new poll suggests that Labour may even be able to make ground in Wales: on a uniform swing these figures would project Labour to regain the Gower seat they narrowly lost two years ago.

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The 650 | 22nd May 2017

Anatomy of a collapse: What explains the decline of the Lib Dems and Ukip?

New analysis by Populus reveals the Lib Dems are struggling to win back young voters and Tory Remainers– while Ukip’s support is plummeting across the board.

This, supposedly, is a Brexit election. Theresa May says she needs a larger majority to strengthen her negotiating position. Ipsos MORI’s respected long-running issues tracker shows voters think Brexit is the most important issue facing the country, alongside the NHS. Yet the two parties with the strongest positions on Brexit – the Liberal Democrats and UKIP – are faring poorly. Why?

The latest June2017 poll of polls puts the Liberal Democrats on 8%, barely changed from their 2015 collapse. Ukip linger at around 5%, a significant decline since the last general election. Local elections are imperfect guides to general elections, but the lacklustre Lib Dem performance and Ukip’s solitary win earlier this month are broadly in line with the polling.

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The 650 | 18th May 2017

The manifestos are out – but don’t expect broadcasters to talk policy

Cardiff University research shows while coverage of parties and leaders is balanced, policy information is limited

After two weeks of election campaigning, which issues have dominated election coverage? Our research finds BBC and ITV evening bulletins have become more focussed on campaign process compared to coverage of the 2015 election, with policy issues pushed down the agenda.

Whereas 64.8 per cent of BBC news items were about policy at this stage of the 2015 campaign, this has fallen by over 10 per cent to 54 per cent in this campaign. Likewise, ITV reported more substantive issues in the opening part of the last campaign, but its coverage has dropped to 48.5% in 2017.

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The 650 | 16th May 2017

Anatomy of a landslide: Where the Tories are gaining and Labour losing

New analysis by Populus reveals the Tories are making real progress in Labour’s heartlands and cannibalising Ukip’s support – while the opposition’s support is concentrated among those less likely to turn out.

Ever since Theresa May called the election, all opinion pollsters have agreed the Conservatives have a clear lead over Labour. While the exact size of the advantage varies – from merely ‘comfortable’ to ‘landslide that redefines British politics’ – all show the Tories on track for a larger majority.

Even in a landslide, however, support is not consistent. All parties attract more support from some groups in society than others. We’ve revisited an approach we used for this website’s predecessor May 2015 to show the relative appeal of the Conservatives and Labour amongst different demographic groups.

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