Latest poll puts support for Welsh independence at 24%

Published: 25th Nov 2019

In brief

Claim

Support for Welsh independence is up to 30%.

Conclusion

A recent poll put support for Welsh independence at 24%.

 

Support for Welsh independence was never more than 10%.

 

A recent poll put support for Welsh independence at 24%.

Claim 1 of 2

On the Andrew Marr Show, Adam Price, the leader of the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru, disagreed with Mr Marr on the level of support for Welsh independence.

While Mr Marr said that support for independence has never been more than 10% over the last decade, Mr Price said it was now “up to 30% in many opinion polls”.

Mr Marr understates support for Welsh independence and Mr Price overstates it, based on the most recent polling where people were asked simply if they supported Welsh independence or not. 

We’ve only found one poll where around 30% of people appeared to support independence, which was conducted by YouGov for Plaid Cymru in September. 

The problem is that the question asked was whether Wales should become independent, if it meant Wales alone could remain a member of the EU. 33% said ‘yes’, but support for Welsh independence was mixed in with the support for remaining in the EU.

When YouGov asked respondents “Should Wales be an independent country?” if a rederendum were held tomorrow, 24% of people said yes. 52% said no, and the remaining 23% selected either “don’t know”, “would not vote” or refused to answer.

Even this may inflate support because the question suffers from acquiescence bias (the bias that if you ask someone whether they agree with something, they have a natural tendency to agree.)

That’s why the question put to voters in 2016 was not “Should the UK remain a member of the European Union?” but “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

So it doesn’t appear that support for independence is at 30%. But it seems likely from this poll that support for independence is above 10%. 

Another poll earlier this year from ICM for BBC Wales found support at just 7%, but this is because people were asked their preference out of a range of options, which included further powers for the Welsh Assembly. So this result can’t be used to estimate what the result of a Welsh independence referendum, where the options would most likely be either independence or remaining in the UK.

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