By Dave Taylor
The BBC has celebrated St David’s day by publishing a poll on Welsh views on the constitution. However the corporation paid ICM to ask the constitutional question in a strange way.
They offered these options as answers to “Which one of these statements comes closest to your view?
- Wales should become an independent country, separate from the UK. (7%)
- The Welsh Assembly should have more powers than it currently has. (36%)
- The powers it currently has are sufficient and it should remain as it is now. (29%)
- The Welsh Assembly should have fewer powers than it currently has. (2%)
- Wales should remain part of the UK and the Assembly should be abolished. (22%)
Technically this isn’t “push polling”, but good polls don’t load the responses in a way which will push respondents in a particular way.
The inclusion of “Wales should remain part of the UK” in only the final option, when it would have been equally appropriate in responses 2-4, seems peculiar to say the least.
Despite that, the poll shows a significant demand in Wales for devolution to be extended and more powers to be returned to the nation. Strangely, while only 43% wanted all or more powers for the Senedd, 64% wanted all or most taxation in Wales to be raised by it.
Doubtless the 22% who want Wales returned to direct rule from Westminster will include the 18% who think that the changes being proposed for NHS England should be imposed in Wales as well (77% reject that idea). And will make up most of the 28% who think education in Wales has got worse over the last 5 years.
Plaid AM Llyr Huws Gruffydd said: “The people of Wales are increasingly putting their trust in the assembly and devolution and they want to see more decisions made in Wales.”