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Carwyn gets public's vote in popularity poll.

Byline: David Deans Senedd Correspondent

CARWYN JONES remains Wales' most popular political leader, an opinion poll has shown.

The First Minister was rated five out of 10 by voters, a rise of 0.4 from last year and significantly above UK Labour leader Ed Miliband's rating of 4. Leanne Wood, of Plaid Cymru, and Kirsty Williams, of the Liberal Democrats, were level pegging at 4.4, seeing rises of 0.4 and 0.5 respectfully. Andrew RT Davies had the lowest rating of any Assembly party leader at 3.4, a rise of 0.2. However Welsh party leaders appear to continue to be less visible to the Welsh electorate than their UK counterparts, including Ukip's Nigel Farage, with 23% of people not knowing what to say about Mr Jones.

The data, from the Wales Governance Centre/ITV poll for March, was revealed at an event at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay.

Professor Roger Scully said Labour should use Carwyn Jones more prominently.

"I don't quite understand why the Labour Party in Wales doesn't use Carwyn Jones more in elections. If I was in the Labour Party I would try to make sure he was front and centre in election campaigns".

A Welsh Labour spokesman said: "Today's polling re-affirms that Carwyn Jones is the most popular leader in Wales, and he's also by far the most visible of the Welsh leaders.

"That visibility owes in no short measure to his prominent, and successful, leadership role in every significant Welsh Labour election campaign since 2010.

There will be no change to that in the upcoming general and Assembly elections, when Carwyn will be leading the fight against the Tories."

People were asked to evaluate leaders on a 0-10 scale.

In Wales Ed Miliband was the highest-rating UK party leader at 4, up 0.3 from June. Nigel Farage and David Cameron were level pegging at 3.4, with Cameron's rating unchanged and Farage's falling by 0.1. Nick Clegg earned the lowest score at 3.1.

The approval figures were balanced by the fact that 23% of people answered "don't know" to the question of whether they approved of Carwyn Jones.

He was the best performing Welsh leader on that score, though, with Andrew RT Davies rating at 50%, and Kirsty Williams at 43% and Leanne Wood at 39%.

Some 73% of those polled didn't know what to say about Wales Green Party leader Pippa Bartolotti, while her UK counterpart Natalie Bennett stumped 54% of those who took part.

Cameron, Miliband, Clegg and Farage all registered "don't know" ratings of less than 10% of those who answered.

The event was told that analysis of recent Welsh national and Lord Ashcroft constituency polls suggested that Plaid targets Ynys Mon and Llanelli may be held by Labour, and that Cardiff Central and Cardiff North could also be gained by the party.

The Conservatives could hold Aberconwy, Montgomery, Preseli Pembrokeshire, Vale of Glamorgan and Carmarthenshire West and South Pembs, while it was thought that the Liberal Democrats could hold Ceredigion, and Brecon & Radnorshire.

Later the professor suggested it would be tricky for the Tories to form a government post-May 7.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 24, 2015
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