More than three times as many Welsh voters want to retain the Senedd than see it abolished, according to a poll carried out for the Western Mail.
The poll found that 61% believed the Welsh Parliament should stay in existence while 20% said it should be scrapped. The remaining 19% said they didn’t know.
We commissioned the poll from Beaufort Research after a number of voting intention polls from other companies suggested the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party was likely to win a number of regional seats in the Senedd election to be held on May 6.
The Beaufort poll found that voters of all age groups, regions and social grades favoured the Senedd continuing in existence, as well as among people of both genders and Welsh and non-Welsh speakers.
There were, however, variations in the percentages of support for the Senedd.
Those most likely to want to see it retained were Welsh speakers, those aged between 25 and 44 and those living in Mid and West Wales.
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In contrast, those most likely to want it abolished were the over 55s and those living in Cardiff and South East Wales.
The age group with the highest level of support for keeping the Senedd was those aged between 35 and 44, where 70% wanted the Senedd to stay in existence and 12% wanted it abolished.
Among 16-24 year-olds, 50% wanted to keep the Senedd and 18% abolished. This age group had the highest proportion of don’t knows, at 33%..
Among those aged 25-34, 69% backed keeping the Senedd and 13% wanted it abolished.
Those aged 45-54 broke 60%-19% in favour of retaining the Senedd.
Among those aged 55 to 64, 61% wanted to keep the Senedd with 24% seeing it scrapped.
Those aged 65 and older split 58% for retention against 31% for abolition.
In all cases the remainder were don’t knows.
The region with the highest level of support for the Senedd’s continued existence was Mid and West Wales, where 71% wanted the Senedd to be retained against 17% abolished.
Other regions broke as follows: North Wales 60% retain, 25% abolish; West South Wales 60% retain, 19% abolish; The Valleys 61% retain, 22% abolish; Cardiff and South East Wales 57% retain, 25% abolish.
Alun Davies, who is campaigning to retain Blaenau Gwent for Welsh Labour against a vocal challenge from the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, said: “These poll findings confirm that the settled will of the people of Wales is for self-government within the UK where we take decisions for ourselves and, when appropriate, in cooperation with the other UK nations.
“If the abolitionists had their way, Wales would be removed from the political map and would have policy in all areas decided for it in London.
“That many suit the self-serving Tories, but it certainly wouldn’t be in the interests of the people of Wales.
“So far as I am concerned, the Abolish crowd are a bunch of chancers whose primary interest is in getting seats for themselves in a democratic body they despise.”
A spokesman for the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party said: “We would settle for 20% of the vote in next month’s election.
“We see our role as explaining to the people of Wales how the Assembly / Senedd is wasting their money, and over time converting them to our cause.”
While 61% of men wanted the Senedd retained, 23% wanted to see it abolished. Women split 62% to 16% in favour of retention.
In terms of social grade, the more prosperous ABC1s supported retention by 60% to 23%, while the less prosperous C2DEs backed the Senedd’s continued existence by 62% to 16%.
Some 74% of fluent Welsh speakers wanted the Senedd to be kept, 12% wanted it scrapped.
Among those who don’t speak Welsh, the split was 59% ro 21%.
* Fieldwork was carried out by Beaufort Research between March 2 and March 9. A total of 1,000 interviews were completed and analysed. The sample was designed to be representative of the adult population of Wales aged 16 and over.