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Welsh Election Study team gears up for 2021 Senedd race

11 February 2021

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Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre has been awarded funding by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council to conduct a major study of the Welsh devolved election due to be held in May.

The Welsh Election Study 2021 (WES2021) will conduct surveys of over 4000 Welsh citizens before and after the Senedd elections, in addition to a rolling campaign survey that will focus specifically on the dynamics of the campaign itself. For the first time it will also include a booster sample of 16 and 17 year olds, who are eligible to vote for the first time in 2021.

Professor Richard Wyn Jones will lead the team as Principal Investigator and will be joined by Dr Jac Larner, Dr Ed Gareth Poole and Professor Daniel Wincott from Cardiff University, as well as Paula Surridge from the University of Bristol, as Co-Investigators. The team will work in close collaboration with colleagues investigating the Scottish devolved election due to be held at the same time.

The study will be used to analyse the identities and values of voters, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and attitudes to tax devolution (among other topics). Taken together, the study will mark the most detailed academic analysis of a Welsh election to date.

Commenting, Centre Director and Principal Investigator of WES2021, Professor Richard Wyn Jones said:

“All of us at Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre are delighted to have received the ESRC’s support in order to conduct this of study the 2021 election, not least because this promises to be the most significant devolved election to date.

“Taking place, as it will, against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic – a crisis that has given new prominence to devolution – it’s an election that will almost certainly focus on different issues. Not only that, but because of the extension of the franchise to 16 and 17 year old voters, it’s also an election in which the composition of the electorate itself will be different.

“As a research team we’ve got ambitious plans for academic publications as well as sharing our research findings with the wider public. Anyone who’s interested in Welsh Politics will be hearing a lot more from us in future!”

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