The Institute of Welsh Affairs poll on attitudes to Devolution gives lots of food for thought.
One of the most interesting things about it is that it isn't a Welsh opinion poll of the usual (crap) type that we know and love in Wales. The institute has been tracking Welsh opinion on a regular basis since 1997. Even if the IWA poll has the same huge margin of error that other Welsh polls have shown, the trends that it measures should still be reliable.
Only the 1997 and 2007 results were released in the press, the intervening results were made known on the Datganoli programme on S4C this evening. I didn't make a note of them so I hope that they will be published in full in tomorrow's papers.
I have made no secret of the fact that my preferred option is independence. I was pleased to see that support for independence has remained fairly constant over the last 10 years, hovering around the 11 to 15% mark. Given that (a few blogs apart) there has been no real campaign for independence (even Plaid hasn't really campaigned on the issue, Plaid has taken the evolution of devolution route), it is pleasing to see that devolution hasn't killed off independence as a legitimate view, as some hoped / feared that it might do.
Dr Richard Wyn Jones claimed in tonight's programme that the poll tracking has shown a seismic shift in attitudes towards devolution. I disagree. I agree with Penddu, that the polls don't show that much change of opinion. If you split the 1997 result between those who wanted the status quo and those who wanted devolution and compare them with those who want the new status quo (or reversion) now and those who want more than the present settlement the figures have remained the same thorough the last 10 years.
The term used for enhanced powers for the National Assembly, that the majority now appears to support, is a Scottish Type Parliament. The Scots have had a very Scottish Type Parliament for the last 10 years, and have found it deficient. About the same number of Scots who supported devolution 10 years ago now support enhanced devolution for Scotland. Either Independence or what is called Devolution Max.
If Scottish type powers for the very Scottish type people of Scotland have proved, after 10 years, to be deficient then a Scottish type parliament is hardly going to be good enough for the Welsh type people of Wales!
Its almost a foregone conclusion that in a few years time, having gained Scottish type powers, Wales will be in the same situation that Scotland is now. So why shouldn't Wales skip that step, and go for Devolution Max, with Scotland in 2011?