Voting For A New Britain: Nationalists gain on Labour in marginal

Voters' Panel: Llandovery
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The Independent Online
LABOUR SUPPORT in marginal Carmarthen East seems to be slipping, according to The Independent's panel of 12 randomly selected voters in Llandovery.

Plaid Cymru is edging ahead of Labour because of a growing awareness of the town's Welsh identity and because Labour is perceived as being controlled "up in London". Although Plaid Cymru is ahead in votes for the first-past-the-post contenders, ticket-splitting muddies the waters, while Tory support appears stronger than all-Wales polls suggest.

A fortnight ago, David Butler, 35, a salesman at an agricultural merchants, was wavering. Now he is firmly in the nationalist camp. "I've given it much thought. I see Plaid's policies for agriculture on which this area depends as better than the others. So I'm going for them twice," he said.

Father Nicholas Jenkins, 56, Cardiff-born, now ministering to a scattered Catholic community, said: "I've always voted Labour and that's what I'll do again this week. The party has the best interests of all of the Welsh people close to its heart."

Helen Worthington, 40, a craft centre supervisor, said: "This is a Welsh Assembly and I believe we should support a party that is truly and wholly Welsh. I shall vote Plaid, just as I have in past elections."

Heather Harrison, 56, a tourist information officer, said: "At one stage, I considered voting nationalist. But Plaid's policy of separating Wales from the rest of the country is bad and they tried to hide the facts. So I shall vote Liberal Democrat or Tory."

Barrie Stone, 61, will go for the Tories. "I'm sorry that there's not a Referendum Party to vote for here. There was one in the 1997 election, which got my support."

Simon Sherrard, 59, a hotelier, believes the dual vote can produce political balance. "I am supporting the Tory candidate and Plaid Cymru in the PR ballot," he said.

Huw Lewis, 35, a builder, has praise for the nationalist candidate but will not change his voting habits. He declared: "The Tories haven't a hope round here but I vote for them out of loyalty." His wife, Josephine, 34, is splitting her vote. "I shall go for the Tory candidate and for Plaid on the party list."

Tony Heath