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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2007, 21:20 GMT 22:20 UK
Wales 'is warming to devolution'
Senedd at night
Voters have been deciding who will sit in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay
Voters are becoming keener on the Welsh assembly and want it to have more powers and become a full parliament, a BBC Wales poll has suggested.

The survey was commissioned to coincide with Thursday's election, as the public voted on who will form the next Welsh Assembly Government.

The poll appears to show that the electorate now wants the assembly to be more independent of Westminster.

The survey was conducted by ICM for the BBC Wales election night services.

The findings indicate that the electorate is coming round to the idea of devolution, eight years after the assembly first sat, and 10 years Wales voted by a small majority to create it.

More than half of those questioned (53%) said they thought the assembly had made a slight difference for the better, with 12% saying it had made a big difference.

Ieuan Wyn Jones (Plaid):
Yes - 40%, No - 20%
Nick Bourne (Conservative):
Yes - 26%, No - 30%
Mike German (Lib Dem):
Yes - 34%, No - 26%

56% said the assembly government should be the level of government that should have the most influence over Wales, with less than a fifth (19%) saying that it should be the UK government at Westminster.

When asked how they would vote if there was a referendum on turning the assembly into a full law-making Welsh parliament with tax-raising powers, 47% said they would vote "yes" compared with 43% against.

The poll also suggested that the public is comfortable with the idea of coalitions, with 49% saying that a coalition was their preferred result compared to 45% saying they wanted one party to win outright.

Interestingly, more people were in favour of a Labour coalition with Plaid (35%) than backed another link-up between Labour and the Liberal Democrats (22%). Labour and the Lib Dems were in coalition in Cardiff Bay from 2000 - 2003.

A Plaid/Tory/Lib Dem coalition was backed by 32%.

When asked who would be the best leader in any coalition, Rhodri Morgan led the way with 35% of the vote, followed by former Plaid leader Dafydd Wigley with 12% and current Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones with 7%.

'Certain to vote'

Meanwhile, those questioned said that they thought that health had been the key issue in the election campaign, ahead of education and crime.

It was these three issues that topped the list of what those questioned thought should be the assembly government's main priority for the next four years, ahead of job creation and the environment.

Elsewhere, 44% of people surveyed said that they thought that the assembly favoured south-east Wales, while 31% thought it looked after all parts equally.

The poll also pointed to a voter turnout which may be much higher than that predicted by many, with 58% of those questioned saying that they were "absolutely certain to vote".

A random sample of 1,018 Welsh adults aged over 18 were interviewed. The results have been weighted to the profile of all Welsh adults.

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