Page last updated at 05:42 GMT, Monday, 22 September 2008 06:42 UK

Wales 'is split on extra powers'

By Adrian Browne
Political reporter

Senedd in Cardiff Bay
A narrow majority of 50.3% voted for creating the assembly in 1997

Almost half of people in Wales want the assembly to have full law-making and taxation powers, a survey commissioned by the institution has indicated.

Some 39% back full law-making and taxation powers, and 10% independence.

With 46% backing either no further extension of devolution or its reversal, it seems Wales is fairly evenly split on the issue.

The assembly government has pledged to hold a referendum on law-making powers, but not taxation, by May 2011.

A total of 31% want to keep the current arrangements, 15% support abolishing the assembly and around 6% expressed no view.

The survey was carried out by Aberystwyth University's Institute of Welsh Politics in conjunction with pollsters GfKNOP.

It used a large sample with more than 2,500 telephone interviews conducted in June and early July.

In June 2007 an ICM poll for BBC Wales showed similar findings, with 47% supporting a full law-making assembly with tax-raising powers and 44% against the change.

No campaigning

The ground work for a referendum began over the summer, in line with the deal which brought Labour and Plaid Cymru together in the coalition assembly government.

The All Wales Convention, chaired by Sir Emyr Jones Parry, met in July to set about its task of measuring public support for full law-making powers.

This latest survey was completed in the absence of any official campaigning for or against a stronger assembly.

But it appears to indicate that the population of Wales is yet to be fully persuaded that devolving further power from London to Cardiff is needed.

For full law-making and taxation powers as part of UK: 39%
For independence: 10%
For no change: 31%
Want to abolish assembly: 15%
Don't know/refused to comment:5.5%
Source: GfKNOP/IWP telephone poll June-July '08

As things stand, it seems there is not enough evidence yet that the many politicians in the assembly chamber who want a referendum on further powers would get the 'Yes' vote they seek.

If we were in any doubt, the survey also indicates the importance of television and, to a lesser extent, newspapers to any campaigning.

Researchers investigated where people found out about Welsh politics and current affairs.

Some 87% of those questioned said television news was a source, with between 54% (in north Wales) and 68% (mid and west Wales) watching BBC Wales Today three times or more a week.

People's second most important source of information was friends, family and word of mouth (66%).

Local newspapers (64%) and British papers (56%) came third and fourth in the survey respectively.

Amongst the newspapers, the Daily Mail was top of the stack (12.8%) followed by the Daily Mirror (9.5%), the Sun (9.1%), Western Mail (6.3%) and South Wales Echo (5%).

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