Saturday’s demonstration at the Bandstand on Aberystwyth Promenade in support of all nationalities living in the town (above) following the EU Referendum was an impressive show of solidarity arranged with only a few days notice through social media.
Ceredigion as a whole voted 54.6 to 45.4% to remain in the EU on a 74.4% turnout and Aberystwyth’s reputation as a strongly pro-EU town is confirmed by the detail of the voting.
The cross-party group of Remain campaigners at the count on the night of June 23rd, comprising local Plaid, Labour and Lib Dem activists, took samples, mainly quite large, of most of the ward votes across the county as they were being counted. In ordinary elections, the different parties keep these kinds of samples to themselves as useful information about where their strengths and weaknesses lie for future campaigning but, since the parties were all working together on the referendum campaign, there was no need this time. The figures given are not the actual ward results since no formal tally was made of these but, with many of the samples being half or more of the vote, they are thought to be very accurate.
The result of the sampling for Aberystwyth wards was:
Bronglais: 77% Remain
Canol / Central: 76% Remain
Gogledd / North: 75% Remain
Rheidol: 66% Remain
Penparcau: 60% Remain
This is an impressive result and fully justifies Aber’s reputation as a progressive, outward-looking town.
Although Bronglais ward’s 77% was the highest Remain vote in Ceredigion, other areas in the north of the county were also very high. Furnace and Taliesin, heading north towards Machynlleth, voted 76% and 73% respectively for Remain whilst, to the south and east of the town, the figure for Llanfarian was 74% and Capel Seion 71%.
Looking at these figures it’s easy to wonder why the overall Remain figure for Ceredigion was not higher than 54.6%. The answer lies in the south of the county. Heading south from Aberystwyth, the first area actually returning a Leave vote was Blaenpennal on the road to Tregaron. The voting is more varied in this middle part of the county, although Remain is still in the majority.
The key divide in the county seems to be a few miles south of Aberaeron and Lampeter. If you take a line from between Aberaeron and New Quay inland to somewhere near Llanybydder (see below), the majority north of that line voted Remain whilst the majority to the south voted Leave. The Cardigan Remain vote was 46%, whilst the lowest Remain vote in the county was Tregroes, near Llandysul at 32%.
The reason for the divide may well be found in the kind of demographics relating to age and education levels that have explained voting patterns in the rest of Wales and England. However, as can be seen in the previous post, the whole of the county is a net beneficiary of EU funding and, in time, is likely to suffer equally if we leave.
Cai Larsen’s excellent blog (in Welsh) about the results in Gwynedd can be seen here