SUPPORT for independence has become a “general trend” among younger voters in Wales, a political analyst has said.

But the “clever ­constitutional ­strategy” of Welsh Labour is ­proving a challenge to the country’s pro-independence party winning more ­support.

A poll last week revealed that 36% of people in Wales would vote Yes in an independence referendum, with don’t knows excluded.

The results from the Redfield and Wilton Strategies survey found 58% for No, 32% for Yes – up to two ­percentage points from last month –with 10% saying don’t know.

However the majority of 18 to 24-year-olds (53%) said they would vote for independence – 55% with don’t knows excluded.

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The majority of 25 to 34-year-olds (52%) also said they would vote Yes to self-determination.

Dr Anwen Elias (below), reader in ­politics at Aberystwyth University, said: “It’s a general trend that support for independence is stronger amongst younger voters, whereas support for the status quo of devolution or even abolishing the Welsh Parliament is much stronger among older voters, and they also tend to be Conservative party voters.

“There is quite an interesting ­demographic trend there is these ­constitutional questions and it is probably interesting how these things develop over the coming years.”

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However she cautioned that other factors such as delivering on public services would influence voters and it was uncertain whether people would continue to hold those views as they get older.

“The polls suggest that the older you get, the more conservative you get, because independence is a radical, scarier prospect and you tend to become more risk averse the older you get,” she said.

“There is more at stake – jobs, mortgages, thinking of family’s future prospects and so on.

“So your considerations also change also change as you age and so that might also feed into support for independence.”

Elias said those seeking to shift ­support for independence faced the challenge that it is not seen as a ­priority by many voters currently, in the midst of a cost of living crisis.

She said Plaid Cymru also faced the problem that many independence supporters in Wales back Labour.

“The main competitor of Plaid Cymru in Wales is Welsh Labour, they have to compete with Welsh Labour on left of centre issues and there are really not ­managing to make a dent in that ­centre left voting… which is ­really very loyal to Welsh Labour,” she said.

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“The challenge for Plaid Cymru is that if it wants to get those ­centre left votes, it needs to appeal beyond its heartlands – they are the Welsh speaking heartlands of West Wales, along that West Wales coast and it really doesn’t know how to do that.

“In that respect the challenge for Plaid Cymru is how is it going to get votes away from Welsh Labour – both on independence but also more problematically is on that centre left policy spectrum, that is really where they have to compete.”

Elias said Welsh Labour had also adopted a “clever” strategy on the constitution, including setting up the Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales, of which she is a member.

“Welsh Labour is very supportive of more devolution to Wales, that is not a problematic position for it,” she said. “But at the same time it has also recognised there is this support for independence “With its independent commission looking at the constitutional future of Wales, one of the options it has asked it to look at is independence.

“Even though formally the party doesn’t support Welsh ­independence, it is positioning itself as being open to looking at these different ­constitutional futures.”

She added: “I think Welsh Labour have played it quite well – they have a clearer space on the constitutional issue in Wales than Scottish Labour has in Scotland.

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“And it is not that same ­division ­between SNP who want ­independence versus everybody else who defends the Union.”

Plaid Cymru is also facing the ­challenge of overcoming internal ­party issues after a damning report published in May found a culture of sexual harassment, bullying and ­misogyny within the party, which led to the resignation of leader Adam Price.

His replacement Rhun ap ­Iorwerth faces the task of implementing the recommendations of that report, while preparing for the General ­Election next year.

Elias said: “There is the question of to what extent it can respond to these challenges, but also do so in a way which is coherent, unified, showing leadership.

“Let’s say there is a lot it has to do and no easy answers to some of the things it needs to do if it wants to make electoral progress.”