If Jeremy Corbyn thinks the public share his opposition to further intervention in the region, he is wrongby Peter Kellner / November 23, 2015 / Leave a comment
Two years ago, MPs voted narrowly against Britain taking part in air strikes against Syria. One of the arguments advanced by opponents of military action was that public opinion rejected it. The sole piece of scientific evidence (as opposed to the self-selecting minority who wrote to MPs) was a YouGov survey for the Sun, which found that voters divided two-to-one against air strikes.
This time voters are in a very different place. A YouGov poll last week for The Times found a majority of well over two-to-one in favour of the RAF joining strikes against Islamic State. If MPs want public endorsement of military action, they have it.
Here are the two sets of poll results:
Total Con Lab Lib Dem Ukip August 26-27, 2013 % % % % % Thinking about the situation in Syria, here are some things that Britain’s government is reported to be considering, in partnership with other countries such as France and the United States. Would you support or oppose using British missiles, fired from ships off the coast of Syria, against military sites inside Syria? Support 25 33 26 27 22 Oppose 50 45 54 47 68 Don’t know 26 22 20 25 10 November 16-17 2015 Would you approve or disapprove of…The RAF taking part in air strike operations against Islamic State/ISIS in Syria? Approve 58 74 49 51 65 Disapprove 22 12 29 23 20 Don’t know 19 14 22 26 15
Last time supporters of all four parties opposed air strikes; this time all four sets of supporters back them. Tory voters back the Prime Minister by six-to-one. It’s also worth noting that Ukip voters, who were by far the most hostile to air strikes two years ago, now favour them by more than the electorate as a whole.
As for Labour voters, enthusiasm for military action is more muted than among supporters of the other three parties. However, they still favour air strikes by 49-29 per cent. If Jeremy Corbyn continues to oppose the Government, he will be out of step with his own party’s supporters.
That does not make him wrong—or the potential Labour…