Today part of the country (or at least, a British dependency) actually has an election – the Falklands have a referendum on whether they wish to remain British. The result is a formality of course, people there will overwhelmingly vote to remain British, but what do people in Britain itself and Argentina think?
YouGov and Ibarometro have carried out parallel polling on the issue this week in Britain and Argentina – full results are here. There is a broad perception that the issue matters rather more to Argentina than Britain, only 1% of British people pick the Falklands as one of the most important international issues facing the country, 24% of Argentinians do. Asked directly about Falklands 54% of British respondents think it is an important issue to Britain, 67% of Argentinians think it is an important issue to Argentina.
Unsurprisingly 62% of Argentinians think that the fairest solution to the issue would be for the islands to become Argentinian, 20% would support joint-sovereignty. Only 4% think they should remain British. For British respondents 40% want the islands to remain British, 28% think they should become independent (presumably respondents who don’t realise just how few people live there!), 13% would support shared sovereignty, only 4% think the islands should become Argentinian. There is very little crossover there.
Asked what they think actually will happen there is less contrast. 61% of British respondents think the islands will remain British, 37% of Argentinian respondents think they will remain British. Despite the fuss made over the Islands by the Argentine government (actions that are supported by most Argentinians – 53% think their government is doing a good job on the issue), only 25% of Argentinians think the islands actually will end up becoming Argentinian.
Turning to the referendum this week, British respondents overwhelmingly think that the Falkland Islanders should have a say on their future (88% think they should, 4% do not). Argentinian respondents do not – only 15% think the Falkland Islanders should have a say, 59% do not. Asked who should have the final say on the Islands’ future, 74% of British respondents think it should be down to the islanders themselves. Argentinian respondents were more divided, but the most popular option was for a international organisation to make the decision (36%).