Today’s daily YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 12% (tabs here), the weekly Friday Populus poll meanwhile has figures of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 9% (tabs here). Needless to say, both polls were conducted before the government’s defeat over Syria, so are already a bit out of date.

We’ll know over the next few days what the impact of the Syria vote is on public opinion. Unlike many political events, it is at least something people notice (in the weekly Populus poll on what news stories people have noticed 61% said Syria), but it obviously isn’t something that directly affects many British people’s lives. Unless there are actual wars with widespread casualties, people tend to vote on things like the economy, health, taxes and so on, not on quarrels in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing. Perhaps of more interest will be the effect on perceptions of the party leaders (which, in turn, may have their own knock on effects on voting intention) – will it make people see David Cameron as a less effective leader, or Ed Miliband as a more effective one? I would be surprised if there wasn’t at least some negative impact on Cameron’s ratings, but whether that is long term or quickly forgotten is an open question…

372 Responses to “Latest polls, and what might the impact of Syria be”

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  1. @Colin

    There are details of Syrian,government,troop moments in, the, lead,up to the,attack, but it’s based on “multiple streams of intelligence”. There are no, hard, substantiated facts.

  2. Looks like we need to wait for a new line from Groundskeeper Willie in “The Simpsons” for something on Freedom Muffins.

  3. Kerry lost all credibility when he said that the rebels have never used chemical weapons, when in May they had to back down from military strikes when the UN said that it was most likely that the rebels had used chemical weapons in an attack and not the regime. The fact is we don’t know and can’t know, we can’t trust Assad and we can’t trust our intelligence agencies or anyone else’s. Everyone has an axe to grind and good reasons for being less than candid.

    The only thing we can do is a cost benefit analysis, what do we want to achieve, is it possible, what are the probable costs and what are the likely benefits. As far as I can see the chances of a stable friendly post Assad Syria are vanishingly slim and therefore the chance that Europe will get a stable supply of cheaper gas from the gulf are as slim. Really the lesson here is the exact opposite of Iraq, don’t sub contract the dirty work to mercenaries funded by gulf states, if you want something done properly you have to do it yourself

  4. Less than 1500 words and this is what they pay the CIA billions for.

  5. Norbold

    I suppose it’s what interpretation you put on it, some were certainly against the war on moral grounds, some on what would be achieved and how to achieve it, some because there was little public support.

    I listen to those dissenters as well and some voted against because they were unclear about which side had actually used chemical weapons and where was the proof, I even heard one MP suggest it could have been an accident. I think there was a variety of reasons why people voted no and some may have been influenced to vote yes had they had Kerry’s information and as the vote was only lost by 13 it could have made a difference

    But short of asking each MP why they voted no, we will never know and events have made it irrelevant because whatever the reason the answer was no, even if some regret it now.

  6. @RiN,

    Could it possibly be that Carla del Ponte was wrong when she said the rebels had used chemical weapons? After all our JIC and now the CIA are saying pretty directly and firmly that they don’t believe they have. I don’t know about you but I don’t remember Ms del Ponte referring to any evidence, and I haven’t seen any news reporting to the effect that rebel CW attacks had been confirmed (only that “some” rebels groups were trying to get hold of them – probably the al-Quaeda inspired ones I imagine).

    Is Ms del Ponte’s word such a strong bond that when another politician contradicts her they “lose all credibility”?

  7. Turk
    Good points but we must remember it was a whipped vote. How many would have voted against given free will, we will also never know, clearly more.
    Don’t forget everyone that had it been won, it would not have made any effective difference where the UK participation chances were concerned.

    I think that is why the PM reacted the way he did, which does him great credit in the situation he found himself.

  8. Neil A

    Before she spoke up the US was gearing up for air strikes afterwards they had to back off, if they were really sure that she was wrong why didn’t they call her on it and do the air strikes anyway? Also she was reporting what her team had found, so that’s all of them wrong! Possible.

  9. @RiN,

    del Ponte’s remarks were in May, weren’t they? I didn’t think there were any proposals for intervention at that point.

    Ultimately I don’t know. Like everyone my faith in “intelligence dossiers” has been severely shaken. But the JIC and CIA do seem to be stated their position pretty unequivocably.

    For what it’s worth, Ms del Ponte based her remarks on “testimony” (ie some people told her team that’s what happened). After a few minutes interweb dredging I haven’t been able to find her report, or details of the allegations so it’s hard to judge.

    I just think that you perhaps overstated your case with “lost all credibility”. I think we have to balance Kerry’s remarks with del Ponte’s, not pick one over the other as a matter of legal certainty.

  10. For those interested in polling among foreigners, “”Electionista” has tweeted these –

    Germany – August average: CDU/CSU 40.4%(+0.1) SPD 24.6%(-0.5) GRN 12.6%(-0.5) LINKE 7.8%(+0.4) FDP 5.7%(+0.6) PIR 2.6%(+0.2) AfD 2.5%

    Austria – Market poll: SPÖ 26%, ÖVP 22%, FPÖ 19%, Greens 16%, Stronach 9%, BZÖ 3%, NEOS 2% – election September 29

  11. OldNat
    FDP will be hoping that’s correct at 5.7% but AM will be hoping even more fervently I suspect. Thanks for the info.

  12. A BBC Panorama team has just recorded some very disturbing film of what was probably a napalm bombing raid on a school. It doesn’t make me think that targeted bombing of Syrian government forces is a good idea, but it has left me feeling quite sick, and it may well lead to some people thinking that Cameron was right even if he was defeated.

  13. @ Norbold

    It wouldn’t have made any difference about the Tory dissenters if Labour hadn’t backtracked and voted the Bill down.

    Over 1400 dead, still can’t believe human beings can behave this way!

  14. @Richard W

    Yes, this filtered through yesterday. Again, we don’t know who is responsible – whether Assad’s forces, rogue Assad units or someone else.

  15. “A BBC Panorama team has just recorded some very disturbing film of what was probably a napalm bombing raid ….”

    There’s also quite a lot a footage of napalm bombing from the 1960s if you’re interested .

  16. @James E

    There’s also quite a lot a footage of napalm bombing from the 1960s if you’re interested.

    Yes, there is a distasteful irony in the thought of the Americans punishing such behaviour. I was commenting on a possible effect on how the public would see Cameron’s defeat, not expressing a wish that the Americans should start firing cruise missiles.

  17. The eyebrows of Private Eye readers all around the country shoot up.

  18. So at least 100,000 innocent Iraqis died due to the UK American invasion.. Fallajuh depleted uranium shells will continue to kill and maim Iraqis for generations. Just as many died due to America’s use of Agent Orange in Vietnam Israelis phosphor munitions kill many more than the gas in Syria.

    The pleasant western middle-class no longer believes the lies of the USA (and UK) media.

  19. What’s the statute of limitations on national war crimes?

    Does the UK have no right to oppose the murder of captured prisoners because of our actions at Agincourt?

  20. And who gave the USA (and no longer the UK) the right to decide international law? No-one. Appalling arrogance.

  21. Neil A

    It doesn’t really matter anyway, it’s a red herring. Even if Assad has used chemical weapons and the rebels are totally innocent, even if he has used them multiple times and killed tens of thousands, it’s really not the point. We want to intervene because our side in the civil war is losing, we need a publicly acceptable reason, we can’t tell the truth because politicians believe the public are squeamish(I think they are right) chemical weapons gives us the excuse we need. If we really cared about the Syrian people we wouldn’t have set this civil war up, we most certainly wouldn’t have out sourced the running of it to the Saudis or allowed them to hire fundamentalist mercenaries. This whole operation has been a catalogue of blunders, mainly because we wanted to have clean hands or because there was no public appetite for a full scale military operation. Which in a way is a shame because unlike Iraq we really do have a pressing strategic interest


    I presume you know of the iconic Vietnam image of the wee girl who had been on the fringes of a napalm attack in Vietnam?

    While I was one of those taking part in noisy (though utterly useless) demos against the US in Vietnam back then, I don’t remember anyone suggesting that a military strike against US napalm stocks would have been a useful strategy.

  23. @ Jack

    I don’t argue about the USA using various nasty weapons in the past but if Saddam was still in power how many more innocent Iraqi’s would now be dead? We’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  24. TURK

    THanks-yep-that makes sense.

  25. RAF

    @”Yes, this filtered through yesterday. Again, we don’t know who is responsible”

    It was dropped from a fighter plane which circled overhead “looking for a target” according to witnesses ( teachers)

  26. @RiN,

    You really are quite a jaundiced fellow aren’t you!

    Do you have any evidence for your theories? Or is it just a case of Americans=Evil + Strategic Interest = Conspiracy?

  27. @Colin,

    WItness testimony is only accurate when it’s quoted by Carla del Ponte, remember. Otherwise it is lies and propaganda manufactured by the military-industrial complex and oil interests in the West..

  28. “If Saddam was still in power how many more innocent Iraqi’s would now be dead?”

    Ignoring the rogue apostrophe, the answer to your question is “less”.

  29. In honour of Martin Luther King Jr, honoured by Obama only yesterday

    ““Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”

    “This is where we are. “Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind,”

    “It is no longer a choice, my friends, between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence. And the alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a greater suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world, may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation, and our earthly habitat would be transformed into an inferno that even the mind of Dante could not imagine.”
    This week we have pictures of children killed by chemical weapons and napalm. Next week we may well have pictures of children killed by cruise missiles.

    The only way to stop this is to stop the supply of arms to each side, not add more bombs. I grew up in Africa and watched what happened as Russia armed one side, and the US armed the other. The losers were the people, and the people of Syria are facing exactly the same situation. Many countries think they are helping by sending weapons to protect one side or the other. They are not, they are assisting in the killing.

  30. Yes, but the fall of Saddam’s regime was always likely to be washed in blood. If we hadn’t removed him, that bloodbath would still be looming in Iraq’s future.

    True, it is a pretty bloody place in any event, but the worst is over I think.

  31. @Richard,

    I am sure you can use your excellent contacts with the Russian government to ensure they cut off military aid to the Syrian regime. Go for it!

  32. NEILA

    @”You really are quite a jaundiced fellow aren’t you!”

    THat’s a good word. I have been searching for one which wouldn’t get me permanently banned from this place

    @”WItness testimony is only accurate when it’s quoted by Carla del Ponte, remember. ”


    Richard cannot function without attaching his oil conspiracy to everything-well everything the evil “west” does that is.

    He’s not so strong on Russia, China, Iran-those sort of places. Pure as the driven snow.

  33. @ OLDNAT

    If you think I’m in favour of military intervention you haven’t read my posts.

  34. R.I.P Seamus Heaney-a great poet & a lovely man.

    To bed with “France our oldest ally ” reveberating in my head.

    Oh the shame of it-perhaps we are now the “surrender monkeys” ?

    Beef Eating Surrender Monkeys.

    Les Singes de Capitulation qui manges le Boeuf.

  35. Nick P

    I feel a Panda joke coming on!

    Are you sure that Saddam wouldn’t have killed more? I remember reading a New York Times article where they estimated 200,000 innocent Iraqwere killed by the secret police before 2003. Another 10 years, I think we can safely add a few Iraqis.


    Apologies! I couldn’t remember what your stance had been – so i just commented on ” some people thinking that Cameron was right even if he was defeated”

  37. @ OLDNAT

    Thank you. No problem.

  38. Neil A

    lol, haven’t you read any history, from the dawn of history people have fought over resources, trade routes, strategic hill tops and the rest of it, mostly they have tried to justify it with some moral or religious justification or in more modern times ideological differences, sometimes they have been upfront about their motives but that has become more seldom as we have “progressed” to modern times

    I have been following this story for a long time and read lots of alternative media as well as mainstream. Of course it’s always easier to believe what you want to believe, but really if reports that don’t tally with human nature and historical norms are set against reports that fit into the historical narrative then you have to ask your self “which ones make sense” unless you truly believe that we are different to earlier people, that our leaders are more moral than in times past, if so then point out to me when this change occurred because in the second half of the last century we and our allies were involved in some pretty shady things in order to keep control over vital resources or trade routes or just geo political ambitions. I don’t think we have changed, no historian would take the reports from past conflicts at face value, it seems folly not to apply the same scepticism to reports in this day and age

  39. Isaac,

    Significant people do support the aims of the Bedroom Tax, although it doesn’t seem to be working at the moment. Labour are opposed to it though, as are the Greens.

  40. ISAAC

    Scottish (and I’d guess E & W too) Greens are against it as are the SSP and Plaid Cymru. i think all the NI parties are against it too.

    In fact any party which isn’t centred on London?

  41. Colin

    Russia and China are not as pure as the driven snow, they are every bit as greedy selfish and self centered as we are

  42. I have been criticised on here in the past for daring to suggest that instinct and gut feeling play a large part in my decision making. The evidence before action, style, adds to the indecision, evidence can be hidden, it can be tampered with, it can be planted, and then, all that has to be examined by people recruited to give an impartial view, it could take years, it must be a great comfort for dictators and rogue regimes around the world to hear the, jaw jaw, leads to think think, brigade encouraging inertia, while said barbarians continue with their obscenities.
    While thousands are dying, we are jaw jawing, I wonder whether the obsession with legal argument and arrogant intellectual debate, satisfying the sensitivities of the chattering classes, in fact hides a deeper malaise, that of [] schadenfreude.
    In my opinion, we have seen enough atrocities committed by Assad to make a decision based on, form/ experience/instinct, about the chemical weapons, to attack his military bases, a heavy enough barrage would shake his confidence, and, IMO, stop his cruelty.
    Hopefully, our old ally will do the right thing while we assume the foetal position, thumb in mouth, agonising over all our ‘evidence’.


    “Labour are opposed to it though” That maybe an opinion rather than a fact. Certainly there are lots of good folk in Labour who are against it, but that may not affect party policy.

  44. Labour are not against the “bedroom tax” as ED has said he will stick to Tory tax plans.

  45. KEN

    “Hopefully, our old ally will do the right thing”

    Mmm I doubt Portugal will do much, even though it is England’s oldest ally. :-)

  46. @Oldnat,

    Labour’s policy is a bit unclear on it actually, but when the leader of the party pledges to scrap it in a public Q&A that’s quite a good sign.

    Be warned: least flattering EM photo ever.

  47. Isaac,

    Technically, the Bedroom Tax isn’t a tax so much as a penalty. Therefore it would be consistent for a government to scrap it without changing tax plans.


    Thanks for the link. It would be churlish of me to suggest that a report in a local Worcester paper may not be definitive – but hey, I’m a churl! :-)

    if Labour controlled Scottish authorities didn’t suggest evicting those who are in debt due to the bedroom tax, i’d be more persuaded.

  49. OLDNAT………Salazar would have been on my little list. ;-)

  50. NickP
    “If Saddam was still in power how many more innocent Iraqi’s would now be dead?”
    Ignoring the rogue apostrophe, the answer to your question is “less”.

    Er, fewer,

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