The weekly YouGov/Sunday Times survey is up here and has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 32%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15%, GRN 7%.

Most of the rest of the survey dealt with attitudes towards the Chilcot Inquiry and Iraq. Asked in hindsight whether Britain and the US were right to take military action against Iraq support has now dwindled to 25% (down from 27% two years ago, 30% in 2007 and a peak of 66% back in April 2003, the day after the fall of Baghdad). 63% of people now think that the invasion of Iraq increased the risk of terrorist attack against Britain and 54% think it has made the world a less safe place.

Asked about Tony Blair’s role, 48% of people think Tony Blair deliberately misled the public (down 4 points from 2010), 32% think he genuinely thought Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (unchanged from 2010) – as the years pass, the proportion of people saying don’t know is gradually sneaking up. In a slightly more nuanced question, 29% of people say Blair was essentially correct to warn of the dangers of the Saddam regime, 16% that he misled Parliament but did not intend to do so, 13% that he deliberately misled Parliament, but we should now move on, 24% that he deliberately misled Parliament and should be prosecuted.

Turning to the question of the Chilcot inquiry, 50% of people think the inquiry is worthwhile, 35% of people think it is not. Despite this broad support, only 19% think it will make a genuine effort to get to the bottom of Britain’s involvement in Iraq, 53% think it will be a whitewash. Two-thirds of people think the length of time it has taken to publish the report is unreasonable.


346 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 32, LAB 32, LDEM 7, UKIP 15, GRN 7”

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  1. Will any of these issues have any salience by themselves – or are they just indicative of distrust of Westminster established parties/interests?

  2. @ oldnat

    Internals vs toplines always interesting… Not sure how to read these either

  3. I’ve updated my analysis of the youth vote. Labour now only six points ahead of the Greens, plus some *possible* signs of a Lib Dem turnaround. Tories and UKIP little changed. And a pretty chart:

    http://www.ncpolitics.uk/2015/01/youth-vote-labour-lead-six-points-greens.html/

  4. @Unicorn (FPT)

    “In the UK-wide polls we know that the LD vote share has gone down from about 23% in 2010 to a VI of about 8% now. It is arithmetic ally impossible for this 15 point VI drop to have come from each and every constituency on an equal (= uniform) basis. Many constituencies had <15% share in the first place and in these cases there are 'not enough' 2010 LD to contribute their cut of the drop."

    Would it not suffice to just take a rough estimate of any given place being 35% of 2010 VI? Perhaps also use 2005 as a measure of how much the Lib Dems had risen in 2010 (at the constituency level, rather than the national level)?

  5. Number Cruncher

    Do you have access microdata from pollsters that record both SEG and Public/Private sector employment?

    That could provide an answer to my question at the end of the previous thread.

  6. I had the thought this morning while watching Natalie Bennett’s Sunday Politics interview that some Greens must surely wish that Caroline Lucas had stood again for the leadership. I have a feeling that they may be doing even better if they had a more convincing leader.

    It will be very interesting to see the eventual impact that leaders have. On paper, the Tories stand to gain most from their leader, probably followed by the SNP. It will be fun to watch the popularity worms running through these debates.

  7. Mr N

    “It will be very interesting to see the eventual impact that leaders have. On paper, the Tories stand to gain most from their leader, probably followed by the SNP.”

    It would be useful if there was polling on the relative satisfaction ratings of these two leaders, in GB and Scotland respectively, to back that up.

    Oh! There is! :-)

  8. @ Oldnat

    A lot of it is freely available through the BES, the problem ( is tabulating it (in a pain-in-the-arse way, rather than a technical way)

  9. How safe was the world when Al Qaeda downed the Twin Towers in Manhattan in 2001, killing thousands of innocent civilians in the process? That was two years before the Iraq invasion and while I don’t think that ill fated and ill conceived campaign made the world any safer a place, I’m doubtful whether it made it less safe either. There’s also an argument that whilst the NATO campaign in Afghanistan has been protracted and, at times, an unholy mess too, it has disabled some part of the Al Qaeda capability and thereby achieved some of its global strategic objectives.

    I’ve always felt that a lot of this post Iraq and Afghanistan retrospective wisdom has been allowed to morph into a highly personalised and politicised attempt to “Get Blair”. It should be remembered that his decision to join Bush and the US in the Iraq invasion was wholeheartedly supported by most of the British Right at the time; both the Tory Party and the right-leaning press. I know they’ve all joined in the” Bush was a moron and Blair was a poodle” line now, but that’s not my memory of how they reported and viewed it at the time. The Right in this country lionised Bush as one of their own for a long period of time. His Axis of Evil line chimed with their own views of the world. I’m not convinced at all by all this latter day pacifism from one time enthusiastic and bellicose advocates of war,

  10. Number Cruncher

    Bloody work shy data miners. Thatcher was right to destroy you lot. :-)

  11. I haven’t been destroyed by anyone!

  12. I had the thought this morning while watching Natalie Bennett’s Sunday Politics interview that some Greens must surely wish that Caroline Lucas had stood again for the leadership. I have a feeling that they may be doing even better if they had a more convincing leader.

    That can apply to a number of parties ;-)

  13. CMJ,

    Never said it didn’t! Just that the other parties to whom that applies have had the spotlight focused on it for some time. Bennett’s not really been a subject of major media scrutiny before.

  14. We went to war with Iraq twice because we were told they had weapons of mass destruction and plus the invasion of Kuwait.

    Fast forward…We know Russia has weapons of mass destruction and lots of them and we are told they have invaded Ukraine and swooped up Crimea!!

    Is it inconsistency in UK and American foreign policies or do they only pick on 3rd world countries who’s leaders don’t enjoy popular support in their own country?

    In the case of Iraq Libya & Syria it’s better the devil you know!!

    Oh dear what a mess we are now in….Democracy? Hyperbole lol

  15. AC,

    Neither Bush nor Blair were insane enough to declare war on the Russian Federation, but then I suppose you weren’t making that point seriously, more a case of your usual point scoring.

  16. MRNAMELESS

    ” I suppose you weren’t making that point seriously, more a case of your usual point scoring”
    _______

    Just highlighting inconsistency’s and that Bush and Blair got it spectacularly wrong over Iraq as the polls now show.

  17. CROSSBAT11
    It should be remembered that his decision to join Bush and the US in the Iraq invasion was wholeheartedly supported by most of the British Right at the time; both the Tory Party and the right-leaning press. I know they’ve all joined in the” Bush was a moron and Blair was a poodle” line now, but that’s not my memory of how they reported and viewed it at the time.

    Spot on. I suspect that most of the press are reluctant to blame it all on Labour because their current leader has a “get out of jail free” card because he wasn’t an MP until 2005 and can blame it all on the old guard, who he probably wants to get rid of completely anyway. Odd that he hasn’t made much fuss over Chilcot if that is the case, though.

  18. “63% of people now think that the invasion of Iraq increased the risk of terrorist attack against Britain and 54% think it has made the world a less safe place”
    ______

    The Russian said the toppling of Saddam was the easy part but its what comes after! ….They were right.

    The Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad said if his government falls then it will open up a powder-keg……He’s not gone yet but by the looks of things he’s also right.

    Of course the World is an unsafer place now. Extremists are safer in the hands of dictators rather than let loose in the Desert.

  19. Caroline was good, but that’s the past. She doesn’t want to be leader. Period.

    Natalie is well liked in party, and won the leadership unopposed. The party has grown well while she has been leader. Every time I’ve heard her speak she comes across well enough (in my view). She’s no great orator, but then again there isn’t a current party leader who is.

    Thinking what might/might not be with another leader is utterly pointless. How many years did the Tories struggle, while in reverie to the Thatcher era?

    Yesterday has gone. What matters is what you do with what you have today.

  20. @AC

    No Allan, the first war against Iraq was entirely justified by Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. If he hadn’t invaded Kuwait he’d probably still be alive and well and living in Baghdad, WMDs or no. In fact his nuclear weapon plans probably saved him from invasion as the allies needed him to keep the Ayatollahs at bay.

    As for your idea that the polls now “prove” that Bush and Blair got it wrong, well it depends what you mean by “it”. If you mean they were wrong to believe that people in the future would like them more, yes, the polls show they were wrong. If you mean the polls prove that they were wrong to invade…. well then you’ve gone bonkers, simples.

  21. Odd that he [Ed Miliband] hasn’t made much fuss over Chilcot if that is the case, though.

    He made a bit of a fuss; he definitely asked that it be published before the 2015 GE. His request didn’t get much coverage in the media at the time. And he didn’t bang on about it because the explanation for the delay is that members of the investigating panel had been/ are ill. It’s not a good look to be harassing sick people or saying/implying that key members of an investigative team should be sacked or replaced just because they’re ill.

  22. The first Gulf War was the UN operating exactly as it should. An international force defending a smaller nation against an unjustified invasion by a larger one, and pushing the invading country back to its own borders.

  23. POSTAGEINCLUDED

    ” In fact his nuclear weapon plans probably saved him from invasion as the allies needed him to keep the Ayatollahs at bay”
    __

    Did they forget to tell Israel that ( Operation Babylon) when they bombed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor?

    We went to war on a falls premise and were told that Saddam could lunch a big bad weapon in a matter of hours or days. Of course if people are spoon fed misinformation then they will believe it.

    Yes we went to war with Iraq (first gulf war) because of his invasion of Kuwait so that was the moral thing to do? Lets agree!!

    So what about the gassing of the Kurds? No invasion then but they don’t have oil!!

    So please spare me the morality of us going to war over poor little Kuwait..

  24. @ Statgeek

    “Would it not suffice to just take a rough estimate of any given place being 35% of 2010 VI?”

    In practice, the best estimate wasn’t a straightforward proportional drop like this. The regression analysis gave the following equation:

    Current LD VI = 0.47 x (2020 LD Vote Share) – 3%

    As I said in the previous post, this equation does an excellent job of predicting Standard VI (SVI) figures in new constituencies (and I expect it to continue to do pretty well in Ashcroft’s Scottish polls). The problem is that no one treats SVI as providing an accurate picture of the outcome of a constituency poll. Everyone treats Constituency VI figures as being more informative.

    I *could* rerun the regressions using CVI figures instead and (…perhaps…) do a reasonable job in predicting future Ashcroft polls. But personally I am sceptical about the value of CVI figures, do I sm reluctant to get involved in that.

  25. MRNAMELESS

    “The first Gulf War was the UN operating exactly as it should. An international force defending a smaller nation against an unjustified invasion by a larger one, and pushing the invading country back to its own borders”
    _______

    Okay so the next time a big country invades a small country you get your name right up there to be called up?

  26. launch #
    ________

    Back to domestic polling. Greens still polling around the Lib/Dem VI.

    Not quite the blip some were hoping for.

  27. AC,

    I wouldn’t want to fight (although if we did have national service I would serve in a non-combat role) but that wasn’t my point. My point was that the Gulf War was just about the best possible outcome that could be achieved in 1991.

    The same thing would not work with Russia and Ukraine. Russia is powerful enough it would have a serious chance of retaliating strongly if that was tried, where Iraq didn’t.

  28. @Unicorn FPT

    Thanks interesting to see the differential effects of CVI.

    What I’m suspecting will happen in Scotland from looking at the local factors is a disproportionately high Lib Dem fall in seats where they were placed 2nd in 2010 while seats where they were 3rd/4th perform more like UNS and those where they are 1st they do a little better than UNS.

    Not sure how easy this would be model in England to see if a similar effect here could explain some of the Lib Dem incumbency numbers not adding up.

  29. I am in the unusual position of having supported the Iraq war despite not believing the government’s intelligence case in relation to WMD For me there were two main failings in Iraq Firstly a mishandling of the post-invasion reconstruction (largely a result of trying to do it with too few soldiers and too little money) Secondly a determination to withdraw before the task was complete, for domestic political reasons, leaving a fragile and vulnerable government largely to fend for itself.

    The premature withdrawal was, mostly by pure dumb bad luck, just before the Syrian situation bubbled over into Iraq. Syria was also mishandled, but not in my view in the way that most people think it was mishandled.

    For me, the true disaster was allowing Iran and Saudi too much influence in the region, and reducing Western influence too rapidly and to unequivocably. I accept that I am in a tiny minority in believing that.

  30. Natalie Bennett will be toast in leader debates if she can’t improve on her performance on Sunday politics, she was evasive, and left many questions unanswered. Caroline Lucas comes across more of a peoples person, Natalie came across like the rest of them in Westminster.
    I wonder if the public see some of their pro- European policies and some of their more “radical” policies, like allowing you to be members of a terrorist organisation, and getting rid of our military sector and importing arms, whist shrinking the military to virtually nothing, that their VI may suffer(a bit like happened to the BNP)

  31. MRNAMELESS

    I think my original comment is getting lost somewhere on the invasion of Kuwait when it was referring to the toppling of the despot over false information.

    I don’t agree with the invasion by Iraq but it’s the same old story as in the case of Israel (and they also said it) that today’s conflicts are over artificial boundaries created by the British and the French. It’s little wonder that yesterdays problems are now coming home to roost .

    I agree with you over Russia although I would miss out ( serious chance of retaliating strongly) and put in inevitable.

  32. AMBER STAR
    And he didn’t bang on about it because the explanation for the delay is that members of the investigating panel had been/ are ill.

    Fair point, and perhaps he doesn’t want to draw attention to who set the panel up in the first place and what deadlines were set.

  33. Those policy positions will stop the Greens ever being elected as a majority government, certainly. But we have to remember that the Greens are not trying to be, at least at this election. Each of the policies you list are minority positions, but supported, I would guess, by more people than the current Green VI. They’re trying to target a base which believes in those things, and are doing so basically effectively.

    Like UKIP, many of the Greens’ more radical policies are likely only to turn off those who would never vote for them anyway. With, of course, certain exceptions like zero growth or opposition to GM/nuclear power.

  34. Mr N

    I doubt if the term “nation” is particularly useful in describing states in the Middle East, where state borders were created by the imperial powers in their own interests.

    If the people of historical Kuwait did consider themselves to be a nation, they were doubtless considerably pissed off in 1922, when (as a British Protectorate) the British gave two-thirds of their territory to the Saudis.

    For all that, I supported the 1st Iraqi war, since Iraqi imperialism is just as bad as the British were.

  35. With the recent grilling the Greens have got in the media, it will be interesting if, like UKIP, all publicity is good publicity, or if it will quell the rise in support. The next week in polling will be very important information for the Greens’ long-term prospects, in terms of whether they can weather the media coverage of other parties.

  36. Well it looks like the weekend to start countering the Green surge looking at the main political stories over the weekend. It will be interesting to see if they are as resilient to these ‘scrutiny of policies’ stories as UKIP seemed to be, or if we will see their new supporters start looking elsewhere over the coming week.

  37. MRNAMELESS
    My point was that the Gulf War was just about the best possible outcome that could be achieved in 1991.

    Militarily, it was. I was a resident of Kuwait at the time along with my wife and two kids, but luckily we were on holiday in Europe when the invasion happened. A neighbouring family who were due to join us 2 days after the invasion were less lucky. His family left Kuwait just after we did but the husband was booked on the BA flight destroyed on the ground and was in hiding for some months before he and a colleague were able to escape to Saudi across the desert unscathed.

    The aftermath was less than optimal, though, with Mrs T freezing all UK accounts of Kuwaiti residents for some months and the follow up of the UN compensation commission was less than well administered to put it mildly.

  38. Be unsurprised if the Green VI hardly moves. Their supporters, like UKIP’s, are mistrustful of the media and will have some level of insulation against bad press. It may lower their ceiling among non-Green voters.

  39. @Neil A
    ‘I am in the unusual position of having supported the Iraq war despite not believing the government’s intelligence case in relation to WMD’

    I am surprised,given your professional background, that you saw nothing wrong in the UK and the US taking part in unprovoked aggression in flagrant breach of international law.
    In what way was the 2003 invasion less deserving of condemnation and subsequent punishment than Iraq’s own invasion of Kuwait in 1990 – or Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939 – or Russia’s annexation of the Crmea in 2014?

  40. David is Richard and I claim my £5.

    @Crossbat
    Of course you’re right about support for the Iraq war by the right at the time. I was against both Afghanistan and Iraq at the time (though I confess I got a bit wobbly after both succeeded militarily pretty quickly). You’re also right to point out that they didn’t start Islamic Jihadi operations, but many of us said at the time that they would be an effective recruiting sergeant and I think that has been wholly borne out by events.
    I also believe Blair was somewhere between deliberately misleading and caught up in his own messianic hubris: either way it was very shabby and has been a major contributor to the current deeply deplorable cynicism about the motives of politicians.
    The first Gulf war, as Mr N points out, was another matter entirely and AC’s comments about Kurds miss the mark.

  41. @Graham,

    In the right circumstances, I agree with regime change.

    International law is in my view a nonsense. All it really means is “anything you can get the permanent members of the security council to agree to”.

    The correct parallel is not Kuwait, Poland or Crimea, but Kosovo.

  42. @Guymonde,

    I don’t really understand the objections to the Afghan war. The US was, in effect, the subject of a direct attack by the government of Afghanistan. To oppose a military response seems odd, unless one takes that view that all military responses, including self-defence, are wrong (ie pure pacifism).

    I can understand the mentality that had some Americans advocating not ground invasion, but a campaign of complete annihilation from the air. I expect the Afghans are glad that wiser heads prevailed.

  43. Anyone who is sad enough to want to watch the Greek election results when they come in (like me) may find this link useful.

    http://ekloges.ypes.gr/current/v/public/index.html?lang=en#{%22cls%22:%22main%22,%22params%22:{}}

  44. @Neil A
    The Kosovo parrallel fails surely because there was no ongoing humanitarian disaster occurring in Iraq in 2003 – the gassing of the Kurds was years earlier.

    The implication of your satement – that international law counts for nothing – is that states are free to do whatever they can get away with in the context of the law of the jungle prevailing. What a waste of time the Nuremberg Trials were! Why bother at all with an International Court of Justice?
    I would add that had the League of Nations system still been operating the UK would almost certainly have had to leave in the same way that Japan did post its invasion of Manchuria , Italy post its invasion of Abysinnia and the USSR post its invasion of Finland.

  45. Barbazenzero?

    Which “Mrs T” are you refering to? It seems this is yet another stereotypically silly comment as ‘Mrs T’ was not even in office at the time, nor had she been for some time!

  46. @Graham,

    You have my views about international law about right.

    At the risk of invoking Godwin’s Law, it would have been illegal to invade Germany and liberate the death camps under international law (had the Germans not invaded Poland first).

  47. I feel like the press have played/are playing a very dangerous game this Parliament – deliberately pumping up UKIP with the assumption that they could deflate them by the time the election came around and now doing the same with the Greens.

  48. Re: International law, it seems absolutely wrong to me that the sole qualification of the Permanent Members of the UNSC is having won World War 2.

  49. “…taking part in unprovoked aggression in flagrant breach of international law.”

    But that’s the point. There is no clear view on the international legal aspects of this. It’s worth recalling that Iraq was in breach of direct UN resolutions, which some argue were sufficient to permit action without recourse to a UN vote. Others disagree. The top UK legal adviser believed the action legal, otherwise I don’t believe the MoD would have agreed to go in. I accept that there was a good deal of politics within all the decision making, but that doesn’t necessarily mean people deliberately lied or knowingly broke the law.

    I suspect the mistake was probably more down to long term shortcomings in intelligence. For years, the US and UK have been downgrading the old style human intelligence and opting instead for technology led eaves dropping and satellite based data gathering. This is fine, up to a point, but data needs analysing and surveillance needs corroborating. About the only groups they seem to be penetrating via human intel are green protestors, and in this case ‘penetrating’ really does seem an apt description.

    The security services had a lack of middle eastern analysts and language speakers, they had almost no spy networks on the ground, and as a result relied almost entirely on defectors for intelligence. The same people who have an interest in toppling Saddam. Their claims were not sufficiently tested against independent data.

    On the other side, Saddam himself had a vested interested in persuading the world he had WMD. He saw the threat of WMD as being a key part of his power base, and I would imagine he helped to feed some of the rumours. It’s very convenient to move empty tankers in and out of bunkers and make sure satellites can pick up the images.

    I don’t believe Blair simply wanted a war, but obviously mistakes were made. After the twin towers, my preference would have been containment and strangulation via other means, but you have to recall that we clearly had people who wished to inflict maximum harm on us, and Iraq did appear to have weapons that might have been suitable for large scale attack in certain circumstances, especially where suicide attacks are concerned.

    What I do pretty much despise, is looking back over a decade or so and declaring a deeply complex situation with no clearly ‘good’ resolution as being the fault of one individual who should be punished.

    I’m not a fan of Blair, and I think it’s right that his time in office will now be defined by our biggest foreign policy blunder for a generation, but beyond that, I think the armchair generals and sitting room lawyers need to draw a breath and calm down.

  50. @ Alec

    I would still maintain that Blair – and obviously Bush – was more guilty of one of the Nuremberg Indictments – that of Planning for War – than any of those convicted at Nuremberg with the possible exception of Ribbentrop. It is pretty clear that not even Goering wanted war in 1939 – yet Bush and Blair even refused to allow Hans Blix to complete his weapons inspections, giving every indication that they were determined to go ahead regardless of his findings.

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