YouGov on Israel

The Telegraph have published the most detailed poll so far on attitudes towards the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah. As in ICM’s poll earlier this week, the survey suggests there is little public backing for Israel’s actions; only 17% of people think that Israel’s response to the kidnapping of her soldiers has been proportionate, with 63% saying it is a disproportionate response. Only 15% of people think that Israel is indeed doing all it can to minimise civilian casualties (59% disagree), and 49% of people think that it is fair to say that Israel is targetting the whole of Lebanon, not just Hizbollah (23% disagree).

Asked about Hizbollah and Hamas, only 9% of people think it is possible for Israel to stop their attacks using armed force and only 27% of people think that the governments of Lebanon and Palestine would have the ability to stop the attacks if they wanted to (personally I wouldn’t have conbined the questions – the situation with the Lebanese government and Hizbollah is obviously somewhat different to that in Palestine where Hamas is the elected government). Only 12% of people think that Israel’s attacks into Lebanon will weaken support for Hizbollah, with a majority (54%) thinking it will increase their support in the Arab world.

Looking towards the future people are broadly pessimistic. Very few (10%) think the present conflict will make Israel more secure, with 40% thinking it will make the situation worse. Looking 10-15 years down the line 72% of people think Israel will be under attack as at present or in an even worse situation. Only 4% think she will be at peace with secure borders…the same proportion of people who think Israel will have ceased to exist.

Closer to home, 53% of people think the Blair government’s handling of the affair has been poor or very poor, with only 6% thinking it has been good or excellent. These figures are only slightly better than opinions of how the US government has handled the affair (and we have seen in the past the low opinion that the British public hold of the US government). Only 15% of people think Tony Blair is making up his own mind and taking his own line, with 64% thinkling he is doing whatever the Americans tell him.

ICM Voting Intention

ICM’s monthly voting intention figures are out – these are from the same poll that was reported on Tuesday buit have been held back two days for some reason. The topline figures with changes from the last ICM poll in the Sunday Telegraph are CON 39% (+3), LAB 35% (nc), LDEM 17%(-1). The vote changes referred to in the Guardian, incidentally, are drawn from comparisons with the last ICM poll in the Guardian, slightly earlier than their Sunday Telegraph poll.

Whereas once the four main polling companies used to have their polls spread out nicely across the month, they seem to have all grouped in the first and last weeks of the month, meaning that this poll is actually the first measure of voting intentions we’ve had since Populus at the start of the month, before the trouble in Lebanon, the arrest of Lord Levy and David Cameron’s “hug-a-hoodie” speech. The re-appearance of the loans for peerages issue and the effect of their stance on Israel do not appear to have damaged support for Labour (or in the case of Lebanon, at least not yet). The Conservatives appear to have gained support, possibly as a result of falling support for “others”, who appear to have dipped below 10% again.

The level of Lib Dem support is the lowest for over four years in an ICM poll, despite the fact that Ming Campbell’s own ratings did appear to be rising. A foreign affairs crisis is seen by many as an opportunity for Campbell, who is considered an expert on foreign policy, to shine – but yet the Lib Dems are down to 17%. I had thought that the figures in the ICM poll last month, which showed the Liberal Democrats on a lower level of support than during their leadership crisis in January, was likely to be a blip – it simply seemed unlikely that they would be in worse position now than when they were leaderless and embroiled in sex scandals and infighting – this poll however does support ICM’s findings last month.

Without any other recent polls with which to compare trends it unwise to read too much into a single poll – YouGov’s monthly poll should be out on Friday and will allow us to see if there are similar trends there.


…but if they must have it, shove it in the Dome.

A YouGov poll for the Evening Standard suggests that only 33% of people support a “supercasino offering unlimited jackpots” being opened in London, with 49% of Londoners opposing it. However, asked where in London they would prefer such a casino to be sited in London, the Dome was overwhelmingly favoured over the other two London sites on the shortlist, leading Rainham Marshes and the Wembley stadium complex by 52% to 10% for the other two sites.

63% of respondents thought that opening new casinos would increase problem gambling, and 77% of Londoners said they would probably or definitely never visit a London supercasino. 2% said they would certainly go regularly, 8% said they might go occasionally and 11% said they would certainly try it once.

Asked if they supported a smaller casino opening “in your local area”, 53% were opposed with 25% in favour.

A new ICM poll commissioned by the No2ID campaign is the first to show a majority of people opposed to the introduction of ID cards. I normally advise some caution on polls commissioned by pressure groups trying to push an agenda, but No2ID’s approach has been admirable – over the last year they have periodically commissioned ICM to ask a straight identically worded question to produce solid trend data.

The latest poll shows that 47% of people think the introduction of ID cards would be a good idea, 51% think they would be a bad idea – a straight 5% swing compared to the last ICM/No2ID poll in February and the first time (apart from a very strangely worded BPIX question a year ago) that a poll has shown a majority opposed.

ICM also asked about attitudes towards the National Identity Scheme and the proposal that “everyone is required to attend an interview to give personal details about themselves for use by the police, tax authorities, and all other government departments.” 41% of people thought this was a good idea, 56% thought it a bad idea.

UPDATE: Lovely response from the government in the Evening Standard: “a Home Office spokesman said the poll might have given a more positive result if it had focused on the benefits of ID cards”. Yes, the poll almost certainly would have given a more positive response if, instead of using neutral wording, it have used leading text extolling the virtues of the ID cards.

Following Communicate Research’s poll at the weekend, ICM’s latest figures also show public disapproval of Tony Blair’s close relationship with President Bush. 63% of respondents thought that Blair had tied Britain too closely to the US. This included 54% of Labour supporters and 68% of Conservative voters (though this is likely to be largely a politically partisan answer – generally speaking Conservative voters are more pro-American than those of other parties). 83% of Liberal Democrat voters, who tend to be most anti-American, thought the present relationship between Britain and the USA was too close.

There is little support for Israel’s present actions – only 22% of people think that Israel’s bombing of Lebanon is proportional, while 61% think she has overreacted.

The poll also showed support for the war in Iraq dropping to a new post-war low – 36% of people now say the war was justified, compared to 51% who say it was unjustified (the wording of ICM’s question, which specificially mentions the removal of Saddam Hussein as a war objective, means that their figures show much higher support for the war than other pollsters. The downwards trend in support though is the same for all companies figures). 36% of people think that Britain’s contining presence in Iraq is making the situation worse, compared to only 19% who think the progress is being made. The comparable figures in Afghanistan are 29% and 23%.

Overall 69% of people think that Britain’s armed forces are now overstretched.