Islamic State: Public mood shifts towards military action


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Indy Politics

When David Cameron wanted to strike President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria last year, the British public opposed intervention by a margin of two to one.

But the mood is different today and support for strikes on Isis positions in Iraq is growing, almost certainly in response to the execution of Western captives and the release of videos threatening hostages’ lives.

YouGov has been tracking public opinion on the issue for the past eight weeks, uncovering a clear shift in favour of bombing Isis fighters.

It found that in early August the public was divided over whether Britain should join US-led action, with 37 per cent in favour and 36 per cent against. A week later, the split had widened to a 6-point gap (41 per cent to 35 per cent) and the margin in favour stood at 10 points at the end of August (43 per cent to 33 per cent). By 15/16 September it had changed to a two-to-one majority (54 per cent to 25 per cent) in favour of air strikes.

An overwhelming majority backs airdrops of aid to besieged groups in Iraq. But the public remains divided over the merits of supplying arms to Kurdish and Iraqi forces fighting Isis.