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War With Iraq — The Ides Of March Poll

Published:17 March 2003
Fieldwork:14 - 16 March 2003
Source:Social Research Institute
Keywords:George W Bush, Iraq , Tony Blair, War
(Click on keywords to find related Research)

Tony Blair's standing with the electorate has suffered a blow in recent weeks — following high-profile disagreements with senior Labour MPs — with MORI's latest research showing a six per cent drop in his approval rating on Iraq.

Two weeks ago1 more than a third (36%) of the British public said they approved of the way he was handling the situation with Iraq. But in new research2 carried out for The Sun newspaper, that satisfaction has dropped to 30%. From these results, it would seem Blair's approval rating on the issue of Iraq has been affected by the 'Claire Short' affair as well public disquiet from other Labour MPs.

Support for military action remains highly conditional. Three quarters (74%) of people in Britain still support British troops joining any American-led military action against Iraq but only if it has UN backing, and UN inspectors find proof that Iraq is trying to hide weapons of mass destruction.

Without these two conditions, support drops to a quarter (26%) whilst opposition rises from 17% to 63%. However, these figures are slightly better for Tony Blair than those recorded by MORI two weeks ago when — without the two conditions being satisfied — support stood at 24% and opposition at 67%.

If only one of the two conditions is met, there is neither a majority in favour or opposed to war. If UN inspectors find proof but there is no second UN vote, 48% support action and 37% oppose (two weeks ago it was 46% and 41% respectively). If no proof is found but the UN does vote for military action, support stands at 46% and opposition at 41% (last time, it was 41% and 46% respectively).

Professor Sir Robert Worcester, chairman of MORI, said: "The poll reports a softening of opposition to the war but at the same time even greater dissatisfaction with the way the prime minister is handling it."

"This probably stems from a combination of the threat of some cabinet ministers and other Labour MPs to resign from the government if British troops go to war without a second UN vote."

  1. MORI Telephone Surveys interviewed a representative quota sample of 985 British adults aged 18+ on 28 February-2 March 2003. Data are weighted to match the population profile.
  2. MORI Telephone Surveys interviewed a representative quota sample of 968 British adults aged 18+ on 14-16 March 2003. Data are weighted to match the population profile.

Technical details

MORI Telephone Surveys interviewed a representative quota sample of 968 British adults aged 18+ on 14-16 March 2003. Data are weighted to match the population profile.

Topline Results

Q Do you approve or disapprove of the way the President of America, George W. Bush, is handling the current situation with Iraq (the country ruled by Saddam Hussein)?

  %
Approve 21
Disapprove 65
Don't know 14
Net approve -44

Q Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is handling the current situation with Iraq?

  %
Approve 30
Disapprove 54
Don't know 16
Net approve -24

Q Would you support or oppose British troops joining any American-led military action against Iraq in each of the following circumstances?

The UN inspectors find proof that Iraq is trying to hide weapons of mass destruction, and the UN security council votes in favour of military action

  %
Support 74
Oppose 17
Don't know 7

The UN inspectors find proof that Iraq is trying to hide weapons of mass destruction, but the UN security council does not vote in favour of military action

  %
Support 48
Oppose 37
Don't know 15

The UN inspectors do not find proof that Iraq is trying to hide weapons of mass destruction, but the UN security council votes in favour of military action

  %
Support 46
Oppose 41
Don't know 12

The UN inspectors do not find proof that Iraq is trying to hide weapons of mass destruction, and the UN security council does not vote in favour of military action

  %
Support 26
Oppose 63
Don't know 11
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