David Ledden Debunks British Press Claims of Pro-War Backlash

“BACKLASH!” declared the London’s Daily Mail after a new poll revealed that 75% of Britons now support a war on Iraq. But while the right-wing media trumpets this purported turnaround in public sentiment, it fails to accurately qualify the truth behind the figures. Crucially, support for war is still closely tied with both a UN mandate for war, and UN arms inspections. The figures actually show that 70% of British people oppose military action against Iraq without the backing of the United Nations, and 67% of those polled oppose war if the UN inspectors currently in Iraq turn up empty-handed.

“BACKLASH!” declared the Daily Mail, one of London’s right-wing papers, this morning after a new Mori poll* revealed that 75% of Britons now support a war on Iraq. But a closer examination of the survey shows that little has changed in the public mood.

While the right-wing media trumpets this sudden turnaround in public sentiment it fails to accurately qualify the truth behind the figures.

The survey does show that of 985 people surveyed 75% support war, but “this support is conditional both on UN inspectors finding proof that Iraq is trying to hide weapons of mass destruction, and on the UN Security Council voting in favour of military action.”

Mori analysis goes even further: “In the absence of these two conditions, only a quarter (24%) would support British involvement, and opposition rises from 18% to 67%.” *

Crucially, support for war is still closely tied with both a UN mandate for war, and UN arms inspections.

The new figures show that 70% of British people oppose military action against Iraq without the backing of the United Nations, and 67% of those polled oppose war if the UN inspectors currently in Iraq turn up empty-handed.

The Prime Minister still rates poorly over his handling of the crisis.

When asked by Mori: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is handling the current situation with Iraq? 53% of those polled disapproved of his actions.

But Blair can take heart that his rating is still above that of President Bush who received a 65% disapproval rating of his handling of the current crisis in Iraq.


*Mood Shifts On War With Iraq, http://www.mori.com/polls/2003/iraq2.shtml

Author: David Ledden

News Service: TheExperiment

URL: http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1910