Few believe air strikes in Syria will make Britain safer
Jeremy Corbyn’s overall satisfaction ratings fall
New polling from Ipsos MORI reveals that few Britons believe air strikes in Syria against ISIS will make Britain safer from terrorism. The survey, taken after the House of Commons voted to approve the air strikes, shows just one in 11 (9%) think the air strikes will make Britain safer while most of the public are evenly split between thinking the action will either make Britain less safe or make no difference at all (44% each).
Londoners, young people, women and Labour voters are most likely to think the airstrikes will Britain less safe.
When it comes to how the leaders have handled the Syria crisis, the public show dissatisfaction with both David Cameron and even more so with Jeremy Corbyn. Thirty-eight percent say they are satisfied with the Prime Minister’s handling of the crisis with half (53%) dissatisfied, but the Labour leader does worse, with three in ten (29%) satisfied and 55% dissatisfied. There is stronger support for each leader from their own parties however. Two in three (66%) Conservatives say they are satisfied with David Cameron and one in four (26%) are dissatisfied. Among Labour supporters, half (52%) are satisfied with Jeremy Corbyn and one in three (35%) dissatisfied.
The public are also evenly split on Hilary Benn following his speech during the Syria parliamentary debate. Thirty-five percent say they are satisfied with the Shadow Foreign Secretary while 36% are dissatisfied, and 29% are unsure. Hilary Benn does slightly better among Conservative voters (48% satisfied) than Labour voters (31%).
Ipsos MORI’s long-term satisfaction ratings with the leaders show little change for David Cameron, but a fall for Jeremy Corbyn (both receive negative net ratings overall). Four in ten (41%) say they are satisfied with David Cameron’s job as Prime Minister (up one point) and 55% are dissatisfied (no change). One in three (33%) are satisfied with how Jeremy Corbyn is doing his job as Labour leader (down four points) and 50% are dissatisfied (down ten points). Amongst their party supporters David Cameron performs better than Jeremy Corbyn with 81% of Conservatives satisfied with his performance while 56% of Labour supporters are satisfied with Mr Corbyn.
The public are still yet to become familiar with Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron with one in four (24%) satisfied, 31% dissatisfied and 45% saying they don’t know. When it comes to Nigel Farage one in three (33%) Britons are satisfied with him doing his job as UKIP leader and just under half (48%) are dissatisfied.
Economic optimism has slightly improved from November following George Osborne’s Autumn Statement announcement. One in three (34%) believe the economy will improve over the next 12 months (up three points) while 35% believe it will get worse (down five points), giving an Ipsos MORI Economic Optimism Index of -1.
Gideon Skinner, Head of Political Research at Ipsos MORI, said:
“We know the public are more worried than before about the threat of a terrorist attack, and few are convinced that the air strikes will make Britain safer – although they are divided on whether it will actually make Britain more of a target. Satisfaction with the way the party leaders are handling the crisis splits broadly on party lines, although Hilary Benn gets higher ratings among non-Labour voters. Meanwhile, our long-term trends on overall satisfaction ratings show it’s not unusual for opposition leaders to find it hard to get through to the public – but Jeremy Corbyn is dividing opinion more quickly than most, and has clearly taken a hit in his scores this month.”
Technical noteIpsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,040 adults aged 18+ across Great Britain. Interviews were conducted by telephone 12-14 December 2015. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population.