Less than a quarter think Boris Johnson and the UK Government have handled the situation in Afghanistan well, but they’ve done a better job than Biden

As the US and UK leave Afghanistan, we look at how the public think the situation has been handled

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs
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After the final flights have left Afghanistan, new polling by Ipsos MORI shows Britons are significantly more likely to say the Prime Minister, his Government and various politicians have done a bad job in handling the current situation in the country. 

More than 4 in 10 say Boris Johnson (41%), the Government (44%), Dominic Raab (44%) and Priti Patel (42%) have done a bad job in the way they have handled the current situation in Afghanistan. A third (33%) say the same for Keir Starmer. However, no UK politician or institution is viewed as harshly as the President of the USA, Joe Biden. Six in 10 (59%) believe he has done a bad job. 

In fact, as 23% say Boris Johnson has done a good job, he received the best net score among options listed in the survey of -18. The Government received a score of -21, similar to Starmer’s -20. Dominic Raab and Priti Patel receive net scores of -29, the lowest among Britons included in the survey. President Biden receives a net score of -47. 

Handling of the situation in AfghanistanOpinions of Boris Johnson and the Government are, unsurprisingly, more favourable among those who voted for them in the 2019 General Election. Four in 10 (39%) see both as having handled the situation in Afghanistan well while 26% say the Prime Minister has done a bad job and 28% say the same for the Government. 

Handling of the situation in Afghanistan - by 2019 GE voteHowever, the proportion who say Johnson and the Government have done a bad job increases significantly among 2019 Labour voters, 59% say the Prime Minister has not handled the situation well while 61% view the Government in the same way. 

Opinions of President Biden are similar across party lines, 11% of Conservative voters say he has done a good job while 12% of Labour voters say the same. Conservative supporters are significantly more likely to say he has done a bad job, 71% compared to 59% of Labour voters. 

Keiran Pedley, Research Director at Ipsos MORI, said:

The British public take a dim view of how its government and leading politicians have handled the situation in Afghanistan. Fewer than one in four think the Prime Minister and his government have done a good job, with almost twice as many saying the opposite. However, the strongest criticism from Britons is reserved for President Biden, with 6 in 10 thinking he has done a ‘bad job’ handling the situation, a view shared across party lines.

Technical note:

  • Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 2,017 Britons aged 16-75. Interviews were conducted online on the 27th August, 2021. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.
     

The author(s)

  • Keiran Pedley Public Affairs
  • Cameron Garrett Public Affairs

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