When we asked Party member respondents about British intervention in Iraq during July, fewer than half of them supported training the Iraqi military, arming them, sending in special forces, attacking ISIS with cruise missiles and drones, and launching planes to conduct air strikes against them. The table is below.
Our survey of last week now finds more of those respondents for such action than against. True, the proportion of those who want to see ground troops deployed remains very small – 11 per cent now, five per cent then. But the proportion of those who believe that we shouldn’t get involved in Iraq has tumbled from one in three to scarcely more than one in ten.
Intervention isn’t a black-and-white matter; there are shades of grey. There will always be argument back and forth about how grey, but it can’t be denied that the rise in support for these military options shows a significant party member shift in favour of intervention. It shouldn’t be necessary to add that what can move one way one month can move the other the next, but it probably is.
There are other changes, too. The proportion willing to co-operate with Iran is up from about one in four to roughly one in three. That supporting the division of Iraq is down from about two in five to about one in three. Almost half believe that asylum should be offered to Iraqi Christians.
A reminder: the question was: “What should the UK be prepared to do in response to the Islamic State insurgency in Iraq?” There were about 750 party member responses to the survey. These are tested against the responses of a control panel supplied by YouGov. Here is the July table so that more detailed comparisons can be made.