NEW YORK -- There is strong public support in both Britain and America for air strikes in Iraq, according to separate polls conducted on different sides of the Atlantic.
Despite the experience of 2003, an invasion that remains unpopular with both populaces (only 32% per cent of US voters say it was the right thing to do, while 53% of Britons think Iraq invasion was wrong), the emergence of the Islamic State, formerly ISIS, as well as the plight of ethnic minorities appears to have softened opinion towards resuming military action in the increasingly beleaguered state.
Barack Obama sanctioned air strikes against the radical Islamists over the weekend, a move backed by Americans, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, with 58% saying they approved of the President’s move against the insurgents. Twenty-four per cent said they opposed the air strikes.
In the UK, which has not authorised military action beyond providing humanitarian aid and a handful of Tornados for surveillance, the figure is lower but still substantial, with 45% of Britons backing air strikes by RAF jets, with 37% opposed, according to a ComRes survey for ITV.
Though the 2003 invasion still casts a long shadow over foreign policy emanating from both Washington and London, there appears to be a remarkable degree of political consensus in the US – an event almost unseen during Obama’s tenure - with 66% of Democrats and 65% of Republicans supporting the move to authorise strikes.
In Westminster, last year’s historic vote that arrested plans to launch military strikes against Syria is unlikely to be repeated, according to one senior Conservative, who said on Tuesday that MPs would vote in favour of Britain taking direct military action in Iraq in order to prevent Islamic State committing further atrocities.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Aug. 10-11 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.
ComRes interviewed 1,088 British adults online on August 12. Data were weighted to be representative of all British adults.