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Pollwatch: Russia-Ukraine snap polling

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Chris Hopkins Political Research Director 27/01/2022

Two in five say NATO military response is justified in light of Russian invasion of Ukraine

Two in five UK adults (41%) believe that a NATO military defence of Ukraine would be justified in light of yesterday morning’s invasion by Russia, according to a new snap poll by Savanta ComRes.

This snapshot of public opinion shows some broad support for a military intervention.

A similar proportion say that they expect it to happen anyway (38%), whilst one third actively want NATO to engage in a military defence of Ukraine (32%). The proportion who say that they want a military response rises to over a third of Conservative voters (37%).

Despite this, Brits are more likely to say that they want economic sanctions against Russian leaders (53%) and Russian businesses (50%).

Fewer than one in ten say that they want no response from NATO to the invasion (8%).

Eight in ten UK adults say that Putin is ‘dangerous’ (82%) with opinion more divided on whether the Russian President is strong (52%) or not (36%).

When asked about existing sanctions imposed by the UK government, over half of UK adults say that they don’t go far enough (55%), with fewer than one in five saying that they are ‘about right’ (18%).

Some have suggested a lack of coordination from the West in response to Russia’s threats and subsequent invasion of Ukraine, and almost half of Brits believe that the UK would be more powerful in this situation as part of the EU (46%), with just one third saying we are more powerful as an independent nation (32%).

Those who say that the UK would be more powerful as part of the EU include one in five (19%) who voted to leave the EU in 2016.

And, just three in ten say that Boris Johnson is the right kind of leader to navigate the crisis (31%), although over half of 2019 Conservative voters believe that he is (55%). Over half of UK adults say that Johnson is the wrong type of leader (54%).

Commenting on the findings, Chris Hopkins, Political Research Director at Savanta ComRes says:

“With the situation in Ukraine developing rapidly, this snapshot of public opinion shows some broad support for a military intervention, although Brits would much prefer to see economic sanctions against Russia’s leaders and businesses – albeit, stronger than the ones already imposed. Further, while a third say that they want to see military intervention from the West, a higher figure feel that one would be justified, and that’s ultimately what could matter more when it comes to public opinion, as the Prime Minister will need to balance the mood of the nation with a defence of an ally.”

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