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Spectator/YouGov poll (dramatic shift in Britons view of terrorism)
The Spectator (U.K.) ^ | 08/19/06 | Allister Heath

Posted on 08/17/2006 10:59:34 AM PDT by Pokey78

When it came to fighting terrorists, Count Alexandre de Marenches, the legendary former head of France’s intelligence services, knew what he was talking about. In a prescient book published just after the end of the Cold War, he was the first to warn that a fourth world war had already begun — a war waged by ‘small, highly deadly units of terrorists’ with ‘the very real prospect of ending civilisation, at least Western civilisation, as we know it’. A lone voice, Marenches was ignored in Britain and America; it was far easier to believe in reassuring theories about the ‘end of history’ and the supposedly inevitable victory of liberal democracy in the great ideological conflicts of the 20th century.

But times have changed, and so has the state of public opinion. The dramatic extent of this shift is revealed in an exclusive new Spectator/YouGov poll which demolishes much of the received wisdom about the public’s perception of the struggle against terrorism, and shows surprisingly high levels of hawkishness. Almost three quarters of the British public are now convinced that we are fighting a new world war against extremist Islamic terrorists — and although they may not recognise the names, on this issue at least, most are in the same camp as leading US conservatives such as Eliot Cohen, Norman Podhoretz and Newt Gingrich. The public is also deeply concerned at how this new conflict is developing, with four out of five judging the West to be losing and the terrorists to be winning. Almost nobody believes that last week’s foiled plot to blow up a large number of transatlantic flights will be the last such attempt, or that the police and security services will be as effective next time; 86 per cent of respondents believe that Britain is likely to suffer a major terrorist attack within the next year.

What will stun Westminster most, however, is that the public is convinced that the key to winning this new global war against terrorists lies in a much more aggressive foreign policy, as well as in severe reductions in civil liberties in Britain. One of the most important lessons from the Spectator/YouGov poll is the growing chasm between the views of large portions of the chattering classes, including most of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, and the views of the population at large.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the public’s extraordinary dismissal of civil libertarian arguments. In a bitter blow to the Conservatives and the Labour Left, who have long opposed the policy, the public supports Tony Blair’s favourite option of detaining suspects without charge for up to 90 days by three to one (69 per cent to 23 per cent). When asked whether Britain should change its foreign policy in response to terrorism, just 12 per cent say that it should be made more conciliatory, against 53 per cent who say it should become more aggressive and 24 per cent who don’t want to change the current relatively tough stance.

Perhaps most controversially of all, the Spectator/YouGov poll reveals that by a majority of 55 per cent to 29 per cent the public supports the introduction of ‘passenger profiling’ by the authorities in airports. There is also mass support for tougher security at airports, regardless of inconvenience: almost two thirds say they feel safer as a result of increased airport security.

Despite endorsing passenger profiling — which would inevitably mean that Muslims and people of Middle Eastern and South Asian appearance would be singled out — half of respondents said that most British Muslims are moderates, which is good news for the future of community relations. However, over a quarter (28 per cent) disagreed and almost as many said they didn’t know; the mixed messages from Islamic ‘community leaders’ in the aftermath of last week’s terror plots — when their condemnations of terrorism were accompanied by carefully worded disclaimers, as well as by the increasing support within the community for the view that 9/11 and 7/7 had nothing to do with Muslims — may have helped fuel suspicions.

Another fascinating revelation is that 73 per cent of respondents agree that ‘the West is in a global war against Islamic terrorists who threaten our way of life’ while only 8 per cent think that ‘Islamic terrorism is a regional problem that poses no real threat to the West’.

This could be good news for Israel if its struggle with Hezbollah and Hamas is seen as part of a wider conflict. People are increasingly preparing for a long, bitter and potentially bloody struggle, with 60 per cent of respondents saying they expect the threat from terror groups to worsen over time. Only 6 per cent of respondents said they thought the conflict against Islamic terrorists would last five years or less; only 18 per cent believe that it will be over within ten years.

The good news for the government is that, again contrary to the widespread scepticism of sections of the media, fewer than a quarter of respondents accuse British politicians of deliberately exaggerating the threat; and only a small majority think Tony Blair should have returned home to oversee the emergency. However, they do think that more should have been done by the government to increase airport security before 10 August; personal experience combined with tabloid stories demonstrating how easy it has been to thwart security will have bolstered this view.

However, in one crucial respect the findings of the poll make dreadful reading for the hawks and supporters of Tony Blair’s close alliance with the White House. When offered the choice of maintaining the close relationship with the US, switching to closer links with Europe or an unspecified third course of action (which could be an independent foreign policy), the public turned en masse against America. A mere 14 per cent of respondents believe that Britain should continue to align herself closely with the US, against 45 per cent who said that we should position ourselves closer to Europe instead, and 27 per cent who support neither option. The public believes it can have it both ways: it wants to intensify the campaign against terrorists, but it wants to do so in concert with Europe, not the US. The poll reveals that the public is able to separate its hawkish and interventionist views from support for America. The difficulty, of course, is that there would be very few, if any, takers among the mainstream European political establishment for the aggressive foreign policy the British public advocates, and especially not in the largest countries.

Stephan Shakespeare, co-chief executive of YouGov, has an explanation for this apparent inconsistency. ‘The British people now feel that they are in a global war with terrorism, and one that will last ten years or more. But that doesn’t mean they have bought into the American “neocon” view of the future — even though they recognise the threat, and want a more aggressive response from the UK,’ he says. Instead, Shakespeare says, the public would rather that this more robust response from Britain came ‘from within the group of European nations rather than with the United States. They appreciate the scale of the conflict we are in, but see it as safer to be identified with Europe.’ There are strong similarities here with the public’s initial support of the war in Iraq. ‘In the period before the Iraq war, people approved of military action, so long as it was sanctioned by the United Nations. That was a similar attempt to accept the reality of the danger, without accepting all the consequences of being out there exposed alongside the leading player,’ Shakespeare says.

A complementary explanation to Shakespeare’s is that the British have unfortunately become increasingly anti-American, or at least dislike President George W. Bush, and are therefore reluctant to be seen to be closely involved with the US. On balance, however, the Spectator/YouGov poll reveals a British public increasingly convinced that it is involved in a war against Islamic terrorists, and determined to do what it takes to win. Politicians foolish enough to expect to gain mileage by downplaying the threat from the extremists will be in for a nasty surprise.

View the poll results

Allister Heath is associate editor of The Spectator and deputy editor of the Business. YouGov interviewed 1,696 respondents online, weighted to be representative of Great Britain’s population, on 14 and 15 August 2006. YouGov abides by the rules of the British Polling Council.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; United Kingdom; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: eurabia; gwot; londonairlineplot

1 posted on 08/17/2006 10:59:35 AM PDT by Pokey78
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To: Pokey78

WHOA I wouldn't have guessed those results. Maybe this last plot was the straw that breaks the camel's back. The liberals both here and there should take notice. Play time with terrorists is over.


2 posted on 08/17/2006 11:23:59 AM PDT by letsgonova19087
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To: Pokey78

It's a YouGov poll. Consider the source.


3 posted on 08/17/2006 11:24:47 AM PDT by mewzilla (Property must be secured or liberty cannot exist. John Adams)
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To: mewzilla

I'm gonna take the risk of sounding stupid by saying who is YouGov?


4 posted on 08/17/2006 11:29:00 AM PDT by letsgonova19087
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To: Pokey78

Isn't this represent classic bipolar behavior?


5 posted on 08/17/2006 11:30:46 AM PDT by OldArmy52 (China & India: Doing jobs Americans don't want to do (manuf., engineering, accounting, etc))
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To: Pokey78
‘The British people now feel that they are in a global war with terrorism, and one that will last ten years or more. But that doesn’t mean they have bought into the American “neocon” view of the future — even though they recognise the threat, and want a more aggressive response from the UK,’ he says. Instead, Shakespeare says, the public would rather that this more robust response from Britain came ‘from within the group of European nations rather than with the United States. They appreciate the scale of the conflict we are in, but see it as safer to be identified with Europe.

Yeah, our friends and allies....

6 posted on 08/17/2006 11:35:25 AM PDT by 300magnum (We know that if evil is not confronted, it gains in strength and audacity, and returns to strike us)
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To: Pokey78
the chattering classes

I like that!

7 posted on 08/17/2006 11:41:28 AM PDT by razorback-bert
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To: letsgonova19087

You Gov is a Net based polling Co.

they consistently come up with anti US results.


8 posted on 08/17/2006 11:52:13 AM PDT by crazycat
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To: crazycat

I would say these results are positive rather than negative...wouldn't you?


9 posted on 08/17/2006 11:54:29 AM PDT by letsgonova19087
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To: Pokey78
I'm convinced that a big part of the anti-American sentiment of Europeans comes from the poor representation they see from our various entertainers as well as those travelers who can afford to visit Europe. Both groups, professional entertainers and wealthy tourists, are providing only a marginal representation of America. It's likely that representation is a negative one.

Am I completely off base, or is this thinking in the right direction?

10 posted on 08/17/2006 11:56:29 AM PDT by TChris (Banning DDT wasn't about birds. It was about power.)
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To: letsgonova19087

Of course they're positive. I agree. The West has to wake up to the poisonous serpent under its bed.


11 posted on 08/17/2006 11:57:19 AM PDT by Brad from Tennessee (Anything a politician gives you he has first stolen from you)
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To: Pokey78
A mere 14 per cent of respondents believe that Britain should continue to align herself closely with the US, against 45 per cent who said that we should position ourselves closer to Europe

You want to be tougher on terrorists, so you want to dump America and work with the French? Good luck with that.

The Brits need to wake up and realize that their bad impression of America stems from two things: the relentlessly negative image of the US being pounded out every day by both the American MSM and their own leftist media, including the BBC (which actually gets tax money to spew its pro-Islamist, anti-US & Israel propaganda) and the fact that doing the tough jobs never makes anyone "popular" with highly self-regarding elites. They'd never deign to be seen with the Roto-Rooter man, but when the sewage is up to their knees, guess who they call?

Bush inherited a giant stable full of horse manure from the previous administration, and the people who loved that administration now blame him for the smell as he has to clean it out. They should instead be eternally grateful that someone finally had the gumption to pick up the damn shovel.

12 posted on 08/17/2006 12:18:14 PM PDT by HHFi
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To: HHFi

"They'd never deign to be seen with the Roto-Rooter man, but when the sewage is up to their knees, guess who they call?"

Best quote of the day. Def. gonna have to remember that one.


13 posted on 08/17/2006 12:21:25 PM PDT by letsgonova19087
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To: TChris
No doubt we Brits have some big problems with the way Hollywood portrays America..... 'U571' an example....so it was the Americans who captured that Enigma code machine and saved us from the Uboats...It never happened it was the Royal Navy.... and more recently and even worse.. the 2 American pilots that saved us from the nazis and won the Battle of Britain .... having met Battle of Britain pilot Robert Stanford Tuck, 'Fly for your Life' (recommended reading) in the early 1980s and having a father who was a WWII pilot B24s and Lancasters its difficult to respond to such drivel.
You guys don't need to claim our victories for gawds sake you have enough of your own heroes.We here know well of the 8th Army Air Force and the part they played over nazi Gemany, Omaha beach and the courage shown there and the fight to retake the pacific islands. Best thing the US could do to improve relations with more of us Brits is to stop Hollywood presenting your history with so many untruths for no other reason than the need for a quick buck. Nothing wrong with making a quick buck unless you undermine your countries credibility by doing so.
Going to watch Blackhawk Down over the weekend excellent film portraying some very courageous actions Gary and Randy earning Postum CMoHs. Its a fair balanced film politically right and it makes you think.No credibility Lost there thank god .
14 posted on 08/17/2006 4:55:50 PM PDT by Brit1 ('Suppers Ready.' (23 mins and 32 seconds of Heaven))
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To: HHFi
We are already awake and nobody here wants to work with French at least not in any military way.

Their wines ok but nothing else.And as I keep saying on FR there's a 20 sea miles between us and 'them'and the vast majority of us here are very grateful for it.
15 posted on 08/17/2006 5:10:26 PM PDT by Brit1 ('Suppers Ready.' (23 mins and 32 seconds of Heaven))
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To: Pokey78

"Almost three quarters of the British public are now convinced that we are fighting a new world war against extremist Islamic terrorists — and although they may not recognise the names, on this issue at least, most are in the same camp as leading US conservatives such as Eliot Cohen, Norman Podhoretz and Newt Gingrich. The public is also deeply concerned at how this new conflict is developing, with four out of five judging the West to be losing and the terrorists to be winning."
- Wow.


16 posted on 08/17/2006 7:39:34 PM PDT by WOSG
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To: HHFi
the relentlessly negative image of the US being pounded out every day by both the American MSM and their own leftist media, including the BBC

I've been around long enough to know to read a thread before responding in case someone has already gotten it right.

Congratulations. :o)

17 posted on 08/17/2006 7:48:58 PM PDT by eddie willers
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To: Brit1

I know you've been here a few months already, however, welcome to FR!


18 posted on 08/17/2006 7:49:17 PM PDT by getmeouttaPalmBeachCounty_FL ( **Hunter-Tancredo-Weldon-Hayworth 4 President** I get it, Glenn.)
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To: TChris

"I'm convinced that a big part of the anti-American sentiment of Europeans comes from the poor representation they see from our various entertainers as well as those travelers who can afford to visit Europe. "

A lot of it is simply media bias. The media is leftwing, and is reflexively anti-American. When the media treats Bush as a dangerous cowboy, etc. and our own Hollywood nitwits confirm that prejudice with their own expressions, it influences the Europeans.


19 posted on 08/17/2006 7:50:19 PM PDT by WOSG
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To: HHFi

"The Brits need to wake up and realize that their bad impression of America stems from two things: the relentlessly negative image of the US being pounded out every day by both the American MSM and their own leftist media, including the BBC (which actually gets tax money to spew its pro-Islamist, anti-US & Israel propaganda) and the fact that doing the tough jobs never makes anyone "popular" with highly self-regarding elites. They'd never deign to be seen with the Roto-Rooter man, but when the sewage is up to their knees, guess who they call?"

WELL SAID.


20 posted on 08/17/2006 7:51:43 PM PDT by WOSG
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To: OldArmy52

I would say more schizophrenic behavior than bipolar.


21 posted on 08/17/2006 7:52:44 PM PDT by Uncle Vlad
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To: Brit1
When John Lennon wrote _The English army had just one the war_ in "A Day In The Life", I wanted to say "Hey....WE won that thing!" ;-)
22 posted on 08/17/2006 7:53:19 PM PDT by eddie willers
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To: Brit1
Arrrggghhh......proofread, proofread! "The English army had just one won the war"
23 posted on 08/17/2006 7:56:32 PM PDT by eddie willers
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To: Pokey78
They understand perfectly, but being cowards they would prefer that the Islamic terrorists murder us rather than them.
24 posted on 08/17/2006 8:00:09 PM PDT by JasonC
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To: TChris

Having once lived in France for a decade, I can confirm that their view of America is 50 years out of date.

There IS the problem of American toursists, though. Since Americans are far richer than the French, relatively "low-class" Americans can travel abroad... to the detriment of relations between our two countries.

I lived on the French Riviera and was constantly humiliated by being associated with low-class, ignorant American tourists.

Hell, I hated them too...


25 posted on 08/17/2006 8:05:10 PM PDT by Philistone (Turning lead into gold...)
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To: Brit1

"U571' an example....so it was the Americans who captured that Enigma code machine and saved us from the Uboats.."

Hollywood is awful with history.
There have been a lot better sub movies than that one.

"You guys don't need to claim our victories for gawds sake you have enough of your own heroes."

... but worse, they dont like American Govt.
50 years ago, they'd do good movies about brits (like
the life story of Clive, Gunga Din, or my favorite move "Laurence of Arabia")
Look at most of the movies, the US military guys are the *bad* guys unless it is WWII. They made the new version of the Alamo and made out some of the heroes like Davey Crockett there to be cowards, and made it a boring overlong movie to boot.


26 posted on 08/17/2006 8:07:39 PM PDT by WOSG
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To: getmeouttaPalmBeachCounty_FL
Thank you..Glad to be aboard
27 posted on 08/18/2006 5:15:57 AM PDT by Brit1 ('Suppers Ready.' (23 mins and 32 seconds of Heaven))
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To: WOSG
I didn't get to the new Alamo movie I had heard some odd things about it and decided that the original with the Duke etc should be the one that remains in my mind.
Black Hawk Down is a fine movie everybody who I know who has seen says so..and Saving Private Ryan and 'The Right Stuff'and 'Apollo 13' just awesome.Perhaps the don't make movies like this anymore.

Anyway we almost speak the same language and whatever the case when the 'chips are down'we will be sharing the same foxhole with you as we are doing now in Iraq and Afghanistan and proud to do so.


God Bless America
28 posted on 08/18/2006 6:25:29 AM PDT by Brit1 ('Suppers Ready.' (23 mins and 32 seconds of Heaven))
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To: eddie willers

actually, the Soviets won the war in Europe.


29 posted on 08/18/2006 6:47:30 AM PDT by chilepepper (The map is not the territory -- Alfred Korzybski)
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To: eddie willers

Oh yeah I agree but its only a short line in a 40yr old song and nobody perceived it then or now to be part of British foreign policy or present it as such .

Anyway for all his ambiguity Lennon chose to live in the US and that Say's enough


30 posted on 08/18/2006 6:58:02 AM PDT by Brit1 ('Suppers Ready.' (23 mins and 32 seconds of Heaven))
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To: Brit1
but its only a short line in a 40yr old song

39....but who's counting? YIKES!

Today (Aug. 18) is exactly 41 years since the Beatles played Atlanta Stadium.

20 minutes of absolute bedlam.

31 posted on 08/18/2006 7:18:15 PM PDT by eddie willers
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To: eddie willers
Granada Theatre, East Ham (East London)for me mid 1960s.
600 seats ,not that anybody was sitting, in the theatre and 6000 trying to get in.
Those were the days.

Mind you 'Live Aid' was pretty cool
32 posted on 08/19/2006 4:26:31 AM PDT by Brit1 ('Suppers Ready.' (23 mins and 32 seconds of Heaven))
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