Following the escalating situation in Ukraine, Opinium’s latest poll found that over half (52%) of UK adults think the government hasn’t gone far enough on the acceptance of Ukrainian refugees to the UK. Despite this, when asked whether they would take in Ukrainian refugees themselves, only 9% of people said that they would.
When it comes to Western intervention, fourth fifths (78%) of the UK support sending arms (e.g. anti-tanks missiles and ammunition) to Ukraine. Similarly, almost seven in 10 (68%) support donating Western fighter planes for the Ukrainian air force to use in their defence.
Considering a potential no-fly zone over the Ukraine, the UK is divided, with 40% saying they support Western air forces enforcing a no-fly zone, and the shooting down of Russian aircraft that breach this, whereas 39% disagree. Similarly, 43% think we should send Western troops to Ukraine to support their defence, whereas 40% disagree.
Looking at the view of the UK’s response to Ukraine overall, there are several areas where the public think the government have not gone far enough:
|… has gone too far||… is about right||… has not gone far enough||Not sure|
|Acceptance of Ukrainian refugees to the UK||7 %||29 %||52 %||12 %|
|Economic sanctions against Russia||4 %||29 %||53 %||15 %|
|Sending weapons and rations for Ukrainian troops||6 %||39 %||37 %||19 %|
|Keeping diplomatic pressure on Russia||3 %||33 %||49 %||15 %|
|Approach to allowing UK citizens to go and fight in Ukraine||14 %||35 %||15 %||35 %|
|Ensuring UK does not use Russian oil or gas||6 %||39 %||36 %||19 %|
Positive for Boris?
The past fortnight has seen Boris Johnson’s approval rating increase to 27% (+2), with his disapproval rating dropping to 54% (-4) , giving an overall increase in net approval to -27 (+6).
When asked who they would trust most to stand up to Russia, over a quarter (28%) of the UK chose Johnson, compared to 15% who prefer Starmer – ‘neither’ is still the most popular option however, on 36%.
Overall in the last fortnight, Labour’s lead has shrunk to 2 points to 37% (-1), while the Tories rise slightly to 35% (+1). Lib Dems drop to 9% (-2), whereas Greens increase to 7% (+1).
Cost of Living Crisis
The cost of living continues to be a concern for many, with 71% (+15, compared to a fortnight ago) now expecting the UK economy to get worse and 57% (+12) expecting their personal finances to worsen over the next 12 months.
More than half say the energy bills have had the biggest negative impact on their financial situation this year, followed by general prices rises (23%).
Joe Curran, Senior Research Executive in the Political and Social Research Team at Opinium said, “Unsurprisingly, the war in Ukraine was a major component of this week’s poll.
“Whilst most European countries are granting fleeing Ukrainians visa-free refuge, the UK has so far opted to require visas, to much outrage from certain quarters. Our polling finds that over-half (52%) of the British public think that the government hasn’t gone far enough in accepting refugees.
“Talk of no-fly zones has been commonplace in the news over the last fortnight and 40% think that NATO countries should implement one. A similar figure, 39%, oppose a no-fly zone with the remaining 21% unsure.
“Public opinion on foreign-policy issues of this magnitude is never easy to measure but we can see here that, collectively at least, the British public recognise the complexity and risk involved in such a decision.
“Was for Boris Johnson, a cynic would say that the crisis in Ukraine offers both a distraction from domestic controversies and also the opportunity to act the statesman.
“Indeed we have seen a small uptick in his approval ratings although we can’t say for certain that this is related to the war in the east.
“Whether this trend continues depends on many factors including the deepening cost of living crisis.”