Defence review: reaction

Anthony WellsHead of European Political and Social Research
October 20, 2010, 5:55 PM GMT+0

Today's daily voting intention figures for the Sun are Conservatives 42%, Labour 39% and the Liberal Democrats on 11%. Net Government approval stands at minus 1, with 41% approving of the Government's record and 42% disapproving.

Defence cuts

During the day yesterday we asked people for their first reactions to the defence cuts, largely announced in that morning's newspapers. A majority thought that the size of the defence cuts were either appropriate (38%) or too small (13%), with 37% saying they went too far. The details of the cuts, however, met with more negative reactions. 48% of respondents thought the reduction in troop numbers was too large, with only 28% thinking they were acceptable.

The most controversial decision in the review, scrapping the Harriet Jet early and leaving Britain's aircraft carriers without fighter planes until around 2020, was rejected by most respondents. 60% thought leaving carriers without fighters was unacceptable, compared to 23% who though that it was an acceptable cut until 2020.

Interestingly, when asked who they blamed the most for the defence cuts, 30% said the Coalition and 34% said the last Labour government. In comparison, our regular tracker on who people blame the most for the cuts still finds 48% blaming Labour the most and only 18% blaming the Coalition - suggesting that people may blame the last Labour government for the generic need for cuts, but once specific cuts are announced they may begin to apportion more of the blame more upon the present Government.

Questions on the defence review were conducted yesterday morning and afternoon, mostly before the Prime Minister's formal statement, but after almost all the details of the review had been published in the newspapers.

See full details and survey results on the defence cuts