Falklands War: Britain and Argentina

April 10, 2012, 3:00 PM GMT+0

YouGov and Ibarómetro have together conducted the first parallel polling of the British and Argentinian public on the Falklands War and future of the Islands

  • Most Argentinians have a negative view of the 1982 invasion, and think the then dictatorship did it to solve their own political reasons
  • 52% of Britons think it was right to retake the islands by force
  • Most Argentinians are opposed to any further military action, British adults are evenly split on whether Britain should use force to defend the islands
  • British and Argentinians both think their country has the most legitimate claim over the Islands

In a joint project, YouGov polled 1,744 British adults and Ibarómetro polled a parallel sample of 1,800 Argentinian adults.

The Argentinian public are more likely than the British public to see their claims on the Islands as legitimate, and more likely to think that they have the international community on their side; 89% of Argentinian adults think their country’s claims to the Falklands are very or fairly legitimate, compared to 62% of British adults who think the UK’s claims are legitimate. 46% of Argentines think that the international community backs their claim on the Falklands, compared to 11% of Britons.

The majority (56%) of Argentines have a negative perception of the 1982 war, and 77% of them see it as something that was done by the then dictatorship to prop up its political position, rather than something the Argentinian people wanted. In Britain, 52% of people think that the UK government took the right decision to retake the islands by force, 26% think more effort should have been made to solve the issue diplomatically.

There is very little appetite for military action today; 59% of Argentinians would oppose any military action today, compared to 26% in support. The British public are evenly split on whether or not they would support using military force to try and retain the islands – 42% would support it, 39% would oppose it. There is a significant age difference as respondents over 40, and likely to remember the 1982 war, would support Britain using force to retain the islands, whereas those under 40 are more likely to oppose it.

More British people would support opening negotiations with Argentina over the future of the Falklands than would oppose it – 37% would support negotiations, with 25% opposed. The overwhelming majority (83%) of Argentinians would support negotiation.

While both countries would support negotiation, there is little common ground on what they would like the outcome to be. 66% of Argentine adults think the Islands should become Argentinian sovereignty territory, with 21% supporting shared sovereignty. British opinion is more evenly divided – 37% think the Islands should remain British and 14% would support shared sovereignty, but 28% think the fairest outcome would be for the Falklands to become independent from both countries.

When asked what outcome people expect to actually happen, a majority (55%) of British respondents expect that the islands will actually remain British. Argentinian respondents were more divided – 31% expect the islands to end up remaining British, 33% expect them to become Argentinian.

See a summary of the results here

See more information, full survey details and original Press Release

For more information please contact YouGov PR Executive Giovanna Clark